A Voice in the
As this is being written (Dec11,02), last night's NBC News had a feature on the current idiotic craze: People, claiming to be "Christians", holding rallies, participating in demonstrations, displaying placards, lettering up vehicles and driving places to -protest-. Are they proclaiming, "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near"? (Mt3;2) No! They are activating: Get rid of your huge gas-guzzling SUVs and start driving something that is more "environment friendly".
And to push their point, they are bringing "jesus" into the debate. If He were traversing earth today, "what -would- Jesus drive?" I'll give my answer at the end.
Let me get my own personal gripes out-of-the-way, first. I 'hate' SUVs...in the city! (For you non-Americans that's, [S]port [U]tility [V]ehicle. Typically, large 4-wheel-drive trucks, suburbans, Jeep/Land Rover-type vehicles, etc. And from the primary manufacturers, these vehicles are utterly HUOOOGE!!) American so-called 'affluence', and their seemingly never-ending lines of credit, have caused its citizenry to lose all sense of perspective, as everything must be 'bigger' and more 'powerful'; we must display our 'status' to everybody by having the 'biggest' and 'baddest' available. Most urban dwellers who own them do NOT 'NEED' an SUV, and never use them for what they were designed to do. They do not regularly drive through mud, climb rugged terrain, need to drive up a long driveway in 2 feet of snow, nor usually haul much of anything, nor pull large trailers. Most urban dwellers who drive SUVs are typically barely capable of driving a small car -safely-, let alone something so big, because they typically don't truly understand traffic or the dynamics of driving. But they -feel- "safer", surrounded by this humongous "tank". And while they drive with one hand on the wheel, and the other holding their cel-phone, while also punching up their on-board stereos, they are a MENACE TO TRAFFIC! There! I've said it!
(Now... "cel-phones"...there's ANOTHER TOPIC! Won't get into 'that' right now! There's a whole "rudeness" that has come over people with their phones. But that's another topic... possibly, for another day!)
Let's see... So, as the news item told it, this phenomenon is going on in places like Texas and the mid-western states. I guess, part of the country they typically call the "Bible belt". A couple weeks ago, a VW subscriber from California who writes me periodically, who is in the carpentry/construction trade, who drives a large truck, was telling how he was experiencing some guilt-tripping aimed his way for driving his truck...instead of something smaller.
This past summer one of my customers made quite an impression here with my business neighbors in the building. She drove up in this humongous BRIGHT YELLOW truck, 4-door extended cab, large diesel Ford. The tires looked as though the thing could be used as a tractor on a farm to pull implements. So high off the ground, it almost required a 'ladder' to climb into the cab; and if a person barely stooped 'slightly', you could probably walk 'under' it! When I had helped to carry some of her signs out to the truck for her, one thing I noticed... The door edges and jams were 'spotless'. As I walked past the front wheels, the dual heavy-duty shocks were 'spotless', as were the undersides of the fenders. Vehicles like that are designed for 'getting-through' mud, snow and other adverse conditions. But she was obviously using it as an urban vehicle. Now, as memory serves (from over the years and past orders), I think she goes to one of the local area 'churches'. So, I expect somebody will likely soon be tapping her on the shoulder with, "W.W.J.Drive??"
So...what about this subject? For a few years there has been this fad, "What Would Jesus Do?" spawning a mega-buck industry for those who make bumper stickers, jewelry, plaques, etc. Exhorting each other's lives.
And what about that? Do we, as Believers, tell each other what to do? My dad used to tell about shortly after he got "saved", he went to a Sunday afternoon softball game, and his older brother (who had been saved just before him, and had invited him to the meetings where he "got saved"), who was possessed of a 'superiority complex' anyway, comes up to my dad and says something like, "Do you think the Lord would want you to be doing this?" (Playing softball -on- 'Sunday') And my dad's reaction was something on the order of: Immediately at that moment he 'knew' he shouldn't.
Now, you must understand something about my family. What I'm about to say -was- in my dad. And I used to see indications of it in his older brother, my uncle; and saw it between the two of them as they would argue about things. This attitude that: I don't really need to 'explain' anything to you, but if I say something, with a special 'air' to my attitude as I say it, and stare at you in just the right way, you will -know- that what -I- am saying is "right", just for no other reason than, that I'm looking (staring) at you with 'authority'. Well...many of you have seen this, too, in many of the so-called "fundamentalist" churches. Giving a "spiritual" dimension, to a personal choice... and expecting others to embrace it equally, along with them...and if they don't, make them feel guilty for being (supposedly) "backslidden"... because they have a 'corner' on that particular 'truth'. At least... that's what they would have you believe.
Using an expression such as "What would Jesus do?" is just such a 'control' tactic. Instilling "guilt" (whether deserved or not) into the other person, by invoking the name, "Jesus". When a lot of people "pray" -at- each other, such guilt-trips are more subtle. But when using WWJD, that is a direct affront to the person. You shouldn't be doing 'that' because Jeeezzzus wouldn't.
But how does anyone pretend to know WHAT Jesus "would" do? When Jesus walked in Israel 2000 years ago, He was continually upsetting the people from the Pharisee "Bible belt". He didn't observe the Sabbath the way they thought He should. He didn't keep aloof from sinners like they did in their self-assumed SELF-righteousness...because He came "to seek and to save" the lost.
How do Christians order their lives, in the little everyday choices? Does God care whether I wear my 'blue' socks today, or if I should have worn the 'brown'? Probably not. And yet, there are times when God's care is manifest in little things like: arranging traffic as I'm coming off a side street, to join a street with lots of traffic, if I've been engrossed in writing or the VW-Edition and am very tired...to have the traffic be all cleared away at the moment I'm coming along, so I can easily pull onto the street without hassling whether or not they will let me merge in, etc.
So, does God care what we drive? Well, yes and no. It is not so much a matter of -what- we drive, but what our 'lives' consist of. Paul says, "And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content." (1Tim6:8) What is our purpose in existing on this earth? To be "witnesses" for Christ (Lk24:48), and to 'glorify' Him. (Php1:11, 1Pt1:7,etc) And yet, also, as flesh-and-blood, we are also to be enjoying God's creation and having satisfying lives making an honest living (Ec3:22), and 'taking care' of the creation God set us in. (Gen2:15)
The religion of "Environmentalism" is whacked out. Man thinks he is sooo great, that if he sprays an aerosol can, he is going to deplete the ozone layer. That would be like suggesting if everybody on earth were to -jump- at the same time, the momentum of their combined weight would 'nudge' the earth, to shift it in its orbit. Or if they all stand together and BLOOOOW, that they might stop the wind. (!!) Do they not realize how 'insignificant' we are, in the scheme of God's creation?? (Ps8:3-4, 144:3)
However, do we thus -purposely- pollute? Of course not! If we are working with toxic materials, we take precautions and deal with them in a safe manner. What about our transportation? What are our 'needs' for having food and shelter? Do we -need- to 'impress' the neighbors? Well, that's "pride" isn't it. As I've been watching this SUV phenomenon grow, I've noticed that those who own them (when they don't really need them) tend to be those with huge amounts of pride, have worldly priorities, desire "image" and "status" with their peers, find it as a means to assert their own aggressiveness, etc.etc. Christians who follow Christ are to be endowed with the characteristic of being "CLOTHED with humility" (1Pt5:5) and ".. in lowliness of mind let each esteem others as surpassing himself." (Php2:3)
So, if you are a 'lone' individual, needing transportation, what do you 'need'? A Hummer? Maybe stay away from names like "Esteem" or "Aspire" (names of our times!), but get something that 'fits' your needs, and does not needlessly 'waste' fuel.
If somebody drives a truck, are they to be condemned? If they work in construction, do you expect them to do like my great-grand father was reputed to have done...? In the late 1800s he emigrated from Germany, settled a Homestead in N.Dakota. It is told how he would 'walk' the seven miles into town, and -carry- the lumber on his back those same seven miles from New Salem, back out to the spot along the Sweetbrier Creek where he built the farm house. Well, things were different back then. Today we have trucks. A baker will buy an oven. A modern-day sign maker (like myself) uses computers and vinyl-cutting plotters. A construction worker will have at least a truck (or more) to haul the tools of his trade, and carry supplies to the job site. And if he has a truck, and drives up -to- 'church' in that same truck, are you going to condemn him for not driving up in a 'car'? What do you want him to do, spend more money, just so he can -also- have a car? How much energy and materials went into the manufacture of that -second- vehicle that, perhaps, he doesn't 'need'?
Getting the picture?
So...what would Jesus have driven? Before He started into ministry, what did Jesus do? What was His 'trade' as handed down through apprentice-ship? Joseph was a carpenter. (Mt13:55) As the eldest "son", Jesus would have also been a carpenter.
What do carpenters today drive? TRUCKS!
What would Jesus likely have been driving? A TRUCK! Quite possibly, even (depending on His business), a -BIG- one!
Oh yes, and...
That news item showed parts of one of the commercials running for this campaign, showing pictures of the popularized effeminate-hippy "jesus". Not only would Jesus have driven a "truck", He would have been a man's man! Don't forget, Jesus was a man who stormed through, overturning tables and chasing cattle out of the temple. (Mt21:12) When Solomon was taking to the throne, David exhorts him to "be a man". (1Ki2:2) Thus, I expect the "Son of David" (Mt21:9), the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rev5:5) was also a "MAN". No sirree...Jesus was NO "wimp"!
So, ENOUGH ALREADY, of all this FOOLISHNESS!