Friday, January 12, 2007


Perfecting the Bus

Lu posted some alternative ideas on my bus metaphor.

Are you sure they are the ones in the front? Seems to me -- in my picture of this bus -- that those are the ones toward the back, or at least in the middle. They're the people who, while still on the bus, aren't really in contact with Jesus that much; who are still trying to drive their own particular buses without realizing they don't have control, never did.

A good idea, I think. As I'd expect of Lu it's a more understanding way of seeing things.

My thought when I wrote the story was that the ones in front are the self-important ones, those who want to be seen, the self-proclaimed experts crowding around Jesus so He will notice how good they are. This is modelled on the way people try to take the "best" seats at the banquet.

I think you and I are the ones in the front -- where we can be in constant contact with the Driver, with Jesus. We realize that no matter how much we WANT to be in control, no matter how much we try to be, we aren't. Control is an illusion. And, yeah, I believe the illusion more than I prefer to admit, but that doesn't change the fact that it's illusion.

My idea was more along the line of it not really mattering where you sit. Jesus sees all of the passengers, every one of us, even if we're hanging onto the rear bumper like that woman with the hemorrhage. So, the Important People in the front make it impossible for anyone else to be there. We end up shuffled off to the back end... where we really find Jesus' heart. Jesus loves the shuffled-off, the bottom feeders, the marginal ones. Well, he loves the self-important ones also, but rarely can do even so much as get one word into their well-organized worldviews.

And I'm not so sure the sign on the front reads "Perfection" -- unless we're using the Biblical definition (ie, complete-ness) and not the world's definition (without flaw or brokenness). At least I don't want to be on a bus heading for the latter -- the former, yes, but not the world's view of perfection. Perhaps it reads "Redemption".....?

I thought about this. Decided to stay with "Perfection" because that is where Jesus has promised to deliver us. If the headsign on your bus reads "Nashville" but the driver takes you to Poughkeepsie, he hasn't done his job. He has betrayed you. Jesus says perfection and that's where we're going, but it's His idea of perfection, not ours. I doubt that it has anything to do with toothpaste smiles and big ugly-but-impressive houses.

Redemption is already done. As soon as we stepped, or were carried, through the bus door we were redeemed. I got off the bus but was still a passenger, and Jesus came back and got me when I was tired enough to start listening again.


I thought about making this a longer story. I'd have some characters, kind of like Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" and illustrate various things. But I had about ten minutes for the writing so I pared the story down to just the essential core ideas, that Jesus will get us there, and that the most important thing we can do is stay with Him. Where there's connection to Jesus there's hope.

I came up with the bus metaphor because I've ridden them. I was on a bus in Colorado one time when the driver didn't know where the stations were. I'd been over the route a few times so I guided him to each station in turn. I don't know what he did north of Greeley because I got off there. I've been on city buses too where the driver sort of got lost and did a few extra loops around the city.

There are people who are afraid of flying. They get on the airplane and tremble the whole time. I see the time to worry being before you get on. You can decide not to fly. Once you've decided to fly, you might as well relax as there's nothing you can do. Worrying and fidgeting isn't going to keep the clear air turbulence from tearing the plane apart, or keep the pilot from having a heart attack, or anything else our active imaginations can come up with.

No, once you get on board, bus, plane, train, you might as well relax and enjoy the ride. Or read a book. Getting potted helps but you have a headache later. Books and music are better. You get on, turn on the music, open your book, and some indefinable time later, voila. You're there. You've arrived.

That's the idea I wanted to get across. It's Jesus promising perfection, not our own efforts. It takes time to learn how this works in the real world.

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