“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16 ESV)”
W. Taylor Reveley III, president of the College of William and Mary, announced recently, that a plaque remembering Confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War, and Confederate emblems on the school’s mace, will be removed, placed in the school’s library, and replaced by a new plaque and emblems, respectively. For a full FAQ on what the school has done, read the official press release and FAQ.
If you visit various news websites, you will find a number of heated discussions in the comments sections, ranging from why the Civil War was fought (was it about slavery or states rights?) to our American racist past (are we burying our history, or are we moving on from a terrible blot on our past?). I know that many people find history “boring,” which is something I do not understand. The importance of history is bound up in how we are to remember the past, informing how we understand the power of symbols, in how we live day to day today, as well as the type of values we carry with us into the future.
I do not want to focus on these historical debates here, but I do want to back up a bit and address a general theme as a Christian: symbols matter to people, their meanings change, and these symbols do not always mean the same thing to everyone. Continue reading