Dashboard Jesus

Life Notes

Dashboard Jesus

And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:8

I was listening to the NPR radio call-in show, Car Talk, when someone asked a question about his dashboard Jesus. “Should my dashboard Jesus be facing out,” he asked, “so it blesses the road in front of my car, or should it face into the car, blessing my passengers and me.” The question was intended to illicit a comical response from the show hosts, Tom and Ray Magliozzi, and they did not disappoint. They concluded that the dashboard Jesus should face into the car, blessing its driver, because attempting to bless the road ahead and everyone on it is simply too much to ask from a single, plastic, dashboard Jesus.

This is not an attempt to make light of the icons some people use as reminders of a divine presence in their lives. Similar to having a Velvet Elvis hanging on your wall, art and spiritual significance are largely individual matters. Whether it is a pocket cross, a patron saint, a necklace, or a dashboard Jesus – anything that reminds us that Jesus journeys with us is fine with me. Behind the comedy of the radio show, however, is an interesting dilemma. Assuming a dashboard Jesus actually does provide blessings, should those blessings go out to others, or should the blessings be directed toward the possessor of the Jesus. Here are my thoughts:

Being an introvert, I would likely point my Jesus inward; not because I am selfish, but because I am not terribly comfortable overtly evangelizing others. I fear I might offend someone by directing my icon in his or her direction, thereby forcing blessings on a potentially unwilling recipient. An extrovert, however, might well direct the blessings outward, less afraid of creating offense, but assuming any blessings obtained from their dashboard Jesus will be even better when shared with others.

I did not find direct scriptural guidance regarding the proper placement for a dashboard Jesus. There are, however, many references to sharing our abundance with others. My suggestion is to put your dashboard Jesus on a swivel. Point it in towards you when you need a blessing, and point it out to others when your cup is full.

Come home to church this Sunday. Your dashboard Jesus will watch over your car.

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