They just passed a law in Bensalem, Pa., making the use of handheld cell phones in cars illegal. No more talking, emailing, tweeting, texting (heaven help us). On the radio call-in talk shows people have expressed displeasure because: "Who the heck knows where all the boundaries of Bensalem are? How can we be sure if we are on a street that's safe to use our Blackberries while driving? There are no signs indicating city limits, so it's not fair that we should get stopped and fined when we are not aware of being in Bensalem, etc."
It's an embarrassing illustration of the way that we mortals tend to get indignant and self-righteous about all the wrong things. Let's see now: In one scale you have the death of little children from texters running red lights; on the other scale you have the infringement of my right to know I'm in Bensalem. Jesus noted the odd asymmetry of values on several occasions, when icy-veined, letter-of-the-law types objected to healed lame men carrying their mats home on a Sabbath, and to hungry disciples gratefully snipping off wheat berries in a field on the same. By the books, it was "work," you know.
I pray a lot while driving, and my lips move. (I owned a 7-Eleven Special briefly but lost it months ago.) I hope I get pulled over for illegal cell phone usage; then I can tell the officer what I was really doing. Maybe plant a seed. I remember Samuel's mom, Hannah (1 Samuel 1), getting flagged by the high priest Eli for moving lips in the temple precinct. Eli thought she was drunk but she was praying and crying.
My son who lives in the heart of Philly says it's no good now with everybody packing a cell phone and moving their lips as they walk down the street alone: "You can't tell who the crazies are anymore." Personally, I find the whole development liberating. I can talk to God all I want while cruising down Easton Road and nobody cares anymore. Between the tweeters and drunkards and prayers, it's hard to tell who is crazy.
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