I sold another of my eccentric fish the other day and I thought that I should add my thoughts on this perplexing symbol.
Originally, in the days when being a Christian was one of the quickest ways to get your head cut off or to become one of Nero’s original Roman Candles the fish was used as a secret symbol in order to show where they were meeting. Not quite the Masonic handshake of its day but that sort of thing.
I must declare an interest here: I am a Christian but I’m one of those who wish that the fish could go back to being a secret symbol.
Some people like to wear a little badge. It’s like the ‘Stewards’ badge that the staff at big conferences and events wear. The idea is that, if you need the toilet or you need to escape and can’t find the exit then you can easily identify someone who can help you.
In the same way, in the great conference of life, you might find yourself in need of assistance of some kind and so you can turn to the slightly odd looking stranger standing next to you in the brown corduroys with the subtle silver fish badge pinned to the lapel of his blazer and say, ‘My girlfriend has just left me and the consequent loneliness has made me reassess the value of my life and I find that I am filled with existential angst and a deep sense of dislocation with the Supreme Being from whom, I now sense for the first time, that I must have derived my origin. Please help me.”
He then will tell you exactly how to find the toilet.
Okay I get that. It’s the car stickers that I don’t get: Is the idea that, inching along in a traffic jam in on the M6 you see that sticker on the car in front and realize that this traffic jam is the direct result of your sinful life and that you must repent, not only for your sake but for the sake of all the other drivers who are suffering the consequences of your wickedness? Have the people who have these stickers even assessed the safety implications of other drivers repenting on their knees at high speeds?
I think not.
The only rationale I can see for them apart from advertising that fact that becoming a Christian may save your soul but it seriously damages your driving ability, is that of the football scarf trailing from the back window of a car speeding towards a big game. It says ‘I’m one of you.’ to the other Christians out there and makes you feel just a little bit less alone in a world that is characteristically hostile to people of faith (often, I concede, with good reason.)
Anyway, I have a friend called Jo. She’s a Christian and would like to wear jewellery that reflects her faith but she’s cool as well and wouldn’t want to wear the usual fishy stuff which is, frankly, pretty cheesy. These pendants were designed with her in mind. They are stylized enough so that they are not obviously a fish symbol so you’ll be able to avoid the attention of a marauding Richard Dorkins acolyte but you’ll still get knowing looks from other people who know how to read the signs.