Saturday, June 23, 2007

THICK SKULLS, THIN SKINS . . .our culture behind the wheel and elsewhere. . .

Now that I'm Catholic, I've noticed my driving has improved. I don't speed quite as much or lose my temper now with other drivers who cut me off or slow me down. Though I still get annoyed it's not to the same degree. I was more vociferous behind the wheel however, when I was an Evangelical. With a boatload of character faults and weaknesses I'm struggling with and working on, I don't blame Evangelicalism per se. There's no one to blame for those but myself and most Christians I'm sure, drive far better than I do even now. BUT, the "unbridled consumer mentality" that's crept into many of those independent churches also crept into my thinking and thus my living and very much so, my driving. I was wondering about the psychology regarding this or the philosopy of Evangelicalism vs Catholicism when it comes to driving. Since the Vatican issued its "10 Commandments for good motorists" last week and reading the article, I've thought about all of the "vehicular sins" I've committed since getting my driver's license...(back when the earth was cooling and I toted a cassette recorder on the front seat of a burgundy Chevelle I had (happily not for long) that didn't have a raydio! A true horror for a 17 year old!)

When I went to a church that fit "my theology," "my musical taste" and "my emotional needs" I tended to live that out and expressed it many times in a not-so-Christ-like manner, especially on the road. The "I, me, my" consumerist lifestyle was influencing my Christianity in very negative ways. Self-absorption affected how I drove as well as how I worshiped "my God" in "my church." If someone cut me off or slowed me down on "my way" to "my destination" on "my road" well, the problem wasn't that I might have left too late, and was now hurrying to get to "my destination," but it was "that guy" or "that woman" ahead of me that was now "the problem," and certainly not I! (Those who leave the Church for another church they like more always blame the Church and never themselves, hmm.) True, many a non-Catholic Christian or agnostic or atheist can certainly drive with great care due to their character, temperment,personality, etc. and can surely be very considerate, (maybe moreso than some Catholics by the look of our parking lot at times.)

However, since I've been back in the Church and am learning more about the Catholic faith, going to daily Mass and receiving the Eucharist daily, I'm thinking more about others and it's definitely been changing who I am on the road and everywhere else. As "thick of skull and thin of skin" as I can be at times, the Lord is finally getting through and it's made life on the road better for others and myself. That surely describes the culture and many in Christendom these days: "Thick Skulls, Thin Skins." (If by chance anyone reading this decides to use that for a book title, do remember where you got it, and send me a freebie, okay? Thanks.) Since praying more behind the wheel, and with Catholic Raydio on instead of the depressing, aggravating news blather, I'm more considerate of others on the road than I've ever been and realize, at least a bit more readily, that I am the problem when indeed I am the problem.

The blame game just isn't playable anymore. I could rationalize so much of my sinful behavior on the road (and elswhere) as a Protestant because I only had to answer to me (no confessional) and 'my God,' who, amazingly seemed to "think just like me!" How cool! Behind the wheel and elsewhere, God was "on my side." It's the other folks on the road who are wrong. Just like it's the old stodgy, tradtional Catholic Church that's wrong, huh? How 'not cool' but sobering, frightening and chilling to ponder that paradigm now.

2 comments:

Tiber Jumper said...

Good post. The accountability of frequent confession as well as the grace imparted by Jesus in the confessional really has made a difference for me as well. I still need continued conversion though...

Joyful Catholics said...

Boy me too! I know I need to get to confession today. I'm better on the road but sometimes at this computer desk it's another story! : o