Bumper-Sticker Comparisons

Sometimes I get an uneasy feeling about my faith.  Uneasy like being invited to party, showing up in sneakers and not realizing it was a black-tie event.  See, my faith doesn’t look like the type of my Godly grandma’s.  It doesn’t look like the type of my childhood.  It doesn’t look anything like my parent’s.  It’s not dressed up in a Sunday-best suit.  It’s a jeans and weathered t-shirt type of faith.  Sometimes I find myself staring in the eyes of my faith and asking “who are you? – you don’t look like what others around you are displaying.”  I feel like I have no one alive in my little world to share and compare with.  And I desperately want to COMPARE

Comparing, that is something we do to feel worth and value; to judge and measure; to determine right and wrong.  To determine if we are “normal”.  Our entire lives balance on comparisons; our own and those of others.  One of the greatest superficial comparison tools is that of t-shirts and bumper-stickers (and if you were a product of the 80s – flair pins; think of servers at TGI Fridays). 

Of those tools, I find bumper-stickers to be the most compelling because allowing that ‘survive a nuclear meltdown’ adhesive to come in forever contact with a car is making a BIG commitment and statement.  For the most part, people only put bumper-stickers on cars for the things they are passionate about – the things they want every single person they publicly come in contact with to know about them.  So when I drive around town, I notice bumper-stickers and immediately make a comparative judgment call on any potential kinship we might have.  I start to compare.

There are the “honor student” (aka: my child is wonderful) and “soccer mom” stickers.  I immediately know I have nothing in common with these people.  They are probably nice people (unless they are showing off 3+ honor student stickers) but not someone I will have much, if anything, in common with.  Then there are those that profess allegiance to a political party or issue – even if I agree with the sticker, it’s a personal turn-off for me.   And then there is the phonetically correct “Ick-This-Fish” (aka: Ichthys fish).  I like the fish, but, I’m sorry, it drives me a little nutty.  The driver is clearly trying to imply something, but I don’t always believe that’s what is in the contents of that car.  Can we just ban fish emblems from cars? 

Anyways, as it stands I find few bumper-stickers helping me in my comparison quest for finding people who might share in the same type of faith I hold and feel.  I’m having a hard time finding those people who will validate “my faith”.

I recently read the Ragamuffin Gospel (by Brennan Manning). From the very first chapter “Something is Radically Wrong” I thought – “OH BOY, here is someone saying all the things I think!  It’s not candy coated with religious overtones.  Here is REAL faith, the stuff I feel in my gut!  I have got to met this author and all the people like him!”  And as I turned the book over, looking at Brennan’s picture, my heart sunk.  He didn’t look like me.  I compared his outward appearance to my inward feelings and they didn’t match up.  And it left me discouraged.  If I didn’t have outward clues, how would I ever find others like Brennan to fellowship with?  And it felt disheartening to know that it’s going to take more than outward appearances to find believers who love and embrace Jesus like I do without the made-up hang-ups of religion. 

Humm, Christianity Without Made-Up Hang-Ups; that SHOULD be my bumper-sticker!  Maybe then I could find some like-minded souls!  But as it stands I just read blogs of others I think are like me, make comments, and live in this quasi-internet-fellowship-thing.  PS:  the second runner up bumper-sticker would say “I Love Cotton Candy and My Husband – Not Necessarily in That Order”.

If there was one bumper-sticker you wanted the world to see, maybe it would even describe your faith, what would it say?

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6 thoughts on “Bumper-Sticker Comparisons

  1. I guess Facebook is the new age bumper sticker without the nuclear proof adhesive. Its like a daily bumper sticker or for some of us its hourly somedays. As i have said before(on facebook)i dont think there is such a thing as”normal”,”typical” or ”average” person in this world. Unique yes but the other 3,no. If you dont believe it,go sit in walmart and watch the people walk by. The way i see it,God sent us His only Son,Jesus,to compare ourselves to of which none of us can measure up. He IS the normal. Seems like we are always wanting to be like someone else when it really doesnt need to be that way. As long as we have Faith in some form,shape or fashion we have succeeded but its uniquely ours. Every day i want to try to be just a little more like Jesus than the day before,failing most days but succeeding on a few. As i wrote this i got to thinking about them 2 cows i had a pic of on facebook.(my mind kinda wanders) That truly is the grass looking greener on the other side but if they could talk im sure they would say ”nope,didnt taste a bit better,just looked better” so at the end of the day they went back inside the fence where their owner fed them the good stuff.

    • Absolutely well said! It’s true that Jesus is our comparision – no doubt. But it’s still a human need to find “like-minded-souls” to fellowship and worship with…and sit and disect and discuss. I guess that’s where I feel a little empty on some days. But you are RIGHT, the grass isn’t always greener somewhere else. Thanks David! ….good luck with them cows

  2. I am so looking forward to your first published book! You talk about feeling like Jeff has a camera on your life, because every Sunday it seems like he is talking directly to you. Well, my dear I feel like you can read my mind, and that is a very scary thought! lol You have a lot more in common with those around you then what you think. Unfortunately we as humanoids (that’s me trying to make a funny), feel everyone should see things through our eyes. God made each of us in his own image, and as we can see he had a great sense of humor. All of us unique and yes extremely different from each other most of the time. But for those who have chosen to accept him as their Savior, and choose to try and live godly lives, we have a great commonality that few can share. Bumper stickers, well I don’t have an idea in that arena. I’m so focused on everything else that I don’t even notice 9 out of 10 bumper stickers. Have a great Valentine’s with your honey.

  3. Hello….I happen to like the “fish” emblems or stickers on cars….It is just the driver’s way of letting others know that he or she is a Christian. What’s the harm in that? It’s not obnoxious or offensive. When I see a fish on the car of a business associate, I immediately know we have a connection beyond business. (And our faith may not come up otherwise during business-related conversations.) As far as the “contents of the car” goes, no one is godly or Christ-like all of the time. The “contents of the car” include a “feet of clay” human being.

    Most of us are just working out our faith in our very own way…Some in jeans and t-shirts, some in suits, some in shiny, patent leather buckle shoes…..Who’s to say that one is right, and one is wrong…..?

    When I was in my early 20’s, I had a fish on my car….As I got older, and the value of my cars increased, I stopped adding stickers and emblems…But still, I like them!

  4. Great stuff! Personally, I have NEVER put a bumper sticker on my car and never will – but must admit some can be very entertaining! 🙂 And you’ve peeked my curiosity on Ragamuffin Gospel – it will have to be my next book as I must say I have not been diappointed yet on the books you have recommended. I’m still wroking on figuring out my style of faith so I’m like a sponge trying to absorb all the information I can. Thanks for being a big part of that.

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