Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What about the change?

I never cease to be amazed by the things perfectly normal-looking people will ride around in public spouting on the backsides of their cars. I've seen women happily bestowing a particular title on themselves through the adhesive and paper stuck to the bumpers of their cars that they would probably slap someone else for calling them to their face. ("B**CH on Wheels!" Have you seen that one?)

While most of us understand, especially these days, the parent who proclaims, "Proud Parent of a Marine [Sailor, etc.]," don't you kind of wonder about the parent whose trunk proudly proclaims, "My kid can beat up your honor student"?
And do you really want to be driving through police-patrolled streets with a bumper sticker that reads, "I Love Weed!"?

Then, you've got to wish you were the person who came up with the idea of marketing those yellow ribbon magnetic stickers. Whoa! (Talk about hitting the jackpot.)

Of course, there's that little fish, too, that many of us sport just below or above the name of our car dealership's logo. The ICHTHUS. (That symbol that proclaims to the heathon we just passed that we're in such a hurry because we're late for choir practice at church!) You can get them in silver tone or gold tone, with Greek letters on the inside or without, with "Jesus" on the inside, or with "TRUTH" in all caps. (You can even get a "TRUTH" fish gobbling up a little two-legged "DARWIN" fish.)

Actually, I kind of like seeing fishes on the backs of cars. It makes think that maybe if I broke down on the side of the road, some nice fish-car person would see the fish on MY car and stop to help me. I haven't had to test this, but that's what I like to think would happen, anyway. So, I notice the fishes on the backs of cars and smile at my would-be rescuers on the road.
A couple of weeks ago, I saw a fish that I'd never seen before. On my way to work one morning, I noticed from a distance the outline of that little fish on the car stopped at the traffic light ahead. As usual, I thought to myself, "Awwww, how nice! If for some reason I stall out at that intersection, I could honk my horn and there'd be a nice fish-car person to help me!" (Yes, I admit it -- I am a little goofy, or, at the least, I do think a little differently from most people.)
As I got closer, however, I felt kind of sick. Inside the familiar Ichthus shape were the letters "P O R N." I just sat there kind of stunned. (If that kind of fish-person stopped to render aid in a crisis, would I have to take off my clothes?) I have to admit that after feeling a split second of disappointment, I felt ticked (Gee, I hope this is not becoming a theme with me!) How dare this person take OUR symbol and turn it into something ugly like that! How dare they desecrate a Christian symbol like that! Why, if someone did that with a Star-of-David or a crescent moon, the ACLU or Anti-defamation League or SOMEBODY would be screaming bloody murder -- nobody would stand for such a thing!
Now I ranted on like that to myself for a few minutes until another thought occurred to me: How often has someone looked at me from a distance and seen what they perceived to be the familiar outline of something Christian only to be seriously disappointed as they got closer?

Talk about a traffic jam -- man, that stopped me dead in my tracks.

The lyrics to Steven Curtis Chapman's song "The Change" began to run through my head:

"Well, I got myself a T-shirt that
says what I believe.
I got letters on my bracelet to serve as my ID.
I got the necklace and the key chain,
and almost everything a good Christian needs.

I got the little Bible magnets
on my refrigerator door,
and a welcome mat to bless you
before you walk across my floor.
I got a Jesus bumper sticker
and the outline of a fish stuck on my car.

And even though this stuff's all well and good,
I cannot help but ask myself:
‘What about the change?
'What about the difference?
'What about the grace?
'What about forgiveness?
'What about a life that's showing
(The Speechless album, 1999)
Maybe I need to get a bumper sticker that says, "Be patient, I'm undergoing 'The Change'." (Well, as a woman of a certain age, maybe not.) [But,] for sure, I don't want to have people disappointed in me and what they find when they get up-close and personal.
My now-moved-mentor and brotha-friend tells me quite frequently, "All the time, Pamm. Everywhere." He started this after hearing more than one story of my being out and about somewhere and having someone I didn't know come up and tell me they knew me from hearing me speak or teach somewhere or seeing me at church or at some such event. (I'm not really famous or anything like that, I'm just a big woman and pretty loud, so people tend to remember me if we were anywhere in the same building together.) I would always end such anecdotes with, "Man, I am SO glad I was behaving!" to which Robert began to reply, "Pamm, I keep telling you that you have to behave ALL the time, EVERYWHERE."
It's true because we don't know who is watching us or when or even why. But one thing I do know is that when they are watching me, even if they don't yet know who He is, I want them to see the Spirit at work and living inside of an honest-to-God, real-live Christ-follower. A Christ-follower who’s perhaps a little rough around the edges (and maybe even sometimes forgets to include the EGGS), but solid nonetheless and submitting, moment by moment, to her Maker's buffing and polishing.
All the time. Everywhere. Making choices, and undergoing the change.


  1. I just love your posts. They are always right on. Thanks for sharing.

  2. yes, ma'am it's a good thing God promises to keep working on us, isn't it? Diamonds in the rough, all of us.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. My kids grew up with the saying, "Some one is always watching you, even if you don't think they are, they are.".
    And I pretty much go about my day with that thought.

  4. nice post. thanks.

  5. What a great resource!

  6. Such a cute post and oh, how true. We need to live what we believe. Thanks for following me and the super nice comment...Kim