Backing Up

Beep, beep, beep.....I really need to have one of those back-up beeper things on my car and I expect that some day, my husband, purely out of a deep concern for my well-being will get me that for a birthday or Mother's Day or Christmas. He's practical like that.

In the immortal words of Raymond in 'Rainman'---'I'm an excellent driver...' --except when I am backing up. Now I don't get in trouble every time I back up, but the few fender benders I have had always involve the little 'R' on my gear shift. So much so it has gotten to be a little family joke---very little.

Backing up can be dangerous. In my most recent episode, I was backing into a parking place, precisely because I was again in what I consider the funkiest parking lot ever and I always worry about backing into a rather large, poorly placed stone wall. So, by backing into a parking space, I can just pull out and go. Sounds reasonable. Too bad the woman coming into said parking lot at that precise moment did not have eyes on the side of her head to see my back up lights as I tried to negotiate into the very space she was headed toward. Oops.

She was very kind and when I offered my insurance information, she just said not to worry about it, it just matched the damage already done to that side of her car. As I glanced at her thoroughly wrinkled back quarter panel, I got her point. Perhaps it was not my driving in this instance that resulted in the extra paint on my rear bumper. In this I take great comfort.

We are living in a culture that desperately needs to 'back up'. A very arduous prospect, to be sure, but let's have a look.

Over the past generation or so, we have built this awkward stone wall of political correctness that is poorly placed. The architects and engineers on this wall have been our politicians and, sadly, our Churches. Everything God has taught us in His word seems to have to be maneuvered around this wall. So much so that even those whose job it is to teach us His word seem to brush right past it's existence with barely a mention. No 'watch out' or 'be careful'. Just a complicit 'no big deal'. But it is a big deal. When we deny Truth (capital T intended..) so as to acquiesce to this notion, we cast aside the one thing that can get us in and out of this cultural parking lot, faith and morals intact

Backing up is tricky but here are some suggestions from a person with 'experience'.

First, don't be in a rush. Some things take time. Sometimes the best way out of a situation is a slow but steady, deliberate process.

Look both ways. In our daily conversations, we need to really hear what a person wrapped up in this culture is saying. It is often an emotional response to what they see happening around them. But, emotions cannot be trusted for sound judgement. Start a dialog. Ask some questions to try and see where they are coming from.

Just as it is important to know how your car will respond to your direction, we must learn what God through His Church has taught us. It is easier to help someone understand a certain principle if you know that principle -- backwards and forwards. Again, this takes time and effort. No shortcuts here. Remember that Sundays (or the seventh day...) was meant to be not only a day of rest from our labor, but also for study of this God who wants us to know Him fully. It is not enough to know what the Church stands against if you do not know why it does so. Only then can you make fully informed decisions. How is it that in our 'need to know' culture, we easily brush off the very things we will need for eternity? Short-sighted. Not to mention dangerous. And, who of us doesn't know several folks that are loud and proud in their ignorance of these matters.

In keeping our own lives ordered in this way, the peace that passes all understanding will draw others to emulate your careful, deliberate way of life. The frantic pace makes all of us fools at one time or another. Slow down. Look to the left and the right, behind and beside. Proceed with caution...and lots of prayer.

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