Can I have a witness?

I just enjoyed a few rare daytime minutes alone with my husband (thanks Lauren!) out in Pasadena. As we were walking past the Fuller Seminary student parking lot, Doug made a comment about the collection of hulking SUV’s, the smattering of luxury vehicles, and the presence of lots of shiny, new, good-looking cars. (Are we the only ones who struggled financially to get through seminary???) We asked ourselves this question: should our parking lots be a witness? Should what we drive somehow speak to or represent what we believe about God and creation and the kingdom? Should Fuller’s parking lot, or those of our churches for that matter, look any different from the parking lots at Houston’s or The Paseo?

Or is what we drive “gospel neutral”?


  1. There were quite a few a days when I drove a really nice car to seminary classes. … Of course it was your mom’s car. Mine didn’t work that day.

  2. Great question…and a sticky one.

    Why would I indulge in a hulking SUV? Status symbol? Because I can? Because everyone else does? Because I live in an area only accessible by four-wheel drive? Because I want it?

    I think the why makes all the difference in the world. I can hardly justify a ridiculous and frivolous expense in light of others’ poverty if (a) I care about others and (b) I don’t really need the thing I’m spending all this money on.

  3. I don’t believe what we drive is “gospel neutral.” As Adam rightly alluded, it often is a reflection of “why” of our lives. Others see this and therefore it is a truer reflection than our words.

  4. I like what you are both saying about the “why” being the issue, and I think I feel like for many of us it is simply an unexamined issue. A few members of my church community drive really, really old cars, and they make plenty of money and could afford much nicer options. I feel like every time I see them pull up to our worship gathering or our tutoring center or the grocery store, they are communicating something about their priorities. I also happen to know how much money they regularly give away. In our church membership covenant, we promise to: “live simply so as to practice generosity.” So it is not only when we choose away from what we don’t really need (in the face of the millions of dollars spent by marketing firms to try and persuade us otherwise) but instead devote ourselves (our money, attention, joy) to the things of the kingdom that our witness is so great

  5. Thanks for bringing it up. Even if there are legitimate “whys” for people to be driving so many SUVs, it does need to be explored and reflected upon. For myself, I drive a used Saturn SL-1.

  6. Erika, Right on! I live on campus, so my families one car (a minivan) is surrounded by some nice vehicles… that could go both ways, if you have the money better to by something that will last …. BUT

    If the gospel is about redeeming creation, perhaps the more gas your car drinks, the more anti gospel it is… just a thought for people who spend 80k on a 10 mile per gallon hummer…

  7. perhaps it is someone’s last string of control.
    “I don’t have a lot of money, i can’t own a home, i have to take loans, but i can drive a nice car…make me feel like i have it all together”
    perhaps it makes us feel like we are more apart of this hollywood culture…
    it is funny how we will put ourselves in debt for a simply apperance

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