Some people enjoy reading books, big thick books, books whose Russian authors have names longer than most of the books I read. In the books I read, the name Fyodor Dostoyevsky would be considered three complete chapters, that of Alexander Solzhenitsyn an anthology.
I don’t begrudge those individuals who are fond of big books with few if any pictures and who are capable and interested in discussing what they read with other likeminded erudites. Me, I lean more towards the literary genre known as “autocollants actuelles” which Google Translator tells me means “modern bumper sticker” (MBS). The short , pregnant-with-meaning statements on MBS’s often guide me to wisdom and knowledge and offer up a world of understanding and insights just waiting to be unpacked by an inquisitive mind.
Caution must be exercised, however, because there does exist a cheap, tawdry sub-genre of MBS; the literary equivalent of grocery store romance novels found between the chips and dip and soft drink aisles. This kind of cheap trashy bumper sticker says things like “My son is an honor roll student at Jefferson Middle School” or “God, Guts and Guns.” About the first, who really cares about the spoiled nerdish brat, although it does show the parents are at least bright enough to have determined the gender of their child. The second trashy MBS, if nothing else, shows a mastery of English vocabulary, at least of three and four letter words and the ability to recognize that today is brought to you by the letter G.
I tend towards appreciating the deeper meanings ensconced in the non-trashy MBS’s. Deep things like “Life is hard and then you die.” Or my current personal favorite: “God’s original plan was to hang out in the garden with a couple of naked vegetarians.” These MBS’s, both essentially true, convey deep meaning and should be discussed by people with names like Nigel and Hortense, or Percival and Honoria, who sip wine and nibble cheese as they stand around in small clusters with wrinkled brows, stroking their chins and saying things like “I say there” or “ jolly fine observation there my good man,” or “ be a good chap there.” If you are smart you always have to have a “there” somewhere in your sentence.
Actually (and I say this with furrowed brow and my index finger and thumb on my chin), bumper stickers do have a lot to tell us about our values and beliefs. The short clever statements sometimes do reveal who we are, what we believe and what we hope for. “Life is hard and then you die,” is not all that unreasonable of a philosophy. Life is hard and, yes, every last one of us will die. What we make of this life while we prepare for the next are things we need to discuss while sipping wine and nibbling cheese. How do we make this life as fulfilling as possible while investing in the next? Since we can’t really understand this life, much less the next one, we need an outside source of help from someone who can actively help us negotiate both phases of life; someone who has gone before us marking the trail, someone who has been there and done that. My choice of an MBS to help me live now while I prepare for tomorrow? “Jesus: Servant, Savior, Sovereign.”