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  • "A Musing Pastor"

A smart car

Gone are the days when a car was a simple machine that any local Joe schmo could tinker on. Years ago, a screwdriver, small hammer, and some electrical tape could fix many a car issue. Now, there are integrated systems operated by computer chips and cameras that let you know what is going on 360 degrees around your vehicle. The cost to have a vehicle diagnosed when a 'check engine' light comes on is exorbitant. Scanning codes and determining the bad sensor or circuit is necessary. Automobile technology is streaking toward completely person-less driving. I haven't figured that one out just yet. I mean, if I want to go somewhere to visit somebody, what do I do, just send my car? I suppose I could lay down on the back seat and sleep till my car drives me to my destination.

Last night, I stopped at the local grocery store to get a few things and there was a commotion around a fairly expensive luxury car. It looked like a volunteer fireman was trying to unlock the car doors with some sort of wire mechanism (Not the typical coat hanger I use). A young lady sat on the hood peering in through the windshield, while a gentleman held a light for the fireman. Upon returning from the store, I walked up and asked the obvious dumb question, "Having troubles?" The young lady said, "Ooooh yeah!" Felt like I may have had a sign shoved in my hands and somebody say, "Here's your sign!"

As I pulled my LED flashlight out to help light the interior of the car, the dome light came on, the door lock unlocked and the driver door opened up. Then the alarm went off. In a brief moment of panic, I thought I had somehow triggered the car to unlock. Nope! The fireman was successful and apparently, the car knew nobody was inside the car and it sensed the car was unlocked without the key or the fob. It also registered unrecognized entry and so it did what it was programmed to do. BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Lights flashing. BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!..... Long story short, the young lady jumped off the car into the driver seat and began frantically trying to silence the beast.

Cars are like the more recent human condition. It seems like 50 years ago, there were issues with our physical, emotional, and spiritual lives, and in most cases a decent doctor, counselor, or pastor could help a person come back into some sense of health and wellness. Over those last 50 years, there have been so many new 'identified' illnesses that a simple look down the throat and say "ah" no longer suffices. Emotional disorders are also growing at an alarming rate. Now it is one diagnostic test after another until something is detected that seems abnormal. I can still remember the family doctor from my childhood who could spend five minutes with you and get to the root of the problem. I miss the Dr. Guillard's of the world!

More problematic than the myriad of new illnesses being diagnosed, is the way in which we hang on to our labels. Physical, emotional, and spiritual issues tend to narrow our abilities and we often submit to whatever label is given to us. When we do seek help from a doctor, counselor, or pastor we do so in the best interest of getting healthier. However, when the professional offers an Rx for our condition, the alarms go off, the lights flash, and we step away from the help. It feels better to have this label hanging around our neck. It gives us an identity (albeit a fractured one).

In physical, emotional, and spiritual issues there is always a way forward toward healthier life. From a spiritual perspective, if we are content to live in a broken chaotic lifestyle, we effectively diminish the power of Jesus Christ who came to free us from all these maladies. It's time to stop 'beeping' and 'flashing' the lights of panic and rest easy in the care of the Almighty. Claim the restorative and reparative nature of God and live with newness and vitality. It is possible.

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