Do Christians Have a Mascot?
I recently flew Frontier Airlines for the first time. The airline is considered by many to be the worst in terms of customer service and on-time departures. But hey, for a $43.00 non-stop flight from Norfolk to Tampa, I can put up with a little inconvenience. As it turned out, my flight was on time, my “personal item” computer bag (secretly functioning as a suitcase) was free, and I brought enough of my own refreshments to sustain me for the flight.
Before takeoff I was welcomed by “Sammy the Squirrel”, the Frontier Airline mascot. The pilot said Sammy was thankful I chose Frontier, and hoped I had a good flight.
To be honest, Sammy didn’t look much like a mascot. He looked more like…
Actually, Frontier has many mascots. Employees have contests to pick an animal mascot for all of its new airplanes. I just lucked out and got Sammy.
When I have a little down time, I intend to research the squirrel connection. I’m curious. Was Sammy a rescue squirrel who hung out in an employee’s back yard? Does he symbolize the “squirrely” nature of the airline’s employees, or perhaps the tenacious attitude of the company? (If you have ever tried to impede a squirrel you know how determined they can be). Are people like me who fly Frontier the “nuts” Sammy has crammed into the tiny spaces inside the airplane? Or is Sammy a flying squirrel? He doesn’t appear to be, but he could be hiding some of his attributes.
Mascots are useful. They say something about the team they represent, and when your day isn’t going well, you can always smile at…
Do Christians have a mascot? And Jesus doesn’t count. Besides, I have a hard time envisioning a vender selling a stuffed Jesus on a pole outside of a Christian concert. Perhaps our mascot is a cross or a church steeple capped with a cross. No, that can’t be. The cross is too sacred to be used in this way, and mascots should represent living things.
Ok, so hot dogs are mascots and they aren’t living.
I know! The fish! The fish Christians slap on their bumper and imprint on their Bibles might be considered our mascot! If not, perhaps it should be. Fish are living. They are found throughout scripture and there are enough varieties to adapt to almost any situation.
Do you attend a country church? No problem! I’m sure someone in the congregation can create a “Bible Bassman” costume.
Do you live near the ocean? Perhaps “2-Na Man” could represent the two greatest commandments or the two Testaments.
And for city dwellers, “Grouper Woman” could serve in a small groups ministry where people find relationships in the midst of the hustle and bustle of big city life.
Fish mascots, if they are to be embraced, should be standardized. They need to be cuddly, but not so cuddly people forget about the wrath of God. And while it would be permissible for a fish mascot to show some animation, he or she would be wise to note the church being entertained before leaping or shaking any tail-fins on stage.
Did I say “entertained?” Sorry about that. The mascot is not there to entertain. He must remind people of the solemn nature of worship and be capable of crying. I’m not sure if fish have tear ducts, but that could be arranged.
I think it would be alright to sell little fish toys in the Lobby. The money could go to a foreign mission, or a retirement home where mascots go when they hang up their scales.
And who knows – a fish mascot might even serve as a deterrent to sin. He could stand in the hallway and hand out “Don’t Take the Bait” bracelets. A few hook notches in his lip could be a conversation starter: “My mother told me to avoid worms that suddenly appeared out of nowhere, but I thought I knew it all.”
A fish mascot would be fun. But it could also create some trouble. What if a renegade fish boycotted the annual church fish fry or invited his buddies over for a party in the baptistery?
Maybe, we should just be the mascots. We can be warm and cuddly. There are enough of us to make nick-knack copies unnecessary. Most of us are adaptable to a variety of cultures, and we only need to enter the baptistery once – unless we are taking someone else in with us for the first time.
If we were the mascots, we also wouldn’t need to buy bumper stickers or wear “Jesus gear.” God would use us just the way we are to witness in His name. We would share with our mouths, serve with our hands and worship in spirit and in truth.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with a mascot. But when I fly, I want a real pilot behind the control.
Not a squirrel.
Or a nut.