Category Archives: Bumper Stickers

Some Random Observations and Musings

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Having just returned from a trip out East, I reflect on things I find I very often reflect on when I am suddenly in the midst of a lot of people.    When one hails from central Wisconsin it is easy to forget that there are a lot of places with a lot of people.   Around here, one has to travel to get to a “big” city.   Within our state, the only real city that qualifies is Milwaukee, and spending time there isn’t nearly like spending it in other major cities.

Anyway, what my wife and I both found amazing is that when traveling to the East Coast, people are everywhere.  I don’t say this as a good or a bad ting – it’s just a different thing for us.

We flew into Boston, but we actually drove straight up to Bar Harbor, Maine.    Traffic the entire way, even in the rural areas, was constant.   A few times along the way, there were traffic delays.    We spent time in Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park, Booth Bay, Portsmouth, NH and finally Boston.    In every spot, it was impressive to see the multitudes of folks out and about going about their business.

In the past, I’ve had to travel to NY for work, and I’ve visited Chicago a number of times as well.   I am always amazed by the sheer volume of humanity.    I know many see this as a problem – I see it as awesome.   I also view it with a bit of sadness.   I imagine what we could accomplish as a human race if we all worked together in accordance with God’s will and we all truly attempted to reach our full potential (whatever that all means in accordance with God’s will).

But in all these cases, I simply cannot help but consider the fact that every last person is seeing life through a different lens than I am.   Even those of us in the same community – even the same household – see things differently than the next person.   Two people viewing the same event at the same time are seeing it from a slightly different perspective and thinking something slightly different about the whole thing.   Add to that the simple fact that no two people, even married and in the same home, will be with each other at all times, it necessarily means that every person has an unique view of life from anyone else.   All these experiences help form who we are.   This is why different people gravitate to different causes from other people.   It’s why one person sees another person in a positive light while another may not.

This very thought always amazes me.   Sometimes I simply sit and watch a person walking from one place to another, and imagine what they are seeing from where they are.   I often wonder what they are thinking about as they are walking – an impossibility for me to know, but intriguing nonetheless.

Now, I admit that this exercise for me – something I have actually been contemplating for years – has a new wrinkle to it.   It is absolutely phenomenal how many people at any given time are walking around staring at a screen.   I am also guilty of that.   It’s really easy to default to pulling out the phone and checking messages, or putting on music, or whatever.    This is not in and of itself a terrible thing – many are checking in with friends and loved ones in a way that satisfies both parties.    OK, I get that.   I do it as well.    But I also wonder how many people ever take the time to just walk.  And think.    And wonder.  How many people are providing some peace and quiet to themselves and balancing out the noise of constant activity.   But that’s not a new issue – many have discussed this need.   But sometimes the best reminder for oneself is to view the rest of the world and realize how silly it all looks, and then understand that you are often engaging in that same silliness.


Random musing 1:   As a general rule, if a vehicle has more than 2 bumper stickers, it is most often a left-leaning and self-proclaimed socialist.    Most I saw on this trip have either the “Bernie” sticker or a “Coexist” sticker – or both.    A distant second scenario, but still a noticeable one, is a pro-life Catholic.   I’m not a bumper sticker guy, but I can appreciate the zeal for the cause.  But, good grief, I swear that some people slap every bumper sticker they can find, as if to think “Well, if the other 18 didn’t convince everyone, then surely THIS one will do it!”

Random musing 2: How can there be a million cars on the road around Boston, but it’s nearly impossible to find a freakin’ gas station?

Random musing 3:  If you need to smother one substance in another substance in order for it to be enjoyable to eat, then why am I paying $5/oz for it?    I had Lobster twice while in Maine, and it was OK.   I actually preferred it grilled to boiled.   But even with that, I didn’t really get the whole thing.   It doesn’t have a real strong taste either way, so it kind of just tastes like whatever you put on it.   Butter, steak juice, risotto, peanut butter…   A biscuit or a cracker is much less expensive.   I mean, I know it’s cool to crack open the shell of the poor thing that was just boiled to death, so there is that.   But other than the entire novelty of the whole thing, I think I’ll stick with the hunk of beef that tastes like something and weighs more.

 

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The Jesus Fish, The Darwin Salamander, and a Truth Something-or-Another

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Originally posted on http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com on June 16, 2007.

As I pulled into work the other day, I maneuvered my vehicle into a parking spot immediately behind a vehicle exhibiting the Darwin salamander.  Or at least I think it’s a salamander.  It’s like a fish with legs, except that fish don’t have legs.  I heard of some prehistoric fish that they think may have had legs and is the argument for how animals went from sea to land, so maybe it’s supposed to be that thing.  Anyway, what it is supposed to actually portray is irrelevant, but it’s the kind of random stuff that keeps me up at night.

But as I looked at this little $3 item that someone chose to slap on their car, I started contemplating this whole competition we’ve engaged in.  There is an unsettling aspect to it that I don’t think really struck me before.

It used to be that people put the fish symbol on their car as a testament to their Christianity.  It’s a traditional symbol that was used as kind of a code back in times when there was extreme persecution of Christians.  One way of identifying someone as a Christian was a subtle little fish symbol.  I would be lying if I said I knew the complete history and all the details, but that’s the general idea, as I understand it.   Now, regardless of how accurate the whole story about this is, let’s fast-forward to present times.  The fish symbol once again gained popularity among Christians as a subtle bumper sticker.  It’s pretty harmless.  It’s not an in-your-face bumper sticker or a crucifix or anything overly blatant.  It’s a fish.  To the person in the car, it’s simply a statement of faith and belief.

Now, what struck me is that this little item is used to profess faith in our God, Jesus Christ.  It was not intended as some larger argument about the details of theological thought.  It does not testify, necessarily, to one’s personal views on Creationism, Evolution, or Intelligent Design, or anything of the sort.  It doesn’t even really provide information on Christian denomination.   It merely says “Fish = Christian.”

And so, the unsettling part of the whole Darwin Salamander is not whether it’s a fish with legs or a lizard or a turtle.  It’s that the item on the car is a direct rebuff of the Jesus fish.  Think about it…  the fish professes a faith in God.  The person in the car with the Darwin tag has openly professed a replacement of Jesus with Darwin, or at the very least, evolution (or science).  Jesus is gone.  Jesus is unnecessary.  Christians are worshipping the wrong thing.  Darwin/Evolution/Science is the new god, the new faith.

Now, personally, I can actually reconcile a belief in Evolution with being a Christian, so long as the belief is that Evolution occurs through God’s will and plan – that God chose to institute an immortal soul into man at some point.   That the Creation story, while not literal, is nonetheless completely true in what it teaches regarding God as Creator.  Now, I don’t actually believe that Evolution is true as it is professed by many proponents.  But my reasoning is based on critical observation, reasoning, and my understanding of the science. I see a lot of holes, have questions that are unable to be answered, and add a dose of common sense.  If, however, it were proven without a reasonable doubt that man has an acestor in a paramecium, my faith does not rest on my skepticism of evolutionary theory, and thus would not be shaken by this conclusion.   I am wary, however, of the attitude of many who are proponents of Darwinian thought when they somehow suggest that proof of Evolution disproves God as Creator.  It does nothing of the sort.  Should Evolution be proven, all it tells us is how we got to the point we are, and one can easily argue that God is infinitely imaginitive in the way He manages His creation. 

That explanation is somewhat of an aside, to briefly summarize my own musings on the subject of Evolution and put my other thoughts in a bit of context.   Back to the main point:  Those who stick the Darwin Salamander on their vehicle, whether conscious of it or not, have just put another god before the true God.  It is entirely possible that many just think it’s funny, or some even profess to be a Christian that believes in Evolution.  The problem is, the fish is not actually a statement on Evolution.  It is a statement of faith.  As such, the salamander also displays a deeper meaning, be it purposeful or not.

As if that isn’t bad enough, Christians then forgot the purpose of placing a fish emblem on a vehicle and decided to fire the next shot in the bumper-sticker war. Enter the “Truth” whale or big fish, or something.   I’ll admit that the first time I saw that, I was kind of amused.  But upon further reflection, I’m not a fan of this.  All it does is detract from the original intent of the Jesus fish by getting drawn into a petty back-of-an-auto-stickie-thing debate.  I mean, do we really think we’ll convert anyone by putting that on our car?  Oh, it may make us feel clever, as if we just showed all those atheist folk who’s boss, but in the end it’s hard to believe that this has ever served a positive purpose.  The other thing is that you then get caught up in looking like you’re trying to suppress scientific thought, lending credence to the idea that anyone with a fish on their car is a strict fundamentalist Creationist.  Stick with the normal Jesus fish, if you ask me, and instead of going tit-for-tat with the sticky thingies, just pray for those who may not know what they are actually saying when they trumpet Darwin in the place of Christ.

I don’t actually have a fish.  I have nothing against it.  I’m just not one to plunk things on my car.  I think the only bumper sticker I’ve ever put on my car is a small Packers bumper sticker.  That was on a car I got rid of 11 years ago.  I loved that car.  I had a bumper sticker on another vehicle that came with it and I never took off.  That minivan cost me a lot of money.

Maybe I should have had a Jesus fish…