Alternate street parking in New York and our Christian faith

July 27, 2017

I’m back from vacation! I wrote the following for our church’s weekly e-newsletter:

My family and I returned late Wednesday night from our vacation in Washington, D.C., and New York City. We rented basement apartments through “Airbnb” in both cities. Our place in Washington had private parking in an alley driveway. Our place in Brooklyn, however, had the same parking available to everyone else: on the street.

Lisa read that 40 percent of traffic in Brooklyn is people driving around looking for parking. Having now experienced it firsthand, I believe it!

But at least I know how it works: Twice a week in most places, a street sweeper cleans alternate sides of each street. The times are posted on signs. On Monday, “our” side of the street was being cleaned from 8:30 to 10:00. Lisa and I got up early to move our car and try to find an empty space somewhere else. We failed. We found no empty spaces–except on the side of the street that was being cleaned.

Meanwhile, many of the cars that were parked on our side of the street were now double-parked on the other side of the street. Their owners would then move them to the other side of the street at 10:00 (or about 15 minutes before). So like a couple of locals, we did the same thing.

A friend in Brooklyn told us that for most residents, this is all the driving they do every week: Moving their car from one side of the street to the other, and back again. A couple of times a week. Their car is there if they need it, but mostly they take the subway or walk.

I’m sure there’s a sermon illustration here somewhere.

After all, our relationship with Jesus Christ ought to be at the center of our lives. We Christians belong to the Lord (Romans 14:7-8), and everything we do–whether at work, or at school, or at home with the family, or on vacation, or out with friends–we do for him and his glory (Colossians 3:23-24). We should rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18a).

Yet, how often do we treat our Christian faith like it’s a parked car in Brooklyn? It’s something we use once or twice a week. Or when all else fails. But most of the time, we rely on our own wits, or other things, or other people, to get us through life.

What about you?

I hope that Hampton United Methodist is a place where we disciples are learning to depend on Jesus, and trust in Jesus, more and more. Join me in praying that it will be.

2 Responses to “Alternate street parking in New York and our Christian faith”

  1. Grant Essex Says:

    An even more contemporary parable would be about Christians who treat their faith like Uber. They don’t even bother to buy the car. They just call Uber if they need a ride and avoid all the inconveniences of the commitment of ownership.

    Got a little crisis going on? Call Uber Jesus.

    • brentwhite Says:

      O.K., but if they don’t “possess” the car at all, should they properly be called “Christians”? 😉 But I get your point: nominal Christian faith is a scourge, and nominal Christians treat Jesus like Uber.


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