a troubling bumper sticker

while i’ve touched on the subject in this space once or twice, i am freshly reminded of the potential harm done by “christian bumper stickers” (i put the former in quotes to indicate my aversion to such labels).  it is plain to see (and research affirms) that there is a massive chasm between us (the church) and the culture we are commissioned to reach–and it grows wider every day.  it is my contention that people are dubious about the church because our walk doesn’t match our talk.

“randy,” you ask, “what’s this got to do with bumper stickers?”

i’m just asking (politely) that you remember that you’re sporting a jesus fish on your car when you’re tempted to drive like an idiot.  the waiter did not intend to ignore you, so please don’t stiff him while wearing your “got jesus?” t-shirt.  and your letter to the editor is certainly opinionated (not to mention the spicy adjectives), but please don’t mention that you go to my church.

“but randy, ” you lovingly inquire, “why so upset…what has gotten you so worked up?”  thanks for asking.  let me explain.

on the way home, i noticed an anti-christian bumper sticker.  at first, i was shocked. then, i was sad.  worse than sad, heartbroken.  the bumper sticker was on a late-model chevrolet pick-up driven by a man wearing a baseball cap who looked to be in his thirties.  it said, “born good the first time.”  obviously, this man was not born good, none of us was.  we were all born bent toward evil and enemies with god (rom 5:10). and the bible teaches that anyone trusting in his/her own goodness will be eternally lost (eph 2:1-5).  in my grief i thought to myself, “what could i possibly say to this man that might have a chance to reach him?”

tough deal!

the solution to the problem, as always, is to look at the life of jesus.  he regularly approached people who didn’t see their need for a savior, and they welcomed him. certainly, his aura was a huge factor: winsome manner, supernatural insight, impeccable character.  but also, he was completely devoid of self-righteousness.  he could talk to people about their shortcomings, and they received it because he so obviously cared about them.

when we (the church) begin to see lost people like jesus sees them (as people and not as “projects”), then maybe we can dialogue as friends.  when we have established a relationship (without agenda), then they will have a chance to see evidence of a relationship with jesus (love, joy, peace, patience, etc- gal 5:22-23).  and who wouldn’t want a life like that?

so if i’m sporting a jesus bumper sticker on my car, i need to make sure i accurately represent jesus out of my car.


2 thoughts on “a troubling bumper sticker

  1. “when we (the church) begin to see lost people like Jesus sees them (as people and not as “projects”), then maybe we can dialogue as friends. when we have established a relationship (without agenda), then they will have a chance to see evidence of a relationship with Jesus”


    Randy, I’ve been back and forth with other Christian people on this issue. They often say things like…

    “evangelism without leading someone to repentance is pointless”

    I really hate to say it but it sounds to me like an Amway sales pitch slogan…

    It’s true, the best form of ministry is the love of Christ shining through us to others!

    Go forth into all the world and spread the Gospel…(using words as a last resort!)

    I enjoyed your writing, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. I completely agree with both of you. If our lives aren’t a true reflection of who Christ is, then our words are meaningless to those who are lost and dying around us. We are called to spread the Gospel, but it also says in Mark 4 that we are to sow seed. It tells us that not all of the seed that we sow will land on fertile soil. We sow anyway.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect, so I doubt there will be a fish on my car any time soon. I just say that my mom taught me how to drive quite well, for Mexico that is… Good thing I am wanting to be a missionary there.

    As far as troubling bumper stickers, there is a van here in Yukon going around with this on the back window: “Pre-Trib Rapture very near — this decade.” God can get so much more done with spiritual fruit than religious nuts. We don’t live in a day in which hell, fire, and brimstone will convince people to serve Christ. Fear is not the means to reach people, but like you say, relationships are.

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