Life Compass
Keeping You Pointed in the Right Direction

Drive Thru Dilema

When I was a kid in the early to mid 1970’s a trip to McDonald’s was a treat. The closet one to our house was almost an hour away in the City of Schenectady. There were two. The one we went to was inside the Mohawk Mall. I can still remember the aroma of heat lamps and mustard.

By the late 70’s there was a McDonald’s in my hometown. Before we had the Golden Arches we did have a Burger King. But before the King was flame broiling those burgers the place was called Carrolls. My earliest memories of time spent with my grandfather were on Fridays when he would pick me up from Kindergarten. We would go to Carrolls and I would get a hamburger and french fries. That was a big deal.

We would go inside. I can still see the rolling script of the Carrolls name across the front the store, the round red & orange lights hanging down from the ceiling, and the swivel stools at the counter.

It wasn’t until the late 1970’s that a new breakthrough would make fast food even faster… the drive thru! I can remember the A&W drive in where the food was brought to the car and we ate off trays attached to the frame of the car doors. My kids think Sonic invented that. Oh well…

But the idea of sitting in your car, ordering to go, and having it handed to you through a window was revolutionary. My father would get frustrated because you could never understand the person on that “box” talking back to you. The technology was crude, but the idea was gold.

Yes, drive thru orders got screwed up. Usually you didn’t discover the mix up until you got home. Then you had two choices: go all the way back or just eat whatever they gave you.

It was also apparent that in order to keep the drive thru moving …. food left a little longer under the heat lamps than corporate policy permitted was handed out through the window. The cure… order your burger without something on it or something added to ensure a fresh burger.

It was fast. It was progress. It saved time. Families on the run gained mobility. But something else was lost… personal touch.

You talked to a box and a nameless, faceless hand gave you food out of a window.

Families ate in cars on the move and not at home. More activities were added to daily life because now we could multi-task. Soon computers, cell phones, and texting would make communicating faster. Again, much has been gained. But something else has been lost.

Now, we can eat, drive, text, and twitter AND never have to have personal interaction with another person in a face-to-face or intimate way again.

Yes, we have gained. And we have lost.

We don’t know how to interact with people. Even churches are facing this same challenge. They have gotten faster and more efficient but less intimate. Come, be a face in the ground … get a fast food spiritual meal … and then get out and on with life. You’re busy.

What are we running from? Most of our busy-ness is motion and energy spent convincing ourselves we are important … we have things to do … and have no time. Are we running from God? Maybe. Are we running from people? I don’t think so.

I think we are running from ourselves. We are running from our own mortality. The more technology we buy into the less connected we actually are. We’re busy texting, tweeting, and posting our daily lives on Facebook.

Drive Thru life doesn’t require introspection or self evaluation. It allows us to keep moving … be busy … so busy you don’t have to think or be alone with your thoughts or conscience.

It makes us lazy and overweight. We consume processed food and never stop long enough for it to digest. We have elminated the process of preparation. No more cooking and preparing … order by numbered meal, drive 18 feet, and PRESTO … dinner is served.

In so doing… we’re not really living … we’re existing.

Jesus said in John 10:10 “I have come that ye might have life … more abundantly.” That’s not existing … that’s living!

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