I have loved muscle cars ever since I was 16 years old. I think that this love affair began when my uncle Dick came to visit us back in 1982 with his yellow 1970-something Chevy Camaro. My uncle was not perfect but he was a cool dude. During one of his visits he caught me gawking at his car again and he tossed me the keys and asked me if I wanted to take his Camaro to work that evening. I was shocked and excited! I still remember driving my uncle’s car with my Burger King hat on and thinking this is living, as I cranked Eye of the Tiger on the after-market AM/FM stereo with the windows cranked down. (1) If you have never had the chance to drive a muscle car before, take my word for it, you have to try pretty hard not to feel cool when you pull up to a traffic light and the car is shaking under you as the engine growls and the the metal beast struggles to be patient until the traffic light turns green.
I’ve been admiring cars ever since taking that yellow Camaro for a stroll. Over the years I have always made a point to tell folks, “cool car man,” every time that I pull up to a gas pump next to a muscle car or while admiring the classic cars parked at the Old Town Greenwood Dog N Suds. I know that Christians aren’t supposed to love or covet anything in this world because it is passing away. I also know that Christians have to be very careful not to let “things” take the place of Christ in our hearts. But dang, if you are a man with a pulse, I’d venture to say that your heart quickens a little in the presence of a mint condition 66′ Mustang GT fastback, 68′ Chevy Camero or 71′ Hemi-Cuda. I’m sorry… these cars are just cool. (2)
My sweet wife has been so patient with me the past 26 years over my addiction to cars. Imagine my joy a few weeks ago when she approached me and said, “Len, I know that you have been working hard and that you would love to have that car. Just go get it.” Needless to say I prayed about it, and within 4 hours of this conversation, a slightly used jazz blue 2013 Dodge Challenger SXT was sitting in our driveway. I love the car but I love my wife even more.
When I told my friends Ron, Mark and Andrew about the big purchase they were genuinely happy for me. Ron has a boss Mustang GT, Mark has a killer Dodge Challenger and Andrew has a sweet Pontiac Solstice. These friends all love cars but they love Jesus more.
Ron has recently published a devotional for men entitled 40 Manly Devotionals: You’re a warrior, live like it! (3) In a devotional titled “Car Guys,” Ron says, “Every passion that we have gives us the opportunity to connect with like minded people. We have the chance to be friends because of our shared joy. That will eventually lead to the Gospel of Jesus coming out in average, everyday conversations… Some car guys will never enter a church but they will talk to another car guy, who happens to value God above all else. Enjoy your passion but don’t forget your mission. God made you a car guy for a very specific reason, to reach other car guys.” I love that.
As I have been enjoying my new Challenger and thinking about Ron’s comments an idea popped into my mind. Wouldn’t it be cool if a men’s ministry at a church picked up a classic muscle car and restored it together to build community? Wouldn’t it be cool to see fathers and sons hanging out with other fathers and sons working on cars and learning and doing life together? Wouldn’t it be cool to see folks who are not interested in attending a “traditional” church event come to see what was going on because the chance to hang around guys and work on cars was just too attractive? Wouldn’t it be cool if guys who only dream about owning a classic muscle car someday would now have access to drive one through this group? Wouldn’t it be cool if this group showed off their car restoration project at car shows together? Wouldn’t it be cool if word got out about what the men’s group at this church was doing and other churches decided to do this too and a friendly competition broke out to see who could make the coolest hot rod? Wouldn’t it be cool for men who love cars, but don’t know Jesus, to see that men who love Jesus are actually pretty cool? Wouldn’t it be cool if the news about this group got out into the community and someone who has a car sitting collecting dust in their garage decided to donate the car to the church because, truth be told, they are never going to get around to restoring the old girl. Wouldn’t it be cool if some of the area car dealerships sponsored the men’s ministry group and donated money for parts and tools to enable the restoration? Something to think about….
(1) Don’t be too impressed my memory is not that good. I had to Google the top songs of 1982 and I just picked this song because I liked it then and I like it now.
(2) If you want to see something cool check out the new 707 HP Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYol7m3WjGQ
(3) For more information see http://manlydevotional.com