Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why I Drive a '97 Sunfire

I suppose there are many reasons I drive a rusting '97 Sunfire.

I inherited it from my mother. It runs without a car payment. It gets me where I need to go. But as the years tick by, I become increasingly aware of its downsides.

Strange noises from any and every inch of the vehicle that others notice when they drive along. (I have for the most part blocked them out, now that my ears are so used to them.) It leaks antifreeze and stuff. And so it goes into the repair shop often for a new water pump, a new belt, a new this, a new that. It is beginning to feel like we are pouring money down the drain.

Then there are the obvious aesthetic challenges. 

A beautiful shade of....rust.

The rusting passenger door. The creaks and groans. The short that makes for a lack of good volume control on the stereo. The one slightly-cracked light on the back, the bumped up license plate that says "beep-beep" on the front. The way the fuse on the horn went out for awhile, giving me no ability to toot in those times when a horn would come in handy. This is not my dream vehicle, not by a long shot.

Still, at this very moment, it's sitting in my garage. And it still gets me where I need to go—while dispensing a healthy dose of humility in the process. Many times when I drive it I think about how God is providing my transportation for the day (give us this day our daily rusting Sunfire), and that the Almighty is watching for me to be grateful, even in this. I suppose God is smiling as I pray, "Thank you, Lord, for getting me safely where I need to be." (Aging cars as a way of breeding dependence on God. Yes, he's definitely smiling!)

But beyond all this, the real reason the Sunfire still gets me where I need to go is because we've decided to opt out of the American way. You know—the get-a-car-every-so-many-years-and-put-it-on-credit mentality. We've gone that route in our pasts, but we're trying to do something different this time around.

We started a savings account specifically for a car, and we're hoping that come spring or summer we'll be buying a vehicle outright. When we do purchase it, we're praying for a different mindset: a determination on how we can minister to the people in our lives through using the new vehicle to provide transportation while getting a good MPG that will allow us to steward our money wisely. Meanwhile, the Sunfire has decided to run for another day.

And yes, Lord, I am grateful.  

*Turns out there's a Christ-centered movement to drive junkers! No kidding. It all started in 2006 when a guy named Mike Foster sold his fully-loaded sports car to drive a junky 1993 Toyota Camry. As an act of rebellion against consumerism and in an effort to give more, Mike enlisted the help of his friends. There's even a junky car club bumper sticker. Check out and let me know what you think. Or follow Mike on twitter.

What about you? Does your faith impact what you choose to drive? How?


  1. The movement to drive junkers started awhile before 2006 - albeit not with an organization or cool website or bumper stickers - for the reason of freeing up more resources to take the Good News as well as clean water, etc. to those who need it most.

    Glad to know about the cool website and bumper stickers!!!

  2. Hi Kaye: So does that mean you drove a junker or are driving one? Would be quite interesting to see our churches lay down this challenge, wouldn't it?