The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


June 9, 2006

Fishin' on the highways

After work last night, I turned on to the expressway that leads straight to downtown Chicago. Cars move along bumper-to-bumper, with the drivers squeezing their vehicles between others as they change lanes in hopes, mostly in vain, of getting into the fast lane (there isn’t one) or in a struggle to get over to their desired exit ramp.

While we don’t have road rage in our second (or is it “third”) city, we’re not always what you might call patient with each other, either. So it caught my eye when the beige Toyota sedan directly in front of me held back to allow a frantically signaling driver to the left of us to cut in—and, so, get to the exit ramp. And what I saw on the trunk of the car was the Jesus fish, the familiar metalic symbol flashing in the late-afternoon light. “Good move,” I thought.

Often that’s not what I think when I see cars so adorned.

And I wonder why somebody would intentionally attach the magnetic ornament to his or her car and then drive in a less-than-loving manner. Ditto, for the “other” side, those sporting the legged version known as the Darwin fish. And beyond all that, why somebody would put either symbol on their car: Do you really want to put your faith or philosophy on the line everytime you get behind the wheel? Awfully risky.

Well my wondering led to wander among “car fish” on Google where I learned lots more than I wanted—though much of it was pretty entertaining. And pretty enterprising: You can buy any variety you want from various fish mongers or at the e-bay supermarket. Best of the catch was an offering from Ebenezer Evangelical Church in Bristol, England, that is a top-ten list of things people won’t say when they see a fish on your car.

It’s hard to pick a favorite, so I’ll whet your appetitie with #10. “Look! Let’s stop that car and ask those folks how we can become Christians.”

As I said, makes you wonder what people who put those fish on their cars really think that’s how to become “fishers of men.” How about you? Have you ever been fried by the driver of a car with a fish on it? Or saved by one?

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