Cumberland Times-News

May 1, 2008

Take an old-fashioned test drive ... in church

David Sandvick, Columnist

Lately, a television commercial is proposing that we change the way we buy a new or used car. No longer should we actually go to a car dealer, kick the tires or take it for a test drive.

Instead, we are given testimonials of people preferring to purchase their car via an Internet site that takes you on a video test drive. With a simple click of a mouse, you can watch someone else drive the car around on a test loop.

One lady says, "You can see the front of the car and the back!" Another says, "It was just like being there." The last fellow says, "I'll never buy another car the old way again."

Oh, please! Are they telling me they'd prefer to buy a used car that they've never seen, or smelled, or touched? How can you tell how the car handles the road from watching a video? Or how would you know if the car ran over a skunk and they couldn't get the smell out? The only fun in the purchase of any car is the test drive and now they're telling us we won't get to do that!

Some people are convinced that watching a TV preacher on Sunday is the same as attending a church. They prefer to have no interaction with others, not to sit in uncomfortable old pews, and to have no flesh and blood minister to inquire to their spiritual well-being.

There's a reason that God wants us to go to church and not just be the church. It is so that God can work through us to be the answer to someone else's need. It is the opportunity to encourage others, pray for others and set an example of Christ-likeness that you cannot do at home on your sofa.

If you're not attending church, get out there and kick a few tires and become a part of one.

As for car buying, I'll take the old fashioned test drive ... pedal to the metal!

David Sandvick is pastor of First English Baptist Church in Frostburg.