Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Would you rent a car to this guy . . .



Last week I wrote a blog called "The outside matters too . . ." Read it then come back and finish reading this post. (My wife would scold me for not saying that nicely and for not saying please . . . good thing she doesn't read my blog.)

One of the blogs that I visit on a regular basis is Carlos Whittaker's blog Ragamuffin Soul. I shamelessly link to him from my blog in hopes of giving me more credibility. He is clever and insightful. I love his blog. I want to meet the guy. I look up to him. I think he is on the cutting edge of where worship is going. He is a very genuine and authentic guy. He loves God and has a passion for ". . . bringing the body of Christ into an authentic worship experience." Carlos is on staff at Buckhead Church near Atlanta, GA as a Service Programming Director. Yet in spite of all of this - Enterprise Rent-A-Car would not rent him a car. Why? I believe it could be because the outside matters too.

You can read his blog "Dear Enterprise Rent-A-Car" for yourself to get the first-hand account.

Carlos is a guy that is anything but white and nerdy. He has a shaved head, is covered in tats, and looks more like what the TV portrays as a gang member than a good trustworthy citizen. But Carlos is exactly the kind of guy you can trust with your money, your family, your home, and your life - HOWEVER - his outside appearance communicates a completely different message to most people.

I am not saying that Enterprise Rent-A-Car is right in turning him away - I am saying that Carlos really should expect it. Not that it is right or just - it is unfortunately just the way it is.

Keep in mind that this was a business that turned him away - I'm willing to bet that a significant number of churches in the US would not welcome him with open arms either if he just walked in the door to one of their services. Man is just stupid like that - God isn't. God sees us for who we are - and knows us better than we know ourselves. Man takes a look and immediately forms an opinion - for better or worse.

I've experienced it myself with being fat - some people see me and immediately think I'm lazy or can't keep up. They are wrong of course (well unless it is a foot race) - but the opinion is formed before I have spoken a word or they have observed what I can do. I've offended in this way too - met someone, formed a negative opionion about them, and later learned how wrong I was.

Carlos (like he will ever read this) don't worry - Enterprise Rent-A-Car has ticked me off a time or two as well and I'm about as white and nerdy looking as you can get. Granted they didn't leave me stranded - but they have created some stress in my life. Personally I won't use them anymore as long as there is a choice. Oh - and you are welcome at my place anytime.

And by the way - that is the Apostle Paul's conversion tattooed on his right arm.

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