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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jesus takes the wheel

On Sunday I showed the congregation a very funny, and instructive clip from the movie Talladega Nights. The clip shows a fictional NASCAR driver named Ricky Bobby saying grace before a meal. A theological debate erupted during the prayer, which made for a good launching place for my sermon.

Last October I visited an old friend, Ray Luther, who is the pastor of a Society of Friends (Quaker) congregation in High Point, North Carolina. Ray grew up very near High Point, in Randleman, North Carolina, which is home to the Richard Petty Museum. Richard Petty may be the most famous, and most recognized NASCAR driver of all time. (Incidentally, he raced his first race at the CNE grounds in Toronto.)

My friend Ray brought me to the museum, and this afforded me the opportunity to glimpse the important role stock car racing has had in the culture of that area.

Ray told me that just a few months before he had taken part in an event called the "Faster Pastor". This is a stock car race in which all the drivers are pastors of local churches, who borrow cars, while the owners, and presumably, the church members pray for their success and safety on the track. I am including a link to a video clip from the High Point Fox Television affiliate.