1 Samuel 24:1-7, Bumper Sticker: I may not agree with your bumper sticker, but I will defend to the death your right to stick it (10/31/16)
Bumper Sticker Theology
Remembering God’s Word in a Cluttered World – Part 1
|1 Samuel 24:1-7, Bumper Sticker: I may not agree with your bumper sticker, but I will defend to the death your right to stick it|
|Psalm 92:12-15; Luke 4:14-16; Hebrews 10:24-25, Heard around: Sitting in the pew doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in the garage makes you a car.|
|Exodus 20:8-11, Billboard: “Let’s Meet At My House Sunday Before the Game” – God|
|Psalm 23:1-6, Billboard: “Will The Road You’re On Get You To My Place?” – God|
|Proverbs 22:6; Luke 2:22-24, 41-43, Billboard: “C’mon Over And Bring The Kids” – God|
|Deuteronomy 30:15-16, Bumper Sticker: God Bless America|
|Genesis 18:17-234, 32; Ezekiel 22:23-31, Bumper Sticker: God Bless America? Why would he?|
|Romans 13:1-8; 1 Peter 2:13-17; John 19:10-11; Wisdom 6:1-3, Billboard: “One nation under me.” – God|
|Deuteronomy 8:1-10, Bumper Sticker: America bless God|
|Numbers 6:22-27; Matthew 5:43-48, Bumper Sticker: God bless everyone––no exceptions|
|Psalm 118:6-7, Genesis 18:22, Bumper Sticker: God is my Copilot|
|Isaiah 42:16, Genesis 18:22, Bumper Sticker: If God is your Copilot, you’re sitting in the wrong seat|
|Genesis 2:18-20, Bumper Sticker: Dog is my Copilot|
|Isaiah 1:16-20, Billboard: “We Need To Talk” – God|
|James 2:14-16, Bumper Sticker: More wag, less bark|
More Bumper Sticker Theology
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Former pastor Norman once said from the pulpit, “I wouldn’t put a bumper sticker on my car to announce the Second Coming.” I totally agree, even though the one time my husband put a bumper sticker on my car, it won us a free trip to Disney World. I do see other people’s stickers, however, and that’s fine with me! The holidays are coming up, and we’re all busy. Extra church services, extra rehearsals, extra cooking, and extra shopping keep us busy. As the days shorten and we approach Christmas, the readings and study tips are also going to shorten. As we spend extra time in our cars, we’ll see bumper stickers, church signs, and billboards that may remind us of God’s word in a full day.
For all these reasons, our first bumper sticker is, “I may not agree with your bumper sticker, but I will defend to the death your right to stick it.” David certainly didn’t agree with Saul’s intention to hunt him down and kill him, but he knew that Saul was king by right and rite – God had chosen him, and Samuel had anointed him. David defended Saul against his own men, taking the chance that Saul would later succeed in achieving David’s death.
Psalm 92:12-15; Luke 4:14-16; Hebrews 10:24-25, Heard around: Sitting in the pew doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in the garage makes you a car. (11/1/16)
I’ve heard it said that “Sitting in the pew doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in the garage makes you a car.” While that is technically true, it’s also true that sitting in the garage makes me think about cars. Maybe I notice that the tires are low, or I wonder whether I’m due for an oil change. In the same way, sitting in the pew may remind me to pray for a friend, think about the sermon, or rejoice about the choir.
It’s also technically true that God expects me to be in church! “Planted in the LORD’s Temple,” the righteous flourish and bear fruit even in their old age. Jesus’ custom was to be in the synagogue on the Sabbath, and we should follow his example, not neglecting to sit in the pew, as some do.
Exodus 20:8-11, Billboard: “Let’s Meet At My House Sunday Before the Game” – God (11/2/16)
“Sabbath” comes from the Hebrew word for “rest,” not for “Sunday” (or Friday or Saturday, either). God wants us to spend some time in his house each week and to take a day off to do that and to get some rest and relaxation. “Let’s meet at my house Sunday before the game” is scriptural, as long we understand that the players that we watch while they work on Sunday afternoon need to get their
day off once a week, too!
Psalm 23:1-6, Billboard: “Will The Road You’re On Get You To My Place?” – God (11/3/16)
I like maps, because I like to know various different ways to get where I’m going, just in case one of them is closed. Will the road you’re on get you to God’s place? Just about any road will get you to a place of worship, but only the paths of righteousness will get you home.
Proverbs 22:6; Luke 2:22-24, 41-43, Billboard: “C’mon Over And Bring The Kids” – God (11/4/16)
I like the billboard that quotes God as saying, “C’mon over and bring the kids.” Both the Old and New Testaments make the point that it’s important to teach children about God, especially by bringing them to God’s house.
Deuteronomy 30:15-16, Bumper Sticker: God Bless America (11/7/16)
This is election week in the USA, so I thought we’d do a few politico-religious, or possibly religio-political, bumper stickers that I saw or alert readers sent in. Those of you in other nations can rest assured that God loves your country just as much as he loves mine. Our first bumper sticker – and probably the oldest of the group – is “God Bless America.” Now there’s a bumper sticker I can really get behind!
Genesis 18:17-234, 32; Ezekiel 22:23-31, Bumper Sticker: God Bless America? Why would he? (11/8/16)
Probably any person displaying a bumper sticker saying “God Bless America? Why would he?” is in a cynical mood and doesn’t think our nation deserves to be blessed. But I choose to treat this as a serious theological question. When God was determined to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sin, Abraham argued that it would be against God’s nature to destroy the righteous along with the unrighteous, and God agreed that for the sake of 10 righteous people, he would spare those cities. Later, while God was speaking to Ezekiel, God said that he looked for one
righteous person to stand in the breach and protect the nation from the wrath of God!
It is my personal responsibility – and yours – to live the kind of life that will lead God to bless our nation. What does God require of me? To do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God (Micah 6:8). To let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream (Amos 5:24). To love God and love my neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39). If you and I do these things, God will have reason to bless our nation.
Romans 13:1-8; 1 Peter 2:13-17; John 19:10-11; Wisdom 6:1-3, Billboard: “One nation under me.” – God (11/9/16)
Most of you know that I write these study tips the evening before their date so that early risers can read it first thing in the morning. The polls are not yet closed for the U.S. elections, and I have no idea who will win. I do know this: it is my duty as a Christian to support and honor the winners, whether I voted for them or not.
Paul and Peter follow Jesus in saying that human authority is derived from divine authority. Failure to honor and obey civil authority is failure to honor and obey God (with a very few exceptions, see for example Acts 4:19-20). I put in the passage from Wisdom, which is accepted as canonical by Roman Catholics, primarily because Jesus seems to be referring to it when he answers Pilate. “One nation under me” is an entirely scriptural billboard message!
Deuteronomy 8:1-10, Bumper Sticker: America bless God (11/10/16)
Humor columnist Argus Hamilton
always opens with, “God bless America, and how’s everybody?” We’re doing well. We live in a free nation, rich in rivers and springs, rich in wheat and barley on the plains, rich in vines and oranges on the coasts, rich in minerals in the mountains, and rich in our people from shore to shore. America, bless God!
Numbers 6:22-27; Matthew 5:43-48, Bumper Sticker: God bless everyone––no exceptions (11/11/16)
A couple of weeks ago it was my turn to offer the morning prayer in Sunday School. One of our members has some new aquariums, and I asked for God’s special blessing on the fish. A couple of people snickered politely, and my husband said later that he had never heard anyone bless fish before. Well, God did (Genesis 1:22). God wants to bless all of creation, and as an example he shows this by sending the rain and sunshine to all of us, good and evil alike. I especially like the final bumper sticker on this week’s topic, “God bless everyone – no exceptions.”
Psalm 118:6-7, Genesis 18:22, Bumper Sticker: God is my Copilot (11/14/16)
Possibly the most ironic photograph I’ve ever seen was one of a wrecked car being towed away. The car had a bumper sticker on it that said, “God Is My Copilot.” I managed to find one scripture passage from the psalms that supports the idea that God is our helper, and not the other way around.
Isaiah 42:16, Genesis 18:22, Bumper Sticker: If God is your Copilot, you’re sitting in the wrong seat (11/15/16)
It’s amusing to me that people who put bumper stickers on their cars are often talking to other people who have put stickers on their
cars! We saw this last week with the series on God Bless America/America Bless God and so on. I mentioned yesterday that finding scriptural support for the idea that “God is my copilot” wasn’t easy, but it’s not difficult at all to support the idea that God is our leader, not our follower. I chose this one from Isaiah because it is a particularly beautiful example of how God leads us.
I’m also including an interesting verse from Genesis 18:22, which is widely regarded by ancient and modern scholars to be one of the “emendations of the scribes,” that is, texts that were modified by very
ancient scribes because they thought (usually) that the original text was not sufficiently respectful of God. In Genesis 18, God and Abraham are facing each other and talking. Genesis 18:22 is thought to have read originally, “The LORD stood before Abraham.” In the time of the very ancient scribes, the person “standing before” was in an inferior social position to the other person, so they decided to turn it around, to “Abraham stood before the LORD.” Clearly they also thought that “If God is your Copilot, you’re sitting in the wrong seat.”
Genesis 2:18-20, Bumper Sticker: Dog is my Copilot (11/16/16)
Did you hear the one about the dyslexic agnostic insomniac? He lies awake at night wondering if there is a Dog. HAHAHahahahaha!
I’m basically a cat person, but dogs are okay, too. If I were living alone, like Adam, I’d get a big ol’ German Shepherd Dog to laugh at my jokes and watch my back. Nevertheless, God decided that none of the animals, not even dogs and cats, are the copilot that we need in this world.
Isaiah 1:16-20, Billboard: “We Need To Talk” – God (11/17/16)
So, I can imagine God in Heaven with his forehead in his hand, thinking about bumper stickers that read, “God is my Copilot” and “Dog is my Copilot.” Finally he shakes his head and says, “We Need to Talk.” God always wants to talk to us. Join the conversation!
James 2:14-16, Bumper Sticker: More wag, less bark (11/18/16)
As long as we’re on the topic of dogs, an alert reader sent in a bumper sticker that said, “More Wag, Less Bark.” James says the same thing: be a doer, not a talker.
More Bumper Sticker Theology
Bumper Sticker Theology – Part 2
Bumper Sticker Theology – Part 3
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