Bumper Cars

Going to church is like climbing into a bumper car. A hedonist by nature, I would prefer to surround myself with dent-free Caddies who never bump into me at all and are finely tuned. Yet, it is hard for Ferraris to go through the eye of a needle. I’ve had it with churches glutted with SUVs and Beamers. Give me squeaking and grinding gears, rams and VWs, many of them mechanically-challenged, prone to overheating, with squealing brakes, held together with Bondo and duct tape, just like mine. Bumping into these others forces me to look inward at my own sorry state, my frailties, my unfinished state. Yet, what better place to look for the full potential, the loving possibility and the now-and-again saintly behavior than among fellow sinners!
Suddenly, I have renewed admiration for the adults of the church where I grew up who seemed to so gracefully deal with conflict and unpleasant personalities, including myself, a whining, unappreciative brat. I was oblivious to the political ups and downs and gossip among them. Behind the scenes, there must have been fervent prayers at times due to strife and agony among church members. My spiritual role models were those church leaders who remained loyal to their church, even during chaos. I can now see how a church has a life all its own. It’s more than just the building. It’s the synergy of people. People consciously climbing into cars knowing they will be bumping into some bunged-up vehicles just like theirs and mine. Wild bumper cars. That’s church.