Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Speaking of bumper stickers...

... the God stuck in traffic

My commute to church this morning was a difficult hour and twenty minutes - thanks to construction and a broken down truck. It happens.

But it did give me the opportunity to do some reading - of the bumper sticker variety.

I was amused to see that stuck in traffic next to me, creeping along bumper to bumper, was a self-proclaimed God ("Back off, I'm a God") in a red Chevy Cavalier. Actually, this bumper sticker is a variation of the one sold interestingly by both the Witch Supply House and the National Organization for Women that says: "Back off, I'm a Goddess."

Of course, my first thought was that deification just isn't what it used to be. A Cavalier? And being stuck in traffic? I guess everybody's tightening their belts these days - including deities. I had hoped that the Chevy-God could have opened a path through all the traffic and allowed me to get to church on time (which is a kind of mix between Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty and Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady - now how creepy is that?).

Anyway, my mental mockery made me think of the mockers of Jesus' divinity at the crucifixion ("If you are the Son of God, come down from your cross..."). I suppose the difference between the Man on the cross and the man in the Chevy boils down to the Pilatic (Pilatial?) Interrogative. (Theological jargon is so tedious. If you can't dazzle them with brilliance... Let me rephrase: it boils down to the question Pilate asked Jesus, "What is Truth?")

The situation of Jesus on the cross and the self-proclaimed God stuck in traffic is one of epistemology, of reality, of truth. Jesus, unlike Cavalier man, really is God. He did miracles to demonstrate his divinity. He fulfilled the Scriptures. He continues to work through the Church. The guy in the Chevy was either cracking a joke, or has bought into the New Age lie that we are all gods.

But think about the mystery of the Incarnation. It's not unlike the old saying: "Those who do, don't say, those who say, don't do." As the critics like to tell us, Jesus nowhere explicitly says: "I am God." Rather, he generally operates with subtlety - parables, preaching, and dropping hints along the way. He doesn't have to say he's God, he doesn't need a bumper sticker, because his actions and Person speak with the roar of a whisper uttered between the lines. Whereas, if a person wants to make a claim to something he isn't, all he has to do is put a sticker on the car and get stuck in traffic like the rest of us mere mortals.

So, what's the moral of the story? I think I spend too much time in traffic.

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