Question on Jesus' vehicle spurs a look inside yourself

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Midland Daily News, December 8, 2002

"What would Jesus drive?" has sparked some interesting columns and comments in the newspapers. Tom Walsh in the Detroit Free Press (11/22/02, C1) ridiculed the "self-righteous" clerics for posing such "a silly question." He goes on to pose the question, "How do we know Jesus would drive at all?" Near the end of his column, he finally admits that "Fuel economy and alcohol use are legitimate subjects for public debate. But are they the paramount moral issues of our time?" Good question.

 

Thomas Bray in the Detroit News (11/24/02, 19A) avers in his column, "we know what Jesus drove. When he entered Jerusalem on his final fateful journey, he was riding an ass… In its day, the ass was the highest-powered, most polluting form of conveyance known - with the possible exception of the camel." After admitting that these comments are silly, he says "it's equally silly to speculate on what Jesus would drive today." Since the ministers are seeking fuel efficiency, Bray points out that they fail "to see that automobiles are far more efficient than the true alternatives - and growing more efficient all the time, thanks to the remorseless pressure of the marketplace." In other words, he is telling the clerics to stop wasting everyone's time - the marketplace will take care of your concerns.

 

Ralph Wirtz in the Midland Daily News (11/22/02, A4) opines that "Jesus would have needed a 15-passenger van…. This way, he'd have room for all his followers and those pamphlets and Bibles that are sure-fire winners at conventions." A practical answer.

 

Bert G. Osterberg, in his letter in the Detroit Free Press (11/24/02, 3E) answers the question this way: "… Jesus traveled around a rough countryside, crossing streams and deserts with 12 disciples. Surely the Lord would have chosen a four-wheel-drive, 12-passenger vehicle that would have fit his needs." Another practical answer.

 

Susan Ager in her column in the Detroit Free Press (11/24/02, H1) says, "I like the question because it forces us to admit what we all know: We're wrecking God's great Earth for the sake of power, speed and status." She quotes Dan Edgerly as saying that Jesus "would carpool to build relationships with lots of people, as many as the seat belts would hold." Now there's a creative answer.  Edgerly is the current youth pastor at the Calvary Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan where the original question started, "What would Jesus do?"

 

A "silly" question has generated a lot of response. From what I read in the Detroit Free Press (11/21/02, C1) the clergy are urging automakers to make more fuel efficient cars so that we can be better stewards of the world God has given us. That sounds like a good goal to me. And they pledge to help sell these cars. Isn't that the marketplace that Tom Bray was writing about?

 

It seems to me that some have taken this question too literally and thereby missed the point of the clergy. Susan Ager suggests it is "clever and challenging" because it strikes at our quest for "power, speed and status". Isn't that a paramount moral issue of our day? Maybe the reason so many are ridiculing the clerics and their question is that they are asking us to take a deep look at our moral values regarding the buying and using of automobiles. Taking a moral inventory is always hard.