I met with a doctor at the hospital and he and I agreed to have a c-section on the books for Wednesday morning at 8. I, of course, hope that we go into labor before then, but in efforts to seem like I am working with the doctors, I agreed to put something down on paper. He was actually very nice, very understanding, and treated me like I was capable of thinking and being a part of the decision making process about my body and labor. The last 3 doctors I have seen related to this pregnancy have not been so wonderful. Anyhow, he even made it sound like they will still keep me as a patient even if come Tuesday I decide I'd like to push the date to Friday, or even later! He said it would be against his recommendation, but that they would still work with me.
Anyhow, the point of all this rambling is that on a rainy, June day like today, my dear son still desperately wants to get out of the house. Singing "rain, rain, go away", does not satisfy him. So, the next best thing in his mind is the mall. Gratefully, my son does not yet understand consumerism, he thinks each mall store is a little playground. He only sees us spend money at the grocery store (hence the familiar chant in our home of "buy them, eat them". Tell that to Nordstroms!) The mall holds untold wonders of large cushy boats to play on with 35 other kids on a day like today, escalators and large, yellow, glass elevators with movie star lights up the sides. The mall has hallways 8 feet wide for running and weaving into unsuspecting rich women who forget that there is such a thing as a 2 1/2 foot tall person. The mall is the happiest place on earth.
So we malled. The unfortunately side effect of travelling to this particular mall is the traffic. It is in Bellevue. Bellevue is for rich people. Rich people who don't know how to drive. No, excuse me, rich people who don't care if their driving creates a nightmare for the other cars on the road with them. Rich people who don't really have to work on Fridays, or at least, more certainly, their wives don't. So, add Nordstrom's half-yearly sale to Father's day weekend at the mall, and well, you can imagine there was a lot of sitting in traffic in store for Søren and me as we awaited the delights of the happiest place on earth. Disney lines, eat your heart out, you've never seen BellSquare.
What is the point of my rambling? Well, the sitting in traffic afforded me a reminder of a blog I wanted to write some weeks ago during the last time I was stuck in traffic in Bellevue - though I don't remember what for. Let's just be honest - there is a LOT of traffic in the greater Seattle metro area, so sitting in it is not so unusual, unless you are like me and try not to get out too much, and only do when you have a toddler with you to allow for carpool access.
Last time I was stuck in traffic I began to ponder the wonderful world of bumper stickers. Now, there actually are not a plethora of bumper stickers up here. This may be relative to spending the previous 4 years in Eugene. Who knows, perhaps if I was from DC or something I would think Seattle was the mecca of bumper stickers, but I know better. The witty political stickers, and sexy band logos are few and far between on the Eastside. What is not lacking though, are those lovely little fish emblems. This is what set me to pondering last time.
First, I should admit, that my first car carried a license plate cover that read "In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned". Clever huh? My next little beater was intact with a subtle little silver fish. When that little car died and was donated - for there was NO value left in it - I bought myself a little red Rodeo that drove me to Eugene and taxied me around until it was more needed for tuition that transportation - for there was some value left in it. The rodeo sported a Gutenberg College banner - but no fish...no testament to my faith. I was a bad, unbold christian. I found that people were nicer to me on the road without it and wondered if I was avoiding persecution and slipping into worldliness (note to reader: this is meant to be funny).
Really, what had transpired over the years of car adornment and Christian thinking, was that I was quite curious what true evangelism was, and how a Christian bumper sticker played into that. What is the purpose of the little fish? I have to be honest, the "My boss is a Jewish Carpenter" sticker still evokes a smile from me, but the fish just makes me curious. What are we trying to accomplish with that? Is it like political campaigning? "I vote for Jesus, you should too"? Are we peer pressuring people into Christianity (or churchianity... I am carefully sidestepping a soapbox here)? Is it more sophisticated than that? Perhaps the thinking is that people will be so impressed with what a fabulous and considerate driver I am that they will want to believe what I believe so they, too, can drive with such integrity? Or are we purposely trying to create a stone of stumbling by driving the exact speed limit - to honor and obey God by honoring and obeying the laws of the land - while everyone else understands that the left lane is meant for driving a little over the "limit" such that your sticker and speed combine to crawl under the person's skin behind you and make them hate all Christians more than they do? I am not sure.
Now, I realise there are people who just plain enjoy bumper stickers and self expression on their vehicles. That's fine with me. It is the idea that somehow a fish on the back of a car plays a part in your personal contribution to evangelism and the great commission that really irks me. Evangelism is not so simple, nor certainly so one-sticker-fits-all. If we believers are using stickers and tee-shirts and bracelets to feel like we are broadcasting the gospel into our nation, then hell has won. The gospel, though simple to be sure, is not simple to receive.
Jesus himself was quite choosy about when he would really share the message. Not because he didn't want to be crucified just yet, but because he didn't want to unnecessarily harden people against the truth if he could tell they were not in a frame to receive it. Prodding people towards truth is a delicate thing. You do not do the kingdom of heaven or any individual any good by badgering him with the truth when he is not ready for it.
If the message of the gospel is as crucial as we claim to believe it is, we ought to be very aware of how and when it is explained so as to give the individual the best chance of hearing it and truly facing into making a decision about it. We have to actually, sincerely, care about the person who is going to hear it. It should not be thrown around so haphazardly. The offense at the gospel is a very specific offense. The possibility of that offense needs to be made clear, but if there are too many other non-gospel possibilities for offense, then the actual halting before such a enormous decision (to be offended or not by the actual message) is lost. You either convert someone to a watered down spin-off of the truth (which is no longer the truth), or you harden them so thoroughly against your spin-off that they never have the opportunity to respond directly to the actual possibility of offense.
Anyhow, I still remain confused by the fish. It is certainly not evangelism. So what is it, and why have it on your car? I by no means want to condemn those who have them, but I would really enjoy an explanation of why they are there.