punchy line

...and he (Simon Peter) saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth ... not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. - Jn 20: 6-7
-Jn 20: 6-7

Sunday, April 1, 2012

5 Stupid Reasons I Resisted Having A Catholic Radio Bumper Sticker on My Car


I heart Catholic radio.  I need it.  I pine for it.  I crave it like it's pure audio mocha (which is probably the closest thing I’m going to get to a real mocha from they-who-shall-not-be-named for a very long time.)

So why did I resist affixing a Catholic radio sticker to my car for so long?

Stupid, stupid, stupid reasons, which nevertheless, effectively stopped me from announcing my devotion to my beloved Immaculate Heart Radio to everyone on the road.

Someone, anyone, please tell me that you can relate and that I am not alone:

1. A bias against bumper stickers in general.
Bumper stickers are reductionism at its most grotesque.  Some egotistical blowhard’s attempt to bludgeon other drivers with their own beliefs. I felt this way even before Catholic radio came to town.

You see, I live in the Bay Area.  As I describe it to people out of state: near San Francisco (where the Church is really popular) Berkeley (where shoes and shaving are illegal) and Santa Cruz (which has outlawed taking showers, but their awesome mountain bikes kind of make up for this). So you can imagine how many times I have had to swallow my own upchuck when I've come across “I Voted for Kerry” “Coexist” "Go Vegan" and “Arms are for Hugging” (get it?).

People put this on their car.
To be asked to be another bumper sticker out there, even though I heartily believe in the mission of Catholic radio, still feels like someone is asking me to wear a garment made out of tie-dyed tree bark that my kids have finger painted all over.

And yet, I admit, that every time a car with a Catholic radio sticker passes me on the road, I actually do become hopeful knowing that someone out there shares my Catholic values (which, I guess, would be the antithesis of the ones I just mentioned… “not Kerry,” “Divide and Conquer,” "Steak..."and “Hug my leeettle friend, Mutha…”).

In other words, I’m genuinely encouraged when I see one.  How great is that?  And how silly is it that I resisted doing the same for others for so long?

2 - 4. I would feel guilted into obeying the rules of the road, driving politely, and I would cause scandal to others and the Church if I failed to do so.

I reasoned that having a Catholic radio sticker on my car would be the automobile equivalent to having one of those Jesus portraits where the eyes follow you.  I would feel it staring at me. All of the time. The bumper sticker, that is.  

It would also 'ping' God every time I drove slightly above the limit in school zones and didn’t make complete stops at stop signs.  And each time, my status in heaven would decrease half a wrung (though I doubt its ever been higher than ‘maintenance staff’ anyway).  You get it – I would feel so stressed at the very thought of driving and being good at the same time that I wouldn't make it out of the house.

Which was also the basis for my third reservation: I’d have to be a polite driver all of the time.  Right now you're thinking, "But, aren't you supposed to be this way anyway?"  To which I say, "Yes.  But have you ever driven in California?"  ( I confess that this is my usual rationale for forgoing traffic etiquette).  

Should I dare creep up close behind a slowpoke (i.e. impolitely pressure the slug in front of me to actually drive the speed limit), I could just imagine the other drivers sniggering when they saw that it was a Catholic radio listener doing so. “Oh, so that’s how a Catholic drives?”   “Looks like the Immaculate Heart really hasn’t done that gal any good,” “Ghandi was right about Christians,” etc. But if they didn't know which station I listened to, I didn’t have to worry about all of this, you see?

And this fed into my fourth reason for not displaying a Catholic radio a bumper sticker. “What if I do get pulled over?" I worried, "What will people think of me?  What will they think of the Church?”  Better not risk giving scandal to anyone which meant no bumper sticker, of course.  What a chicken.

And here’s my stupidest one of all:

5.) I don’t want the other van driving, homeschooling moms to think I’m trying to fit in. 
Because my massive van, the homeschooling cooperative, the NFP and meeting up with them at daily mass once a week doesn't already make my affiliations obvious.  Pathetic, I know. 

In short, all of my stupid reasons were mostly concerns for my image.  Dear reader, can you ever forgive me?   Immaculate Heart Radio, can you?

I promise the bumper sticker is there now! I promise to make a good pledge this spring (oh wait, is that already over with?) And I promise that I will try to drive more like a Catholic Radio listener should: with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy blaring at red lights, and in the background in drive throughs...


Hey, this gave me an idea!  The Theology of Laundry is now launching its own bumper sticker!  Vote on which one is the best (or worst):

#1 The Theology of Laundry: Because God’s Mercy has a Rinse Cycle!

Or

#2 God <3s Laundry Piles: Read The Theology of Laundry


Or

#3 The Theology of Laundry: WWJD? Fold the Laundry (Jn 20: 6-7)! U Shud 2! 

 (Too much?)

15 comments:

  1. I can absolutely understand this!! I always wanted a Catholic bumper sticker, but again what happens if I'm speeding....
    Also, I wonder if it would ruin a car and I do plan on selling my car once we start our family?
    However, I love your first bumper sticker idea.. assuming that wouldn't ruin the car I would use that! :)

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    1. Between the responses here and on Facebook, I think number one is the sure winner.

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  2. I can relate! I used to have a "My boss is a Jewish carpenter" bumper sticker and I too always felt the need to "represent" as perfectly as possible (not possible).

    I like bumper sticker #1. :)

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    1. Have you ever seen the "My boss is a German Shepherd" (B16)? Thanks for commenting!

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    2. I was looking for the like button for this!! :)

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  3. I can't believe I'm the first to comment? I read your blog on my reader but had to click over for the good humor (the real kind, not ice cream). I can so relate - to all of the above - and have just recently started "wearing" our local Catholic radio sticker, too.

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    1. Thanks for commenting! Good humor...lol. Well, here's to hoping the Catholic bumper sticker makes better Catholics out of both of us..

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  4. I used to work in Catholic radio (producing Al Kresta's show). I heard often from people who would say, "I didn't know there was Catholic radio in our area until I saw a bumper sticker...." If you *heart* Catholic radio, don't be stingy-- share it with the world!

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  5. As a 23-year commuter on I-80 in Nevada, I have seen several bumper stickers of note. The actual wealth of Nevada is from mining, and one sticker of real thought was: IF IT CAN'T BE GROWN IS HAS TO BE MINED.
    I also liked: I LOVE CATS. THEY ARE DELICIOUS. it was naturally on a pickup.
    My ONE bumper sticker was purchased from the GOP and states: IT'S NOT A CHOICE. IT'S A CHILD, and conveniently lets the highway Patrol guy know where I am at. in California, however, my car has been the brunt of sign language.
    However, the best sticker is at the top of my windshield and states "renegaderadio.org" where I work.

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    1. Fr., As a child I was dragged down the Length of Nevada from Reno to Laughlin several times ( the farthest east we've gotten on I-80 is Pyramid Lake), and the bumper stickers you shared are just too appropriate. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

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  6. We're planning on discussing this post on the radio this morning about 15 minutes into the show. Talk about meta... Catholic radio talking about a Catholic blog talking about Catholic radio... if you blog about us talking about you, someone's head may explode.

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    1. I think mine just did.:) I'll try looking for it in the archives (alas, I'm always a day late on these kind of things). Thanks so much for the mention!

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  7. And BTW, the best one I've ever seen: "MY OTHER PRO-TOLERANCE BUMPER STICKER IS ALSO CONDESCENDING"

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