Image Bearers


(A Watercooler Wednesday post on art, culture, and society)

She displayed it proudly on the rear bumper of her blue Ford Taurus:

               Born again


It was next to her more obscure:

               Sometimes the dragon wins

bumper sticker. I thought it a strange way to display oneself to the world, and that got me thinking about the many ways we do just that.

Like the gentleman in my neighborhood that always wears a March Hare-like top hat, a purple vest, bracelets with 4” spikes, and black military boots (and pants, too, I should add). I have seen him over a dozen times in the past year, and he is always wearing this same outfit.

He is displaying himself. He is saying, “This is me, and if you don’t like it, F*#& OFF!

(At least, this is what I imagine him saying). 

I have an image, too. 

I display a put together me: my ducks in a row, my T’s crossed, my I’s dotted, my checkbook balanced, my fly up, my shoelaces tied, my socks matching.

Some days I wish it were more than just a cheap veneer. 

Whether I like it or not, I show the world what I want the world to see. Rarely do I so completely lose control of myself that something undesirable comes out. This is the whole point of the word scandal – something got out. I didn’t want it to get out, but it got out, and now you all get to bask in the glory of my shame. Were I a celebrity, the tabloids go crazy, Entertainment Tonight does a little “Woo! Woo!” dance for their ratings. 

My life is a picture on display. The question is, what am I painting? Somewhere underneath the paint that I use is the residual image, the scarred image, of an invisible God that made me. I either choose to paint over, or to work with, this original image. 

I am an image bearer.

My choices are painting an image for the world to see. I bear, like thousands of cut images, the photo album of my life, and the images rattle through time like broken teeth, on some days, or like precious lumps of gold, on others.  

I wear a face that I want you to recognize. I have a voice that I want you to hear.

But I don’t mean you, the reader. I mean, Him, the Artist.  

Your life, reader, is a picture, too.

What are you painting?

Published in: on June 4, 2008 at 4:40 am  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. OK, thank you for this intensely personal post…personal for me because I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. The veneer. The perfection that gets painted on and when it starts to crack just a little bit, a new coat of veneer goes on. I’ve had a few trials in the past 4 years that have caused the veneer to be stripped away. And it was a good thing. Gave me a reason like never before to sand the cracks and imperfections and in the process to realize that I’m not a veneer-type person – I’m a distressed, real, imperfect human being who can never measure up to an impossible standard, who needs a daily outpouring of grace and mercy, without which I can’t possibly hope to survive life in an imperfect world. Becoming real has been the best gift ever given to me and in turn given to others.

  2. Great post Scott, thought provoking and challenging, and of course, beautifully written.

    Thanks for giving me this interlude in my morning of mundanity (Is that a word? If not I hereby claim it now!).

  3. Wow.

  4. Powerful imagery. Thanks so much for taking the time to share. I have been personally challenged.

  5. I have always tried to be perfect,quickly filling in and painting over any cracks that appeared daily, sometimes moment by moment. The last few years though, I want my children to recognize me, the real me every time they see me. They used to seem confused on “who they were going to get today.” Now they just seem secure and happy. Finally happy. It can’t be a coincidence.

  6. I have a shirt that reads “Image Bearer” from a children’s summer camp here in the area. When I wear it, I’m reminded that I am portraying the image of my maker in whatever I do. Pretty humbling for me to have it on…I don’t wear it much. It’s too hard sometimes…

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