Is This a Christian Message? “When Life is Too Hard to Stand, Kneel” May 5, 2014

Is This a Christian Message? “When Life is Too Hard to Stand, Kneel”

Sometime in December, Jayne Cravens noticed that a Facebook page for volunteer firefighters had posted a decidedly Christian image:

In case you don’t get it, the message literally means if a firefighter is faced with something challenging in his or her firefighting or in life in general, that person should pray to God (or Gods or Goddesses, perhaps?). The responses to the message are mostly “amens” — confirming the religious nature of the message.

Her point was not anti-Christian. She only wanted to point out that the language and message mattered — if the Facebook group wanted to attract more volunteers, they would have an easier time doing it if the messages didn’t alienate potential members. (She would know, as she has a family member who is a volunteer firefighter.)

For some reason, that months-old post caught the attention of the group’s administrators and they reposted it yesterday along with this message:

The writer stated “In case you don’t get it, the message literally means if a firefighter is faced with something challenging in his or her firefighting or in life in general, that person should pray to God (or Gods or Goddesses, perhaps?)” BUT, couldn’t it also and probably mean get down below the heat for safety or other meanings as the creator of this Meme meant? Does it make certain volunteers unwelcome?

Could it mean that? Sure.

Did it mean that? Not a chance.

That image is fully coded in Christianese — and, though I’m no firefighting expert, it seem like bad advice in general to sit, pause, and pray in the middle of a blaze. Even if firefighters do have reason to physically kneel, the image still comes off as a play on words, urging people to pray in tough times.

So, naturally, commenters have been quick to call Jayne anti-Christian or wrongly suggesting that she thinks only religious people should be firefighters (?!)… if you’d like to chime in, maybe we can get some voices of reason in the mix, too.


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