Posts Tagged ‘road rage’

Where in life do you experience the most conflict?

On the job with passive-aggressive subordinates or insensitive supervisors?

In the neighborhood with barking dogs and mischievous students?

At your church with loud worship bands and unfriendly ushers?

In your home with lazy kids and an uncooperative spouse?

How about on the road?

My wife and I just returned today from a little trip to the Revolutionary War sites of Concord and Lexington, both in Massachusetts.  We drove about 60 miles each way.  (I’m serving a church in New England for a few months.)

In the short distance we traveled, we met some drivers who caused some conflict.  Let me draw some parallels between these drivers and certain churchgoers.

First, some drivers … like some churchgoers … are always driving in the slow lane.

Six days a week, I drive 21 miles up and down Interstate 93 here in New Hampshire.  The 93 features two wide lanes and excellent road surfaces.

Some drivers stay in the slow lane … not because they’re going the speed limit, but because they’ve chosen a speed that’s comfortable for them.

I hate driving behind those people.

Some churchgoers are like this, too.  They want life at church to go slowly.  They especially resist change.

They prefer to find their place on the road, put their life on cruise control, and force everyone else to pass them.

I don’t blame church attendees for feeling this way.  If they wish to camp in the slow lane, that’s allowed.

However, some slow laners swerve into the fast lane on occasion … not for passing … but to obstruct faster drivers.

I’ve seen staff members try this trick … along with board members … musicians … youth leaders … and seniors.

They want to keep the church from changing too quickly, so they do their best to slow everything down.

Rule-of-thumb: if you want to travel at a leisurely pace, stay in the slow lane … and let others pass you by.

Second, some drivers … like some churchgoers … are always pushing you from behind.

This afternoon, as I drove from New Hampshire into Massachusetts, a woman came racing up behind me in the fast lane and placed her car nearly up against mine.

Such driving is characteristic of people with road rage.

I was already going plenty fast … and we were at a place on the highway where there are several miles of turns without straightaways … and I couldn’t get into the slow lane.

My wife was so bugged at the woman … who was smoking … that my wife turned around and stared at her to get her to back off.

But she didn’t back off.

After I got over, the woman passed me going at least 90 miles an hour.

Some church leaders … especially pastors … have a habit of pushing people from behind as well.

Instead of leading the sheep, they drive the sheep.

“Read your Bible!  Join a group!  Deposit your tithe!  Use your gifts!  Come every Sunday!  Share your faith!  Pray without ceasing!”

All good counsel for believers.  It’s the way the pastor does it that counts.

If he’s doing it for his own purposes, that’s manipulation.

If he’s doing it to help others grow spiritually, that’s motivation.

The driver who kept pushing me didn’t know me and certainly didn’t love me … especially when my car bore a California license plate.

And when a pastor drives his people, one suspects he doesn’t know or love them very well, either.

Rule-of-thumb: follow leaders who know and love you … and get as far away as possible from the others.

Finally, some drivers … like churchgoers … want to occupy the same space at the same time as you do.

We were preparing to merge tonight from Interstate 95 going east onto Interstate 93 going north … and there was a lot of traffic around us.

As I tried to merge into the slow lane about 1/2 mile away, I couldn’t do it because a driver was going very slow.

So I sped up … and just as I planned to get over … an unbroken line of cars merged into our lane from Interstate 93 going north.

It didn’t look like I could get over in time … but I did … barely … after loudly lamenting the fact that some engineer made a mistake by putting a freeway on-ramp about 1/8 mile from a freeway off-ramp.

Conflict occurs in churches when two parties want the same space at the same time.

The children’s director asks for and receives permission three months ahead of time to hold a special event in the youth room on November 20.

The youth director never notices … assuming he’ll always have use of the room.

On the morning of November 20, he walks into the youth room only to find the children’s director decorating the room for her event.

The youth director goes nuts.  That’s his room!


Or here’s another scenario.

The young moms group meets every other Thursday at the church from 10-11:30 am … but this month, they decide to have a potluck lunch after their meeting … without telling anybody.

All the moms bring their favorite dish and place it in the refrigerator before the meeting.

While they’re meeting, the leader of the seniors’ group walks into the kitchen to take out the food for the seniors’ luncheon … and finds piles of unauthorized food blocking her authorized food instead.


Sometimes conflict at church just happens.  It’s nobody’s fault.

But sometimes, it’s the result of poor planning … or faulty communication … or a way too aggressive attitude.

Rule-of-thumb: plan your moves early, signal your intentions clearly, and move into daylight boldly.

Last month, my wife and I drove 3,200 miles across America.

We encountered some terrible roads (especially in Oklahoma), some awful weather (especially in Missouri), some horrendous drivers (especially in Massachusetts), and some costly toll roads (especially in New York.)

But even though I experienced conflicts on the road, I quickly forgot about each one.


Because driving has been second nature to me for more than four decades.

When we learn to practice what the Bible says about resolving conflicts, they will become second nature for us as well.









Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: