How Do You Live Well Without Any Scars?

Yesterday another misguided and cowardice act took place, this time on the campus of the University of North Carolina.  “Silent Sam,” a statue of a confederate soldier that memorialized all UNC alumni who lost their lives in the Civil War fighting for their home states of the Confederacy, was toppled and desecrated by a mob of individuals that looked more like an uncoordinated mosh-pit at a 1991 Nirvana concert than moral protesters.  There is no way that the person kicking Silent Sam’s head ever played soccer or any sports for that matter — the whole thing was awkward.  $25,407 (in state) or $50,990 (out of state) per year to have the privilege of learning in such an environment.  No thanks.  Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, you could have found a better mosh-pit with music for a nominal cover charge.  Sadly, this immature display of entitlement and arrogance has become commonplace in our society.  I naively hold out hope that University administration and alumni will have a swift response.

I took my family to New Orleans this summer.  Beyond jazz and the local cuisine, I was excited to experience the new WW2 museum and the Confederate Museum.  Next to the modern and amazing WW2 Museum sits the Confederate Museum, which was a stunning old structure, complimented by a kind young man working the inside and a fairly decent collection on display.  It was important for me to see this museum, and to share it with my kids — important to me as an American and important as a Christian.

Slavery is the word.  Slavery has existed (and still exists) for millennia across multiple cultures and nations.  Slavery is wrong and immoral – there is no debating the issue.  The history of slavery in the United States of America is a scar on our Nation’s history.  The question is not whether or not we have the scar, the question is if we can live with the scar?

Revisionist history is tricky and immoral.  An experience within the movement is the attempt to erase select scars of the past.  The scar may hurt.  The sight of it may bring back haunting memories, however, I am more afraid of a life absent of scars — as a Nation and as an individual Christian.  Scars serve as reminders of how far we have come through healing, and the dangers of repeating bad behavior.  I have a scar on my side from a dog bite that happened when I was six or seven years old.  I can barely remember the attack, but that scar has reminded me many times to not approach dogs I do not know; furthermore, it has served as a tool in teaching my kids the same lesson.

We should not view our scars as Scarlet Letters invoking shame, we should recognize them as badges of honor for those who have healed! …as caution signs reminding us not to repeat transgressions!  Could you imagine how difficult it would be stay on the correct path if all warning signs from past wrong-turns were removed?  Could you imagine how difficult it would be to appreciate health if you had forgotten your sickness?

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States…

~from the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The United States of America’s diseased experience of slavery left a scar.  Reminders of that scar must been seen as badges of honor showing the experience of repentance and healing, and warning signs to never allow slavery to occur again.  I wanted to show my children the Confederate Museum in NOLA to teach them many lessons, including: our nation is willing to repent and heal.  If we remove statues, monuments and the such from our public areas, if we continue erasing chapters of history that we are uncomfortable with — what will remain to tell the story of our nation’s moral progress?  What will serve as the reminders warning us not to reembark upon past sins?  The politicians or those hiding out in ivory towers? …umm, no thanks. Their convictions seem to flip-flop (don’t we say ‘evolve’ now?) with the wind based upon the latest gust of special interest funding.

I don’t want to die without any scars. ~Tyler Durden

But seriously, if I live without any scars it means that I neither lived, or learned from my life.  I don’t want to live in such a place, and I certainly don’t want my children to be reared with their heads buried in the sand, doomed to fall into moral traps that could have been avoided.  I love the United States of America – scars and all!

Following His Resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ still had His scars… who are we to think that we shouldn’t?