My discussion with the bumper stickers.

As I was pulling into a parking lot yesterday morning I was behind another car long enough to read three bumper stickers in slow succession, in this order:

I began to debate the first point and wonder if it were satire, when I saw the second, and concluded, No, it was a believer in Christ who stuck on the quote from the Bible…. Then I saw the last, and couldn’t figure out how it followed from the first extra-Biblical idea.

I went on to spend my afternoon with a friend whom I love dearly, and was thankful not to spend much time discussing with a phantom mind these points which, no matter how you arrange them, don’t make a very logical or appealing systematic theology. But I don’t want to leave you with this disheartening bit of slogan-and-sound-bite “communication.” I reread an old article by Romanos, who fell asleep in death in 2016, titled merely: Salvation, in which he points out that,

“Loving God will always bring you to Him, but thinking about God at best brings you to the threshold of love, at worst locks you into a mental prison. The invisible God becomes visible through love, but the visible God, our brother and sister, can become invisible through doctrine.”

And he quotes Archimandrite Vasileios in several paragraphs of which I’m giving you only the last:

…while the Jews of Christ’s day were so eager for theological discussions, He let them go unanswered; ‘But He was silent.’ For He did not come to discuss, He came to seek out and save the one that had gone astray (Matthew 18:11). He came and took on our whole nature. He entered into us, into the shadow of death where we are, and drew us to the light.

Christ is risen! In truth He is risen!

Update: A reader just pointed out to me that Father Thomas Hopko actually recorded a series of podcasts about the mistaken ideas in the statement “Relax – God is in Control.” The last one is here.

12 thoughts on “My discussion with the bumper stickers.

  1. The comments of Romanos remind of of the way Mother Teresa lived. Yes, we have to know who God is through theology and the Church, but ultimately, we have to apply to what it means to live, and that is, to love.

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  2. I am so glad there are not many bumper stickers any more. I do find them distracting. When my husband did the driving I would read them out for him. We liked to read aloud to each, also! We have just finished a Romans study and have discussed ways of spreading the Good News. We all agreed that most often the name of Jesus is enough.

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  3. I’m pretty confused by these myself… relax… an angry God is coming! I’m grateful that clear theology can be found that helps us understand and know our God better.

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  4. All the thinking, all the saying, and all the doing . . . give me the being in His presence. I agree with what Henri Nouwen said, “Too many words . . . ” But, we do love words so very much! LOL! I always love your words and the words you share, sweet and loving friend.

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  5. I would wonder too about the theology of a person who would sport those bumper stickers. Every morning on my walk I pass a parked vehicle that has a bearded Jesus and underneath are the words “Jesus Shaves” I’m not sure if this offends me or not. I just want to take a Sharpy pen and stroke out the H.

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  6. I don’t really see many Bumper Stickers- we had one which was the flag of Northumberland but we’ve just got a new car so that is now gone!!! It’s interesting to wonder about the person who has such varied stickers!

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  7. I like your mind and I like the way your mind works. At least of what you write about on your blog *smile*. And your quotes and the places you lead me… I like that too. Christ Jesus ’emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of man”… but He was, is, and will always be Holy God. I am not comfortable with making Him and attaching such carnal things of fallen man to Him. Yet the Scripture from John 14:6 certainly works!

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  8. I remember a dear friend, Mr. Bob S., we will call him, who said he was not a good enough driver to ever put a bumper sticker indicating the Lord in any way…that could surely stop a lot of us from the temptation of stickering our bumpers. And then there is the fleeting thought I have of making a bumper sticker that says, ala, Proverbs 18:2 ~ a fool loves to air his opinion~ Whoops…better not.

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    1. Another friend of ours who used to teach in Bob’s school, Patsy D, told me the same thing about why she didn’t stick on signs. Mr Glad and I only ever had one bumper sticker, which we had to make ourselves, using the title of a friend’s bluesy song, “Jesus Satisfies.” When one got sun-damaged and fell off (we stuck them on the inside of the back window of our Rambler American) we made a second. But then we moved to a neighborhood where we could hear the teenaged boys snickering at their interpretation of what our sign meant, and we were done with cryptic sound bites!

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