Rules of the Road, Part 3
“Hippies for Jesus”
You can only pass those going slower than you.
based on Sweet’s Quantum Spirituality 177ff.
Jackson Snyder, July 25, 1995
Dedicated to David Lee Cross “Decent Dave”.
2 Kings 9:20 “Jehu drives like a madman.”
Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Do your mission with all your might!”
John 1:35. The next day as John stood there again with two of his disciples, Yahshua went past, 36. and John looked towards him and said, “Look, there is the lamb of Yahweh.” 37. And the two disciples heard what he said and followed Yahshua. 38. Yahshua turned round, saw them following and said, “What do you want?” They answered, “Rabbi”, which means Teacher, “where do you live?” 39. He replied, “Come and see”; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him that day.
How’s My Driving?
How’s my driving? Dial 1 801 605 1715. When I ask, “How’s my driving?” in the context of preaching, I mean, “How’s my walk? How’s my life? How’s my devotion? Is Yahshua Messiah becoming a vital force in every area of my life, or am I limiting him to an hour or less a week? Am I growing into his likeness, or am I content to be molded into a bozo?” Call and leave a message on my answering machine. If I don’t like it, I’ll just erase it. Now let me ask you, “How’s your driving?” Are you pressing the speed limit to make “Almighty Time,” or are you stuck in the slow lane, savoring noxious exhaust fumes?”
I wonder if you’ve ever driven Interstate 95 on the south side of Miami in rush hour. There’re nine lanes of traffic going each way. I was in the slow lane there on several occasions. Lanes 2 through 9 move at break-neck speed. I like to pass out of the slow lane, but one time my Chevette couldn’t accelerate fast enough to make an opening. That gave me plenty of time to notice what kind of vehicles stay in the slow lane ahead and behind.
There was a John Deere tractor with a “slow-mo vehicle” sign on the back. There were several overloaded trucks (probably stuffed with illegal cigarettes). There were some junk cars, overheating cars, cars with flat tires. I couldn’t see the “honey wagon” but I could smell it. There was a “Big A” fertilizer truck, a log truck and a pipe truck, all piled high as the Tower of Babel. There was a semi crammed with chickens, spewing feathers everywhere. Then there was a Yugo - a car manufactured to be driven only in rural Yugoslavia. Man, we were going so slow, and my air conditioner was blowing so hot.
When you’re stuck in the slow lane of life’s rush-hour traffic, it’s not always easy get up to speed and clear into the passing lane. Seems there’s only one place you can go to escape, and that’s down the exit ramp, when you find it. But one thing’s for sure - you can’t pass as long as you remain in the slow lane - with the honey wagon. (And it so happens that this is our (third) rule of the road – You can only pass those going slower than you.) In the slow lane, you learn to stay right in line.
In our Bible story, we find famous men before they found fame. First is a youth named John - an apprentice fisherman, just a boy who expected to inherit Dad’s business. Then there’re Andrew and his brother, Simon - both fishermen, also.
These three share a hobby – religion. They’ve been going to “The Baptist” revival in the dust dome and have become curious about spiritual matters – curious but not serious. After all, they’ve got it made just doing what they do – they don’t have to exert too much effort in their lives - they’re pretty good boys just getting by – they’d never hurt a fly – they even go to church sometimes.
They don’t make much money, but who cares? What more does a hippie need than a roof over his head, a hippie girl, a tie-dyed shirt, a pet goat, a little cash, a trip to the Dead Sea once a year to mellow out – that’s the way to live. John, Andrew and Simon – working nine to five on their own boat – content to do that forever. They think they’ve got it made. And in the annals of mediocrity and slow-lane living, they do.
Next there’s Philip, a one-time hippie famous for wearing Osh Kosh b’Gosh overalls. He tuned in, turned on and dropped out back in the 60’s. His motto is “Forward, but never straight.” He let his hair grow long. He liked to talk about world peace. In fact he burned his draft card when he was only 13, and once picketed the Navy Base at Haifa with a liberal, no-nuke group.
That was before Philip got behind the wheel of a Lexus sedan. After that ride, Philip cut his hair to the horror of all the good Bethsaida hippies. You see, his parents bribed him with the promise of his own Lexus if he’d get his MBA in investment banking. He did so in three years, learned how to make some money, got his Lexus, made some money in hog belly futures, then he wanted more money. He went from hippie to yuppie in just a few years.
Now, Philip’s working for King Herod in procurement, investing the King’s money and awarding his construction contracts to the highest bidder. Philip’s investment portfolio’s on course. He’ll be a millionaire, especially if hog bellies hold out a few more seasons. Yet his net worth in dollars has already exceeded his gross worth as a human being.
Finally, there’s Nathanael: Philip’s old yeshiva buddy. Ten years out of high school, Nathanael’s still pretty “cool.” He’s still into philosophy, pop psychology and eastern religions. He’s still letting his “freak flag fly” after all these years (that is, he hasn’t cut his hair). He still says “groovy” and “far out, Man,” and “peace in Vietnam” and “what’s happnin’?” Everyone knows where to find him, too, still lying under the old fig tree contemplating his navel, or maybe sitting on a branch, combing the nits out his beard or playing “Heart of Gold” on his harmonica. No telling how he eats.
John, Andrew, Simon, Philip, Nathanael: five men on some kind of slow lane to the future. What are they driving? John’s got a tricycle; Andrew’s in a broken-down Rivvy (Riviera) with the headliner hanging around his ears; Simon’s destroying the environment in his muffler-free dump-truck; Philip’s in a brand new Lexus he can’t yet afford; and Nathanael - he doesn’t drive because he wants to save the robins. Besides, Nathanael ain’t got no mon, son. So he standing on the berm of the slow lane, thumb out, hitching a ride.
All five think they’re doing what they were meant to do, happily crippling along in the slow lane, enjoying the smelly gray smoke of Simon’s exhaust, not knowing that the only place they’re really headed is down an exit ramp into a fiery ditch known as Gehenna.
This is when a mysterious stranger named Yahshua of Nazareth flies by in a Chariot of Fire. After that, things begin to speed up for our Bible boys.
The famous televangelist known only as “The Baptist” is running a big revival out on the Jordan. Our three hippies are there killing time. The Baptist shouts into the microphone as he points out Yahshua in the crowd, “Hey! Check out this man, dudes! He’s the ‘Lamb a G-d’! He’s the guy I been talkin’ about for years who’ll die for your sins, ya bunch a scumbags!” The crowd hushes, then roars. Young John’s really paying attention now! He’s still naive enough to take the word of a televangelist! John’s known since kindergarten about the “Lamb a G-d” -- that when he flies in, all things’ll change, the world’ll change, and the Kingdom of David will fall out of the sky to the earth. John gets excited. He doesn’t know myth from truth like his older friend Andrew! John hasn’t become completely jaded by reality yet!
Like the child he is, John believes immediately –the Holy Spirit of Yahweh falls on him and brings his spirit-man alive. John hadn’t smoked a thing, but he feels better than if he had. “I gotta tell somebody ‘bout this right now!” he cries as he runs through the crowd.
He finds his fishing buddy Andrew. “Andyman, did ya hear what The Baptist said? That guy’s the Lamb a G-d! Look – right over there!” Andy doesn’t really share the boy’s enthusiasm, but he wants to play the man. “Well, boy -- if that’s the Lamb a G-d, we better go check ‘im out.” They push through the crowd to Yahshua, who’s surrounded by now. Andrew, wanting to impress his young compadre, taps Yahshua on the shoulder. “Hey, man - what’s happnin’. Are you really the Lamb a G-d?” But the Lamb doesn’t answer; he just looks into Andrew, then into the boy. “I said, what’s happnin’ dude? Where ya crashin’ tonight?” The Lamb of G-d replies, “Come see.” Andrew then looks into the eyes of the Lamb of G-d, and something foul begins to rush out of his heart. “Far out,” croons Andrew.
John and Andrew are surprised that Yahshua allows them to crash in his tent. Andrew’s now convinced that this is the Lamb of G-d he’s heard about all his life, not so much because Yahshua said something – but Andrew feels good in his presence – clean like. “Nobody’s ever made me feel like this, bud,” he says to Young John. “I can’t just sit around here all night. I gotta go tell somebody.”
Andrew exits to rev up the Rivvy, and he drives home faster than ever before. He finds his brother Simon there, and says: “Hey, bro, we found the Lamb a G-d! We really did! Come on, man.” Simon’s engrossed in LaVerne and Shirley on TV, but now he’s curious as a cat because Andrew never gets excited about anything. Simon crams in the Rivvy with his brother, and the chassis scrapes bottom as they move out.
On the drive back to Yahshua’s tent, they see Philip all dressed up like a junior executive in his Lexus going the other way. Andrew shouts at him, “Hey, bo. We’re gonna go see the Lamb a G-d, man! Come on. Truck on over with us! We’re crashin’ in his tent.” But Philip thinks, “Those boys are still hippie dippies, as always. Man, some things never change. They’re probably havin’ a flashback!” Then Philip says, “My bag’s packed, man: I’m headed east. Peace!” and Philip flips the sign and drives on.
When Simon and Andrew get back to Yahshua’s tent, the old Rivvy backfires so loud that the camp crowd dives for cover, thinking the homicide bombers have come. Andrew and Simon jump out of the car, go right in the tent, and in the light of the campfire, Simon looks the Lamb of G-d in the face, and he sees something behind the Lamb’s eyes. He sees love, I guess. It’s definitely not that pretend kind that Hippies call love. Simon believes in love.
Well, whatever it is, it pours out of the Lamb’s eyes, and the Lamb says to Simon: “I know you, man. You’re the rock in the whale’s belly, like Jonah – you know what I mean.” Only Simon knows what the Lamb’s talking about. The Lamb then says, “From now on your name’s ‘Rocky Peter’ You’re the Rock who’s been regurgitated from the sticking belly of a sea monster.” Simon likes the idea, and sees great possibilities in the Lamb of G-d, though he’s not converted yet like the others. He follows out of curiosity – and a groovy kind of love he doesn’t understand. He feels like he ought to tell Philip again.
The group leaves the tent together now for downtown Bethsaida. They hit the circuit in Andrew’s smoking Rivvy to find Philip again. Philip’s on the street now, and he sees who’s coming, and groans, “Oh no! It’s the ‘Lamb a G-d Squad’ again!” But before Philip can get away, the Rivvy screeches to a halt, and Yahshua calls from inside the car, “Philip, I’m going to Galilee, ma boy. And I want you to come along!”
There’s the sound of silence for a few moments. Philip comes awake at the Lamb’s voice. There’s something genuine there, unlike the words of all the execs he’s been rubbing shoulders with lately. Philip comes to, and mutters, “Man what kind of trip was that? I’ve been called by Yahweh, haven’t I?” The Lamb smiles and shakes his head. Philip responds not to Yahshua, but to John, Andrew and Peter. “Hey, we gotta tell somebody right now! Nathanael! He knows about religion and stuff. He’s a college man, too, like me. Come on, dudes, let’s get it on! Let’s see Nathanael!” (Philip didn’t know that Nathanael flunked his second year at Judas Maccabeus Community College (JMCC)).
Philip find Nathanael mellowing under the old fig tree, playing “Horse With No Name” on his harmonica. Philip introduces Yahshua, “Hey Nat – stop that rot for a minute and listen. We found the Lamb a G-d. Really. I mean it! Look, he’s right here in the car. Yahshua of Nazareth.” Nathanael once had a nasty girlfriend from Nazareth they called “Cross-eyed Mary.” Nathanael informs Philip, “Nazareth’s a bad trip, man! Nothin’ good comes outta there! ¿You nuts?” Philip says, “Come on in and see!”
Then Yahshua hops out of the car. With just a word or two, the Holy Spirit does a head-trip on Nathanael’s noggin. “Man.” he thinks, “Could all my longings and searchings be finished at age nineteen? I found it all when I found him!” Nathanael has spent his sensitive years mulling, seeking, asking, knocking – then instantly, in a Eureka Moment, he finds it – or it finds him. “My Master and my g-d,” Nathanael cries, as he raises his hands in the air and bows. And now he’s thinking, “Who can I tell! Who? I know! I’ll tell that Cross-eyed Mary in Nazareth.”
Again, like the others, what causes Nathanael to profess faith with such incredible speed will forever be a mystery. Yet within the course of one day, Yahshua of Nazareth, the Lamb of G-d, Savior, will lead these boys out of their decrepit, broken down cars and into his Chariot of Fire, saving them out of the mediocrity, death and heck of the slow lane, and saving them to the onrush of all those crazy “Jehus” (Yayhoos) exceeding the speed limit on I-95 to Heaven.
Have you ever heard the term “ crazy Jehu?” It comes from Appalachia; a crazy Jehu drives really fast. But it originates in the Bible – 2 Kings 9:20. Jehu was a young charioteer who wanted to be Yahweh’s king. A lookout on the wall of Jerusalem reported Jehu approaching in his chariot. The watch told them, “The driver is Jehu – and he’s going like a madman.” But Jehu wasn’t mad. He simply wasn’t geared to PLOW the SLOUGH of SLOW. He spent his life “in the fast lane” – his mission was to spread the message of spiritual rebirth in his land, and he had to do it really fast, before it was too late. He had to tell everybody! So he heralded from the fastest vehicle that existed – the horse-drawn chariot.
We might say that Yahshua was a crazy Jehu; he drove his life like a madman, leading a bunch of crazy Jehus into the excitement of the Heavenly I-95. Like Solomon before him and Jehu now, Yahshua’s motto was, “Wherever you’re going, go as fast as you can; time’s running out” (Eccl 9:10).
This was our founding father John Wesley’s mission statement as well - he too was a “crazy Jehu.” Like that radical Buddhist monk in the 60’s, Wesley set himself afire. The writer Sam Johnson complained that he’d tried to talk trivia with Wesley many times without success, because Wesley never stopped in one place long enough. He was too fast because he was ablaze!
Methodists are the spiritual children of two “crazy Jehus” – one who lived a very short life because he Sacrificed himself for us (The Lamb of G-d), and one who lived a very long life because death couldn’t catch him (John Wesley). Both knew that speed didn’t necessary equal danger. If anything, the real danger comes from “poke-alongs” in the slow lane, oblivious to or contemptuous of others passing them up on the highway of everlasting life.
A local bumper sticker says, “I’m a poke-along. When I get old, I’m moving to Kentucky and driving real slow.” To that I say, “Go to Kentucky now!” Too many people are like the unconverted disciples –poking along through life, wasting time in “low gear,” swept by prevailing winds, unrevived, lethargic, the living dead - Zombies for Jesus - looking forward to even greater idleness in their later years – their “retirement.” Such are engaged in activities that neither please Yahweh nor edify self; they piddle time away as if they had any to spare - insulting those who whiz by without looking.
The genius Albert Einstein wasn’t a hippie, but he sure looked like one. Einstein was a “crazy Jehu.” He revolutionized our concept of time by studying the speed of light – 186,000 miles per second – at the speed of light. Einstein revealed his true mission in 1911:
I want to know how G-d created this world. I’m not interested in this or that.... But I want to know his thoughts; the rest are details.
Part of Einstein’s theory of relativity stipulates that the faster a being moves, the slower time goes. Time actually stops when moving at the speed of light. Speed does more than shrink our world; it actually expands it from the perspective of time. Did you know that, according to Einstein’s Theory, if you travel around the sun in your Chariot of Fire at the speed of light, you’ll return younger than when you left, to a time in the past? Imagine if such technology existed to us: those who own the Chariot of Fire might never grow old! Yet that’s also the physics of our faith – in the Lamb, we will never die; we will never even grow old.
Did you know that people who exceed the speed limit for the sake of Heaven live longer and fuller than those who piddle. (By the way, if you didn’t know, “to piddle” is defined as, “to slowly excrete a liquid by-product.”) Don’t piddle around, friend. Life may be everlasting, but your mission is now. Although the Lamb lived only 33 years on this Earth, he didn’t piddle around. A thousand books couldn’t contain what he accomplished, the Gospel tells us! Such activity has to do with control – the fast lane can be your lane if Yahshua’s in your driver’s seat – if he is in control.
As their relationship grew and their common activities expanded, our disciples literally couldn’t keep up with Yahshua. He wore them out! They were young, but he was restless. But they kept up with him because he remained in control. Whether speed is good or bad boils down to “who’s in control!” Who’s at the steering wheel of your old, oil-leaking Rivvy? Who’s in charge of your family, your mission in life, your church? Who’s controlling your destination? Who’s issuing your thoughts right now? Does the bogyman have his foot on your clutch?
Are you like the unconverted Philip – constantly busy with selfish, hording, critical and godless piddling? Or are you like the unconverted Nathanael, wasting your time in the slow lane with entertainments, gossip, fantasies and worthless music (like “Horse With No Name”)?
Are you like the unconverted Andrew, deceiving yourself into thinking that though you’re not the best, you’re good enough – slothful as you are with the gifts you’ve been given? Heaven forbid! If you’re like these men before they met the Lamb of G-d, then you’re no match for you competition the devil, whether you’ll acknowledge it or not. Your race is the rat race and your game is the rat-in-a-maze game. Get out of the rat race and into the right race. Get into the fast lane, dude.
The Gospel ends up with a race between two of our ex-hippies, John and Rocky. That “crazy Jehu” Yahshua couldn’t even be slowed down by death. And this cross-eyed Mary Magdalene, who became a “crazy Jehu” herself at the instigation of Nathanael, ran and reported to John and Rocky that Yahshua’s grave was empty. This story, found in John 20:3-8, is meant to be read fast, man, because everyone’s running, running, running.
John 20:1-5. Mary ran to the tomb while it was dark and saw the stone had been rolled away. So she ran to Rocky and the beloved disciple and said to them, "They’ve taken away our Master, I don’t know where.” Rocky ran with the other disciple to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Rocky, reached the tomb first and bent down and saw the cloths lying on the ground, but didn’t go in. Rocky caught up and went on into the tomb and saw the stuff lying on the ground. Then the other disciple, who got there first went in; he saw and believed.
John and Peter ran because they were used to speed. Yahshua had been driving their pace car the last three years, and they’d been out of the honey wagon lane for quite some time now. They ran, ran, ran, man. “Gotta tell somebody! Gotta tell somebody! Gotta run and tell somebody!” No longer are these guys hippie dippy slow lane boys, but purpose-driven men of Yahweh.
The younger, having seen his visions, beat the older man to the grave. But the older, wiser man, having dreamed his dreams, was the bolder to enter. They both saw that the Lamb was no longer dead after all. For all his speed, he hadn’t run himself out or worked himself to death. But the empty grave made confirmed believers of them –and they soon found out that the Lamb was still driving in the fast lane of a higher reality – guiding their missions now and forever.
How’s Your Driving?
So, disciple: how’s your driving? Are your actions that of a piddling, fruitless or self-centered person? Or have you determined to move out of the slow lane of the godless honey wagon and into the fast lane with your Lamb of G-d, the King of Israel, the Savior of the World? Will you be one of Yahweh’s charioteer, and “drive like a madman” as Jehu did? If so, then “Follow me,” he commands. And you respond to the call: “I gotta tell somebody!” “I gotta tell somebody!” “I gotta tell somebody.”
Prayer: Father, we come to you today, bringing thanksgiving and praise. We know that somebody told somebody else who told somebody else who told us about the Living Messiah. You gave all those folks A MISSION beyond merely building church houses. Now we need a new and broader vision for our own lives and for the life of our assembly.
So today, let us flee the distractions of the world to seek the fresh revelation of your direction. We so want to boldly follow in the footsteps of the Master, Yahshua, and our forefathers and mothers in the faith of Yahweh.
We’ve not taken time to hear you clearly in the past. We’ve gone our own way. We’ve often failed to be the army of faith that you once commissioned. We repent of our slothfulness. We repent for putting you and your kingdom far down our to-do list. We renounce the evil that has kept us from our heavenly jobs and engaged us in worthless and childish pursuits. We desire to recommit to your way and will for our lives.
Now, Abba, grant us the desire, the courage and the faithfulness to step forth out of the darkness and into the light of the future. Mold us into the kind of believers who aren’t afraid to confront the evils of our world, do battle with them and overcome. Make us heroes of the faith, even if this means carrying a cross, so that there might be others who follow after us, and that the future might be able to say, G-d was surely with them because they went and told everybody . . .