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James R. Stout

Vroom! Vroom! 4+6=2

            Most likely there will always be cars that are intentionally loud. When it comes to the cars of today, things have changed since I was a kid. They were definitely louder when I was a kid. Not obsessively so, but the design of exhaust systems and engines was completely different. I remember sitting on the front porch of my grandparent’s farmhouse and you could hear a car or truck coming from a long way off. They weren’t roaring with loud exhausts though. It was mostly just the sound of a typical engine and the ebb and flow of rpm’s as the driver drove down the dirt roads. The same as it is today, he would have to slow down for holes and washouts only to have to speed up on the smoother parts of the road. It got to where you could tell what kind of vehicle or, at the least, what kind of engine the approaching vehicle possessed. In those days, a great many of them were small 6-cylinder engines. Perhaps a Chevy 250 cubic inch “in-line” 6-cylinder or, if the owner sprung for the beefier models, perhaps a small V-8 283 cubic inch, 327, or 350. My father was a “Ford Man” in those days and one of the reasons was because he said that Ford vehicles were quieter than Dodge or Chevy. Given his extremely sensitive hearing (he had incredible hearing all of his life and even at the age of 93), I’m not surprised that he could hear things that mere mortals couldn’t!

            But we would sit on the porch and you knew a vehicle was coming from a mile or more away. I’m sure that some of that had to do with there was nothing in the way such as buildings or city noise to block out the sound. But, by no means was that the whole story. I live here in the country within a mile of the old farmhouse. If anything, it is quieter here than it was when I was a kid. Many of the houses that once dotted the landscape are gone. When I sit on my front porch, I mostly hear birds and the sound of the wind in the trees. When it comes to cars or trucks though, I can’t hear them like we did when I was a kid. The technology of automobiles has improved greatly in the last 55 or 60 years. Frankly, it’s a little unnerving how easily a vehicle can show up at my place and I don’t hear it until it’s at my entry gate. And that’s only if I’m sitting on the porch or outside. I don’t hear them at all (except for the occasional county road grader or a tractor with a big diesel) if I’m in the house. I’ll admit that part of that is because I have double-pane windows for additional insulation, but that wouldn’t have stopped me from hearing cars back in the old days. Today’s cars and trucks are very quiet compared to those older vehicles. My brother-in-law drives a 2015 Chevrolet 1500 Z71 truck. I can be sitting on the front porch and not hear him coming until he reaches the front gate. There was a time when I could have thrown a rock that far. Alas, my throwing arm isn’t quite what it once was!

            Sitting here thinking about this subject made me think about how stealthy life in general has become over the years. Especially in the way of letting your beliefs be known. Political correctness is what they call it and it’s an insidious thing. We’ve all been forced to install extremely quiet mufflers on ourselves. The truth be told, if you speak your mind about a given subject, then you’ll likely be labeled for it and the only people with loud exhausts today are people who point out loudly how bad you are for thinking a certain way or having a belief system that they deem politically incorrect. Even in this blog entry I’m having to think hard about what I will or won’t say about the subject. Why? Because I might say something that offends someone who will then start the labeling and make vicious attacks (definitely a double-standard these days) on my character. But you know what? I’m getting old enough now and my time on this earth is growing shorter by the day, that I’m caring less and less if what I believe offends someone. For that matter, why should they be the only ones offended by a belief? Why is it OK for them to be offended by my being Christian and NOT ok for me to be offended by their openly love for evil? I actually had someone on Facebook send me a link for a magazine article by someone I’ve never heard of that claimed all Christians are racists. That’s nuts. And what’s racist anymore? If I disagree with someone who happens to be black, then I’m labeled a racist. That’s nuts too. The truth is I do not judge anyone by the color of their skin. It’s a person’s behavior that I judge. And that judgment isn’t always merely my opinion. Not hardly. I go with two specifics from the Bible. First, the 10 commandments. If they offend you, then you are in for a rude awakening someday. If they seem to be overly wordy or hard for you to grasp (which I can’t see how a reasonably intelligent person couldn’t) then Jesus himself whittled the 10 down to just 2. The first 4 commandments deal with our relationship with God. The remaining 6 deal with how we treat each other or our relationship with each other. Jesus made it easier to understand. In Matthew 22:37 He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” He then stated in Matthew 22:39, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

            In the end, if you exhibit behavior that violates these commandments, then don’t be surprised if I’m not onboard. If it offends you that I’m not onboard with you, then I have one word for you. Tough. I love God and while I fall short at times, I really do try to follow what Jesus said. But I’m going to be one of those old cars. I’m not going to be quiet about my belief in God and my love for Him. You’re going to hear me coming from a long way off. If that offends you, then that’s your problem. It doesn’t mean that I’ll be rude to you or break one of those commandments simply because you don’t believe in them. No, I’m going to do my best to treat people the way that Jesus said that I should, but I’m also not going to let anyone shut me up when it comes to my belief in Jesus. Vroom! Vroom!

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