Today I called up the people who’re doing our church tee shirts. The pastor is fairly insistent that the shirts should say “be the church.” I don’t think that makes a ton of sense, honestly. But I also have no better ideas. Designing tee shirts is hard. I don’t have a strong attraction to screen printed shirts, and it’s hard to think of anything that would look decent on both the torso of a 400lb man and on that of a 40 lb child. Plus, there’s the difficulty of delivering any sort of cogent message on a tee shirt.

The fronts are going to say “be the hands. be the feet,” a nod to hymn by Teresa of Avila (papist!). I bet you thought that was in the Bible, didn’t you. That whole idea of being the hands and feet of Christ in the world? It’s never specifically worded like that. On the back it’ll say the pastor’s beloved “be the church” and have the church name. The girl at the tee shirt place is supposed to figure out how to make this look decent. I have confidence in her, but I told her not to use Papyrus just in case.

I don’t necessarily get the impulse to communicate where I like to go and what I like to do via tee shirt. Plus, Christian tee shirts eternally put me in mind of this kid I went to high school with.

His name was (really) Nathan and he was super into Christian pop culture. He wore a Christian tee shirt every day and would tell you at any opportunity that he wanted to glorify God with everything he did, including getting dressed. Everyone down at Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings (yes, including teenaged me) thought that he was so holy we could hardly stand it. And then he date raped my sister’s best friend’s twin. He repented publicly and with many tears for “acting out the sin of lust.” Of course he mentioned the girl’s name. All she ever said was that she hadn’t wanted to have sex with him, that she had told him no, and she only told that to her sister (who told it to my sister and who told it to me). They were fifteen, and I was sixteen. He was seventeen. I wish I was a different person then, a person who told her that none of this was her fault and that the shame was all his to carry and not hers and that she should talk to someone who could help her. I’d even be a little more satisfied if I’d, say, swung my loaded bookbag at his head shouting You know what this is for, you fucking asshole. Instead, I said Shit, that sucks and nothing else.

Her life since then has included a sequence of truly horrible boyfriends, and I can’t help but see a link between Nathan (yes, it’s his real name and I’d tell you his last name too, if this weren’t an anonymous blog) and everything that’s come after.

This blog has been about sexual violence a lot, hasn’t it. Hrm. Well, it pisses me off on a very fundamental level. I think it should.