Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Jesus Is My Helvetica

During my first year of seminary we studied the Old Testament. At the beginning of the year my teacher put a chart on the wall on which we'd write the different names of God that we'd encounter while reading. Included were names such as Alpha/Omega, Banner, Shepherd, Sheild, King, Anointed One, Rock/Foundation, etc. The list was sizable. However, there's a problem: the Bible is really, really old and was written in a desert. I'm really new and live in Brooklyn. I don't think these are good symbols anymore as they are dated and have no basis in our modern society.

An example: the King. I live in a country with an elected president so I was raised with the understanding that kings were a bad thing. Most of the kings with which I'm familiar were men who abused their power by abusing the poor, their wives, their enemies, and anyone else they wanted. I don't like to think of Christ taking up the office of King (but should he run in the next election, He has my vote!).

I propose that we do some housecleaning and update the names we use for God (in our modern, convenient, not-so-sandy existence).

Rule Number One: you can only use metaphors which apply to your own lives. This means no words like Alpha/Omega, Shepherd (unless of course you happen to be one, but if that's the case, what are you doing on the internet?), Rock (though I imagine rebar is more important these days to home builders than rocks), Shield, Banner, etc.

Rule Number Two: you at least must briefly explain why you chose the word you did (how it applies to you and why that word represents Christ).

Rule Number Three: no offending and no getting offended. If you think that the only sensible words to be used for Christ are the ones given in the scriptures, please don't continue reading.

I will submit the first entry: Jesus is my Helvetica. I'm a graphic designer who works with typography all day long and the font Helvetica is possibly the most important, most beautiful, most influential font in the designer's arsenal. So much so that there are books written solely about that one font. Helvetica is the standard and everything else is judged on its use or non-use. I would be lost without it.

I now invite any and all to step forward and tell us of the real importance of Christ in your lives.