Warnings and Illicit Kissing On Christmas Eve
A Rabid Fundamentalist Column
John W. Cowart
Caution: this column contains -- among other things -- a warning about illicit kissing.
What would a nice, 35-years-married, old guy like me know about illicit kissing?
Well, let me tell you:
When Ginny and I were first engaged, I drove a brand new 1967, four-on-the floor (I don't think they even had automatic transmissions back then), Mustang. Bright yellow, the yellow you only see nowadays edging the cover of a National Geographic magazine.
Wow! A sporty new car and a beautiful woman.
Wasn't I something!
On Christmas Eve, Ginny wanted a few last minute things from the mall and I was proud to drive her in spite of the heavy traffic.
To turn left off the main highway into the mall, we got stuck in a monster long line of plain drab old cars which inched up a steep hill and trickle through the light one or two at a time.
Ginny’s 1st Christmas gift to me was a reproduction of Rodin’s KissWe were obviously going to be stuck in traffic on that hill for a while and since even back then I was a biblically minded man, I decided to "redeem the time".
So... whenever the line of traffic stopped, I reached for Ginny, or she reached for me, and we smooched fervently.
HONK! Honk, honk!
The guy behind me kept hitting his horn, the creep.
What's the matter with him? Traffic isn't going anywhere.
We started kissing again.
Again, he started honking.
The spoilsport. Let him find his own girl. What business is it of his what I do in the privacy of my own new yellow four-on-the floor Mustang.
The light changed. I crept forward in the line maybe three car lengths and stopped again.
Again I kissed; again he honked. He not only honked, he also flashed his lights at me!
Now, I'm getting mad. This guy is a pest, a creep, a voyeur, a busybody. I'm half a mind to...
The traffic light changed again. I inched up the hill toward the turnoff again and stopped on red to resume smooching.
The dirty so-and-so really leaned on his horn this time.
I ignored the killjoy and kept on kissing Ginny until.....
Here, younger readers should know that a car with a manual transmission requires that the driver keep one foot on the brake and the other on the clutch when stopped on a hill in traffic. If you don't do that, then your car rolls backward.
That's what I had done!
Yes, every time, I'd lean over to kiss Ginny, I had let up on both clutch and brake until I rolled backward and smacked into the driver behind, who had done everything in his power to warn me of the danger.
I did not feel quiet so sporty when I had to get out of the car and apologize to him. I felt stupid and silly ...and I discovered that I'd crumpled my own rear end (You can take that figuratively and literally.).
Now let me say straight out that as a fundamentalist Christian I have nothing against engaged couples kissing. I wish them joy.
However, I'd be a dunce if I did not learn from my own experience that when God warns me about something he's not being a spoilsport, a killjoy or a busybody meddling in affairs which are no concern of his.
If the scripture teaches nothing else, it teaches that God hates to see his children get hurt.
So he warns us.
He warns us again and again.
He blows the horn and blinks the lights when we do certain things because he can see that by doing them we are going to crumple our own rear ends.
But most of us do just like I did with that other driver, we ignore the danger signs or get peeved at the person doing the warning.
As sure as cars roll downhill when the driver is not keeping his foot on the brake, there are other rules in the universe. The rules are not arbitrary but they are absolute.
Take an easy one for instance, the Bible again and again warns us that we ought to care for the poor.
"He that hath pity on the poor lendeth to the Lord," says the Proverb (19:17).
Jesus equates our care of the poor to our own eternal destiny (Matthew 24).
Yet, the Bible also reveals a flip side to this concern for the poor.
In Leviticus 19:15, the Lord declares, "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor."
In other words, right is right and wrong is wrong regardless of the status of the person acting. Stealing the pennies from a blind beggar's cup is stealing -- and charging a few personal bucks on Donald Trump's credit card is also stealing.
And God's word warns us not to steal. Stealing makes us thieves and God hates to see that happen to one of his beloved ones. And that's just what you and I are, beloved ones of God.
As a fundamentalist Christian, I believe that Christ warned and warned us away from the sins that bring us down, defeat us and corrupt us.
Then he died to save us from the sin that has us beat. He died the death for us and rose again from that death to lift us up to where he is.
Wow! What can we say after all that?
Unfortunately, most of us don't say much. We're too proud to say thank you to God or to even repeat the warnings even those we care about most.
I suspect most other people do just like I did when they ignore the warnings and back into trouble: I fussed and fumed and blamed and then ended up driving around with my own rear end crumpled.
Nobody should live like that.
St. Paul was not speaking tongue in cheek when he linked two rules for living in I Thessalonians 5:14; he told Christians to "warn the unruly" in one breath and in the next commanded, "Comfort the feebleminded."
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