My usual form of transportation is a Jeep Wrangler. It’s one of those vehicles that has a tradition attached to its ownership. It’s an unwritten rule that, if you ride around in one of those babies, you’re supposed to give a wave to anyone who goes by in another Wrangler. This is also true of motorcycle riders, and I recently learned that it’s true of Mini Cooper owners as well. If this keeps up, we’ll all be waving at each other in no time.
I find it interesting to see who all lives up to the tradition. I reside in an area of the country where there are lots of Wranglers tooling around, so I’ve done a considerable amount of observation over the past couple of years. The results of my observations are about what one might expect.
They May Not Be Invested
I try to wave every time if possible. Then I intently peer at the approaching driver to see if he (or she) will wave back. About a third of the time, that doesn’t happen. For whatever reason, I don’t get a return wave. That could be for several reasons. They might not see me, they may be distracted, or they might just not want to play nice. I’ve noticed that a high percentage of women don’t bother. My guess is that it’s their boyfriend’s Jeep and they’re just not invested in the tradition.
For the most part, the rest of the drivers give me a wave (including some from the female persuasion). The tradition holds for them. Some are quite enthusiastic about it, some flash the peace sign (do they still call it that?), and if the top is down, many will wave above the windshield.
Then, there are those who are so intent on upholding the tradition that they practically cause a head-on collision attempting to get my attention. I appreciate their zeal, but a little more caution might be the better part of valor there.
I have to say, I like being part of the club (so to speak). There’s something about being friendly with people you don’t know. Not only that, in this case I’ll probably never know them. It’s quite freeing. No drama, no pretense, just plain affability. Admittedly, it’s really shallow, but that seems to be how many of us live our lives these days.
It’s Not Biblical
That, of course, is really un-Biblical. The Biblical model is based in community. The community we see fostered and endorsed in Scripture is of a very profound nature. A simple wave wouldn’t cut it there. The early Christians were called upon to persevere, but they were never asked to do it alone. They were urged to continue meeting together and to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost a lot of that comradery in the church. Often, we’ve been reduced to ducking in and out of a Sunday service as we give the Jeep wave. Heaven help us. We’ve become ships in the night.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]