I remember being the same age as Texas teenager Cameron Franks. If you are unfamiliar with his story, here's a brief run-down. Rusk High School, where Cameron attends, had a certain poster displayed on a schoolroom wall. It happened to be one of Slingshot's posters, designed by the incredibly talented artist Jayme Brandt of Gardenfire, titled simply... "Illegal". The school was made to take down the poster by a group, Freedom From Religion Foundation. The poster promoted Christianity and was deemed to be in violation of the Establishment Clause in the Constitution.
This event inspired Cameron to make a decision. He could easily decide to do nothing. His rights were not violated. There was no gun to his head. There is no imprisonment imminent. It's only a poster.
But he decided to do something. Because he had enough of silent Christianity. He had enough of the internal conflict, "Do I stand for something?" So he started selling a Christian designed T-Shirt and wore it proudly.
It feels like it wasn't so long ago that I walked the halls of my high school. The sound of the lockers, the smell of the cafe, the route I'd carved out and walked instinctively for those four years. It seems all too familiar. Nostalgia is setting in as I write.
But I recall other things of High School too. Hearing the snide remarks aimed at some of my dearest friends... "Bible Thumper" ... "Jesus Boy." It may sound like a light form of "persecution" comparatively speaking. You are right, we are free to love God and worship without the oppressing fear that plague believers in other countries experience.
But to a teenager, it is gravely serious. It challenges everything inside of you. Do you stand for what you believe? Or does the magnificent desire for acceptance overwhelm and overtake you? It is a time where your sociological desires come crashing against your core values and beliefs. Don't you recall those times? Perhaps it is in years gone by... or maybe it's yesterday.
I recall that urge to snicker at the "Jesus Boy." I remember the gaze of the football team captain, awaiting my response. Was I cool like them? Or was I another Jesus Freak? The question nagged at me: "What if they treat me the same? Is it worth it?" I'm thankful I did what I knew was right. It would soon pay off.
It wasn't long before I was asked "Why doesn't he care that we are teasing him?" It was the football captain. That was the first time I shared the Gospel, one on one. And I have my dear friend, "Jesus Boy" to thank for it.
Why do we at Slingshot love Cameron Frank's story? Because he is after the same thing we are. Creating Influence. Yes, it's just a poster. Yes, it's just a T-Shirt. But it's one soul at a time.
And Cameron Franks is making his four years count.