Driving to work can be a life-threatening exercise in multi-tasking. We go speeding along in a musically-enhanced, comfort-controlled environment as we do an assortment of important things, like putting the finishing touches on our oral hygiene and adjusting our hair while belting out a crowd-pleasing karaoke rehearsal of our favorite song and checking our email. But sometimes all that gets interrupted because our minds get caught up in unique kind of road hazard that our GPS can’t warn us about — bumper stickers.
Like Mosquitoes at a Barbeque ~
In addition to the ever-present threat of death and dismemberment on the road, there is the peril of an unanticipated assault on our sanity and emotional equilibrium caused by somebody’s bumper sticker. The ‘bumper sticker version’ of that old adage, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is, ‘Whatever idiotic bumper sticker fails to drive you totally insane makes you less likely to commit vehicular homicide’. Bumper stickers are like mosquitos at a barbecue; they attack without warning, and by the time you realize that you’ve been penetrated, it’s too late.
The incomprehensible stickers are easy enough to dismiss, but then there are those that are so ridiculously irrelevant that putting them on your car ought to be sufficient motive to revoke your license. For instance, I saw one that declared to the world, “This is My Car”. It stuck in my head like one of those songs you hate, but that your mind decides to torture you with for days.
I couldn’t let it go. What if the driver isn’t even the owner? What if the car was stolen? Maybe the statement is a total lie, and nothing more than a bad example of someone ‘trafficking’ in ‘fake news’ (sorry… couldn’t help that). What if the Washington Post is behind it all in an effort to discredit Donald Trump? Maybe they found some ‘unnamed government sources’ who once heard somebody say that a guy in Trump’s administration put that sticker on the car right after he bought it from a dealer whose third cousin married a Russian transvestite who once spoke to Vladimir Putin? What if there was collusion between Trump’s guy and the dealer with the Russian cousin-in-law to lie about the sale price just to lower the tax on it. . . , and what if James Comey’s nephew worked in the service department and leaked the scheme to the FBI? See what stupid bumper stickers can do to you?
Explore the Message Before Embracing the Platitude ~
They can certainly mess with your mind, and caution is always warranted because like other forms of social media, the news we get off the rear deck of someone’s car may not be the most reliable, especially if it’s proclaiming some spiritual insight. Those who apply them might have good intentions, but if our grasp of some important piece of Biblical truth is based on something we got off an ’89 Mazda while stuck in gridlock, we could be in trouble. On the other hand, if we think about the validity of the message before adding it to our repertoire of catchy things to say about Jesus, bumper stickers may not be a bad thing.
Let me illustrate. I recently encountered one that said, “Jesus—the Power is in the Name”. It’s a positive sounding phrase, but is it true? Is the “power” really simply “in the name”? While I don’t take the use of Jesus’ name lightly, just speaking it doesn’t release some mystical, spiritual force. There’s deeper truth involved than that.
Where the Power Really Lies ~
On His last trip to Jerusalem, Jesus looked at the city from the Mount of Olives and made this grief-stricken statement, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem… How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37 NKJV). The picture is simple, and the truth it illustrates is powerful and relevant.
Imagine a mother hen named ‘Bertha’, and suppose her chicks were taught this phrase: ‘Bertha—the Power is in the Name”. Then suppose a snake comes slithering up to make them his next meal, and they boldly confront the snake peeping out as sincerely as they can, ‘Bertha’… ‘Bertha’. Well… the chicks would soon discover that the power they needed wasn’t just in Mama’s name—it was in her—more accurately, it ‘was’ her.
Those defenseless little chicks in Jesus’ picture had no power to save themselves. Their only hope was that the one who brought them into the world would put her own body between them and whatever predator might threaten them. The ‘power’ that protected them was the willingness of the mother hen to face death rather than give them up.
It’s Not About Chickens ~
Jesus wasn’t grieving over chickens as He looked at Jerusalem. We’re the ones at risk, the ones who play around in dangerous places thinking we can subdue the serpent by spouting catchy slogans and quoting bumper stickers. Chickens would have known where to run.
© 2017 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
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