[a bumper fish and other musings]

[a bumper fish and other musings]

Last Friday, as we were making our way back home through the terribly cold snowy weather after a long and frustrating day, another car cut in front of us (after driving on the wrong side of the road) and stopped. As an older woman got out from the driver’s seat and walked towards our car, I glimpsed a 2-year-old who wasn’t even strapped in the kid seat.

The lady knocked on the window and started yelling something about us cutting in front of her daughter (as we later figured out, it was another gal who broke the rules and got off the reverse lane where it was prohibited). Being tired and just wanting to get home without a fight, my friend who was driving tried talking to the lady calmly. The lady was relentless – she was trying to make her point, warning us that her son in law works for the Ukrainian version of FBI. These kinds of threats are often just a way of throwing weight around (after all, her son in law might be some secretary or something), so we didn’t pay attention to it.

“Just, go with God. Please, leave.”

“You shouldn’t mention God’s name in vain,” replied the lady and proceeded telling us that we are terrible and we cut in front of her when she’s got three kids and four grandkids.

After that latest admonition about mentioning God’s name in vain, I gave up silence. “Lady, listen to yourself. You should watch where you’re going and there’s a kid in your car who is not strapped in and you were DRIVING ON THE OPPOSITE LANE! Which one of us is more reckless and breaks rules?”

She tried to threaten us for a few more minutes and finally left. We wrote down her plate number because my friend’s got connections at the same institution that the lady’s son in law supposedly works and drove home without any other adventures.

The situation, however, was stuck in my mind.

I wonder if the lady went to Church on Sunday. She certainly knew about the part when you cannot mention God’s name in vain.

Is that all she knows about Him?

This made me think… Peter Pollock talked about online presence and whether it shows our real selves. However… what are our real selves? 

Do I say I believe in God and I believe God on my blog yet deny that in my everyday life?

Do I put a ICHTHUS fish on my backpack and pretend that I am a Christian, yet when something goes wrong, I forget about that symbol of the One to whom I belong?

I hope (and I try to do my best) to be the kind of person God wants me to be.

Yeah, I fail quite often, I’ll admit that. I am far from being perfect. But I don’t want that to be a norm.

I am not the only observer on the block – everyone is watching everyone. And when they know we’re God’s representatives, we should watch ourselves too.

Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me;

Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about;

See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong – then guide me on the road to eternal life. 

Psalm 139:23-24, MSG

  • Leigh Myers

    Goo

  • Andy

    Great post. Good read and good challenge. Sorry, started to post and realized it was logged in as Leigh. Ignore the fake post.

  • Andy
    • Oooh! I didn’t know you’ve got a blog! Gonna subscribe! 🙂

  • Michele Hayes

    In Indiana not only do people put fish on their bumpers, but there is actually a license plate that says “In God We Trust.”  It doesn’t cost extra to get this plate, and many Christians feel that this is their “right” and “duty” to place this plate on their car (we have the plain old Indiana plate on ours).  It is funny though, David and I have this very unofficial survey going.  About 8 out of 10 times that someone drives aggressively, gets angry for no reason,  cuts you off in traffic, or makes some obscene gesture to another driver–their car has the “In God We Trust” plate on the back of their car.  Interesting isn’t it?

    • We have those plates in Kyiv too. Not often you can see one, but you can see them every so often. 

      And yeah – it’s rather sad that those who feel “obligated” to wear their faith on their sleeve, to use the cliche, are the ones who don’t really get the fact that they are representing all Christians… 

  • I’ve always wondered what that fish symbol was supposed to be.

    • A symbol of Christianity… although it depends on the person whether that fish is a symbol of faith or religion. 

      • Hmm..faith or religion.. I believe that answer was at just the right level of confusion to make me curious.

        and which one is it to you?

        • For a long time, it was a symbol of religion to me. I knew about God, but didn’t know God. I knew the right answers, did the right things, but the heart wasn’t in it, really.

          Then I learned that faith and religion often don’t have a lot in common. Religious fish was an outside symbol, yet faithful fish is inward changes. 

          Now it’s the reminder of the faith to me. It’s a reminder that I believe God, that I (try to) trust Him, that I want to be the kind of person He wants me to be – with a fish on my backpack or not.

          Not sure if it makes sense, but it does to me 🙂

          • Hmm.. very interesting. I must include this in my research. Thank you for sharing that with me.

          • 🙂

  • I’m not huge on have Christian bumper stickers and that sort of thing, mostly because I know I’ll betray that identity at some point, and I don’t want to simple contribute to the problem further.

    • I guess I am not against them per se, but I agree. I used to wear WWJD bracelet for over 10 years, but then stopped one day… 

      By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – that’s the symbol we all should “wear”…

  • Good thoughts here lil sis.  I refuse to put any sign on my car that signifies I am a follower of Christ because I am imperfect.  I try to obey the laws but I know I will break some.  i am always amused by those who say, “Follow me to such-and-such church” as they speed by, or “honk if you love Jesus” but you would need a bullhorn for them to hear you they are driving so fast.  Like you, I realize people are observing.   I walked in on a conversation  in church Sunday where one lady was telling another she saw me opening the car door for Jo at a restaurant.  Hmmmm I was being observed.  Yikes!  We all are.

    • Yikes indeed 🙂 Orwell was true in this case – there are always Big Brothers who are watching. (Thankfully, most of the time, people simply need an example to follow so they watch others… not always they watch just to see someone fail)

      But yeah – that “Honk if you love Jesus” – it’s ridiculous, as for me – because you never know if someone is honking because that person behind me is loving Jesus or because I just cut in front of him 😀 

      Thanks big bro 🙂

  • Joanne Norton

    I have learned over the years to be aware of what is on my car or house or back pack or anything else that puts me automatically known and with and for the Lord.  That way I always hope I won’t become someone people just wish would shut up and go away.  My license plate:  RMN4GOD [Roaming for God].  On our enclosed front porch there is a flag that has the picture of a lion and the wording around it is “The Lion of Judah.”  Consequently, if I’m cussing or screaming  in my front yard, speeding or driving carelessly on the roads, I am putting the Lord under my feet and squashing Him in the sight of others.  I REALLY try to not do any of those things that would be offensive.  Can’t say I’m perfect, but CAN say I try.   And I’ve known so many times when people have done what you described.  AND in our culture, nearly anything can be shown on line in one form or another or break into news if needed.  We truly need to be alert, minute by minute and day by day.

    • Yes – I guess the main thing is that we need those reminders for ourselves, not just an outward sign for others to see that we’re “oh-so-holy-that-we-put-that-sign-on-our-possessions.”  

      I like your license plate! 🙂

      • Joanne Norton

         I had been trying to get a license plate that would be “worded”.  My ministry for some years was really exactly that.  I would travel from place to place to help different people.  Also, God would just drop people into rest areas or fast food places or motels that I was supposed to encourage or bless or pray with them… or receive prayer.   Just in the past few months, I think that’s going away.  My health is annoying at the moment.   Not deadly, just annoying….  but I’m NOT changing my plate.  Uh, UH!!

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