I started to think about where we might find the most Un-Christian place in the whole world. According to the population of Christians per capita, it would be Somalia where less than .01 percent of the population are Christian, according to an article in The Anglican Planet. This is apparently so because Christians are persecuted there and threatened with violence, even death for their faith. While this may be true, I find that an even bigger threat to faith is not direct persecution, but apathy. Someone telling you, under the threat of bodily harm that your faith is wrong, will always evoke a feeling of rebellion and produce a deeper adherence in some. Apathy, in its absence of passion and interest, will simply strangle faith by not giving it any life in which to grow. Without passion and excitement, faith fades until is ceases to exist. If we are not passionate about our faith, then we are willing to let it slip away and be replaced by something about which we are passionate. If there is one place we are especially apathetic about our faith as Christians, it is in the confines of our cars.
(Image courtesy of thedailygreen.com)
I do not often have to drive anymore because I am blessed enough to live on the same block as my work and my child care. I do a lot of walking and little commuting. Perhaps it is because of this that, when I do drive, I am more observant of the driving experience, much more so now than I have ever been before. I see the way in which people rush, the way they appear so sick of their commute, the way they race to get some where other than where they currently are now. I have the luxury of enjoying my driving experience now because I do not do it day in and day out. There are weeks where I do not drive at all. I’ve gone months without having to put gas in my vehicle. I relish the chance to put on some music and cruise to wherever I am going. Since I can do my driving, rare as it is, off of rush hour commute times, I do not have to deal with bumper to bumper traffic which makes my driving much more of a pleasure ride. I no longer have to stomach long commutes and rush hour traffic. I have probably become that person who appears not to be in a rush, and driving the speed limit in the neighborhood while the person behind me rides my tail. And thus we get to my point…
(Image courtesy of drnemerovski.wordpress.com)
I now see how angry people are in their cars. They are livid when you do not immediately floor it when the light turns green and rev your engine to reach the speed limit in less than a quarter mile. I see their looks of disgust in my rear view mirror when I do 30 mph in a 30 mph zone. I see their rapid, angry gestures when I stop to let someone go in the cross walk. I watch them rip around to pass me and look at me like I’m insane when I do the speed limit on the highway even though I’m in the far right lane. Probably because I didn’t take the on ramp on two wheels doing 60 mph. I watch them try so desperately to beat a merge and take off the front of my car so they can be one car ahead at the next stop light. We can become so vicious and self-interested when we drive. It’s all about me and where I am going on my time. You are not another person, much less another Christian, in your car, but an obstacle, or an opponent in a race whom I must beat. You are not transporting precious cargo in your children, but driving so as to impede my quick trip. I am paramount and you are a pain. I have important business and my time is precious, while you are insignificant and are lallygagging. Wow. When did we develop a mindset that means that when we close that door and buckle our safety belt, we stop being Christian?
You see the implications of it all around. Road rage incidents are up as people get so offended by the driving of others that they are willing to hurt or kill them over a car ride. Some are willing to drive at reckless speeds and with irresponsible techniques even if it dramatically increases the chances that it may end in a fatal accident. Some states have legislated laws about the responsibility of those who fall asleep at the wheel and kill others, because we do not consider how our driving will affect others, even if it kills them. It is a sin to consider another person an ends to your means, but it become that way far too often when we get behind the wheel. Being Christian means that our mindset should be like that of Christ. Does your mind feel like that when you drive? Do you find yourself looking at other drivers and praying that they are well, or that they would get out of your way? Would you want Jesus to ride in the car with you, or do you cringe to think about what he would say about who you become behind the wheel? If you are a Christian, you have to be one all the time, everywhere you go, including your car. That means we have to take a stand against the sanctuary of anonymity we have in our vehicles which enables us to be a whole other person when we drive. We have to stop treating our vehicles as a Christ-free zone and start thinking that even our time in the car is an occasion to display Christian principles like patience, charity, and forgiveness. If not, take that Jesus fish off and get a “hypocrite” bumper sticker, because that’s the message we are sending to those around us. I used to be one of them, but now I cringe when I think about how I used to drive. Now I try with all my might to focus on being a Christian no matter where I go. Won’t you come along?