Thursday, December 27, 2007

Maybe it's just me. Probably not. But maybe.

I might be the only one, but I cannot understand why so many people engage in bumper-sticker evangelism. Don't get me wrong; I believe in bumper stickers.

I think bumper stickers are great. When my brother and I were younger, we saw a bumper sticker that said "Don't tailgate me, or I'll flip a booger on your windshield." We still laugh about that bumper sticker regularly, and I could kick myself for not buying him one when I happened to see it in one of those cheesy tourist shops the last time I was in Manhattan.

I mean I've seen some phenomenal bumper stickers in my day. There's the classic "I brew the beer I drink" sticker that a teacher sported on his Caprice when I was in middle school. There's the "Rugby girls make the best hookers" one. I'm also a fan of the "my kids aren't smart, so I'll come up with some quasi-witty remark about beating up your nerd-ass kid" series. Seriously, there's no shortage of classics when it comes to bumper stickers.

Why some Christians feel the need to ruin the fun with their no-maintenance, preaching propaganda is something that I might never understand. Don't get me wrong; I believe in propaganda.

I know that people will believe just about anything. The money is out there. It just takes the write message to get someone to hand it to you. Propaganda serves that job well. It's also provided for some great laughs over the years. Seriously, you've got to love a media culture in which a product like Alpha Hydrox can successfully market itself as a cosmetic breakthrough when its moniker actually refers to the chemical name of portions of the animal fat used in creating the lotion. It's genius. I saw an old lady at Wal-Mart not too long ago who was hocking her wares of yogurt by reassuring the customers that it contained twenty-five different antioxidants. I'll bet you that woman couldn't even proffer a simple definition for antioxidants. In fact, I'll bet she doesn't even know what they are good for. Nevertheless, in Redneck Central, she's got a million-dollar catchphrase. So propaganda has earned its due respect.

What I still can't get behind, though, is the idea that I'm sharing the message of Christ on the bumper of my car. Don't get me wrong; I believe in sharing the message of Christ.

But is someone actually going to make a real change in his or her life because they drove by your car and were warned with this:

"If you die tonight, do you know where you will spend eternity?"

I guess I just think that there are better ways to spread the Gospel than through a sticky piece of plastic on the back of a Cutlass. I guess I wouldn't have such a problem with it if I actually saw more spreading of the message of Christ. But mostly I see only spiritual terrorism. Do people actually think that it does any good to attempt to scare someone into salvation? How many strong convictions does anyone have that are born of fear? And it's not just salvation matters either.

Case in point. I spotted a bumper sticker about a year ago that made my stomach turn.

"Abortion doesn't make you unpregnant. It makes you the mother of a dead baby."


What kind of backwards logic allows someone to think that this makes a strong case for the sanctity of life? These people certainly didn't have in mind the sanctity of life of the young woman who regrets her decision to abort her child ten years ago. A decision she may have felt was right at the time but that she now carries with her as unbearable guilt. Does her sanctity of life not matter? Do we risk the hurt to these people, perhaps a hurt that will further repel them from the too often hateful glares of Christians looking down their noses, because it's all worth it if just one person changes their mind? Can we think of no better way to combat abortion?

It might take a little more effort, but perhaps actually spreading God's love instead of posting ridiculous paraphrasings of his words would serve better. Why do we think that we can change the world from the bumper of our car? How about using the driver's seat to take you to a planned parenthood clinic to work the phone lines for a while? How about using the steering wheel to turn your truck into the parking lot of a young single mother's apartment where you plan to drop off the baby crib and supplies you bought her to help with the enormous costs of having a baby? Perhaps you could use the dashboard of your car as a hard surface for writing out the check to the young couple at work who just don't think they can afford the baby? How about using the passenger seat to take them out to dinner or to Starbucks for a cup of coffee and a warm conversation with an attentive ear?

Don't get me wrong. I have no problems with using your car for evangelism. Obviously your six-cylinder can mobilize the advancement of God's Kingdom in many ways. Just be more creative than using your bumper.

Oh yeah, and stop complaining about the Darwin fish. That thing is hilarious!

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