Dear Mean Bumper Sticker Man,
My family and I stopped at a red light this weekend behind your car with the Jesus fish and the bumper sticker that said in red flaming letters….
“TURN OR BURN.”
My six year old son read it aloud and asked me what it meant. I thought about ramming my car into your bumper, just to distract everybody and serve my community, but I reconsidered because clearly you were a little angry already. So I took a deep breath and said, “Well, honey….maybe “TURN OR BURN” is the new “Stop, drop, and roll!Maybe that man is a volunteer firefighter!”My son answered with silent suspicion. I began mentally composing this post.
I am not going to discuss religion on this blog. Ever, ever, ever. Mostly because I wouldn’t have a clue what to say. Religion is VERY confusing to me.But faith isn’t. Here’s my faith:
I think God adores me. I think that He is just TICKLED PINK by me, like a parent at a preschool Christmas Pageant. And when I get really crazy and paranoid and cranky…when I doubt His very existence…I think he loves me even more. I think He’s amused…like I am when my 15 month old covers her eyes and believes this has made me disappear.
The image of God as proud, encouraging daddy works for me. It allows me to walk around, on my good days, feeling adored, understood, and calm. It means that I live inside a snow globe with my family, friends and borderline personality and even though things get shaken up and we find ourselves in the middle of a blizzard, somewhere deep down I know that the blizzard’s fake. It’ll settle. I know we’re still being watched over, and enjoyed, and in good hands. And like most kids who know that they are loved unconditionally…I end up behaving better than I did when I believed in the angry, flame throwing God. I treat people more kindly than I used to, because I’m happy, and grateful, and less afraid.
And you know what? I don’t think God’s ever been mad at me. I don’t think I’ve ever shocked Him. I think He’s loved me exactly the same before, during, and every horrible thing I’ve ever done, and still do…daily. I believe he forgives me for every mistake before I make it. I don’t think He ever turns his back, drops my hand, plots my punishment, and moves onto the next guy…I think when I’m in trouble he holds my hand even tighter, preparing my heart for the confusion and sadness that are always the fallout of big mistakes. Just like I do for my children.
I just wanted to suggest that perhaps you could hold on to your “Turn or Burn” sign until and unless you move very close to an active volcano, and you are trying to warn the tourists. In that case, it would be helpful. Thank you very much.
P.S. “The only power that can effect transformation is love. Twentieth century scientists discovered that locked within the atom is the energy of the sun itself. For this energy to be released, however, the atom must be bombarded from without. So, too, locked in every human being is a store of love that partakes of the divine-the imago dei, image of God, it is sometimes called.And it, too, can be activated only through bombardment, in its case love’s bombardment.” *Huston Smith, The Worlds Religions
Or, you know, we could keep trying nasty bumper stickers. People dig those, too.