Rome Needed More Lions – Guest Post

I’m delighted to have yet another incredible lady sharing on my blog with you. Her name is Kendra Burrows. We met through the She Speaks facebook group. Please welcome her to the blog.

My heart pounded, anger rising up in my chest, as I pulled over to drop my fourth grader off at the curb. Disbelief ignited a fire in me.

Rome Needed More Lions.

The bumper sticker was on an unattended car in the “no parking” zone at the elementary school drop-off. Of course, I thought, mentally confirming that someone with the need to flaunt such attitudes would flout the law as well.

Rome Needed More Lions.

The phrase wouldn’t leave me. I was shocked, but somehow not surprised. You see, I live in a town known for its “hippie” lifestyle. Christianity is regularly and purposely debased in the public schools. Bob Marley is touted as a role model by teachers and parents alike, making it difficult to explain to students the dangers of drugs. The middle school encourages pre-teens to explore homosexuality, which is taught as more noble than either heterosexuality or abstinence.

But this shocked me.

Not that someone would hate Christians. But that they would work so hard to display their feelings on their back bumper. That there was apparently enough hatred out there for an enterprising capitalist to make money mass-producing these stickers.

The feelings welled up inside me.

I wanted to march into the principal’s office and demand that he speak to the offending parent. Surely this wasn’t permissible in the “no tolerance zone” the school was purported to be. We’re told repeatedly that the public schools in our area are safe havens, free of discrimination and hatred. Even though I knew that wasn’t true, I wanted to rub it in the authorities’ faces.

What if the sticker had read, “Germany needed more ovens” or “Plantation owners needed more ships”? I have no doubt someone displaying those sentiments would have been “warned” about their impact on the students and the safety of the community. But horrible statements about Christians are overlooked, barely noticed. As always.

I’m not sure that rationality came over me, but common sense did. The school principal has no authority over the bumper stickers that appear in the car pool lane. And I don’t want him to.

Even though I know (not just feel, but know) other stickers would be treated differently, I had to let it go. There was nothing I could do that morning.

“And you will be objects of hatred by all people on account of my name” (Matthew 10:22a) came to mind, lowering my blood pressure a bit.

This was to be expected. Even in this country where we have become complacent about not being in fear for our lives over our worship, we are still hated. We play nicely with others and we support worldly causes in the name of being compassionate, but that doesn’t stop the undercurrent of hatred.

That doesn’t change the climate in the schools, where my son is taught that Christians are the “dominant culture” and something to ridicule and rail against. {For what it’s worth, it sure doesn’t feel like we’re the dominant culture…}

I wish my reaction had been, as Jesus commanded, to love my enemies and to pray for those who hate me. But it wasn’t.

I had those thoughts after I calmed down. But even then, this imperfect human vessel chose to hold on to her anger – just a little bit – to store up for later.

I first saw that bumper sticker two years ago.

Since then, my son has graduated to middle school and has been exposed to even more sacrilege, this time right in the classrooms, directly from the teachers’ mouths.

Driving through town yesterday, another bumper sticker caught my eye.

God was my co-pilot, but we crashed into a mountain and I ate him.

I don’t even know what that means.

As I pondered it – and the fact that Christian-haters have gotten considerably less clever – I scanned the rest of the bumper.

Don’t pray in my school and I won’t think in your church. Okay.

And there it was: Rome Needed More Lions. This was my buddy from the elementary school car pool lane.

I don’t know why she hates Christians. Or why she thinks she does.

Anger didn’t well up in me this time. Pity did. A small part of me felt sad for her. And in that moment at the stop light, it was that part of me that said a one-line prayer for her.

I wish my other thoughts had been so noble.

I don’t know if this woman will ever come to know Christ – or Christians – the way I do. For her sake, I hope so.

Regardless, the Holy Spirit is using her bumper sticker to change my heart. To ever-so-slowly transform me into Christ’s image. Because how can I ever be prepared to love and pray for those who persecute me, when it doesn’t yet come naturally to pray for those who have mean bumper stickers on their cars?

God is working on me.

He has a long way to go, I admit. But He is chipping away at this hard heart, one bumper sticker encounter at a time.



** Kendra Burrows is a wife, mother, and teacher who blogs about life, family, and other strange things at Tending the Garden.

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