“So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall.” – 1 Corinthians 10:12
The Rev. Peter Marty, the editor of the Christian Century, shared a wonderful reflection on windshields. In the piece he compared the relative size of automobile windshields to the size of the rearview mirror in our cars. Clearly one is bigger than the other. The point, understanding the past is important but we are not meant to drive backwards. We are meant to move forward in life.
I thought of his windshield/rearview mirror analogy when a friend recently shared an insight into a community he is a part of. He said that the community routinely fails to recognize and respect women in the same way it does men (particularly large, older men with deep voices). My hunch is that the majority of people in his group don’t see the disconnect. Most of us see ourselves as fair and unbiased. It’s not easy to see, much less accurately put our finger on, communal bias. This is what made me think of my rearview mirror.
My car has a blind spot detector embedded in the rearview mirror. This would have been a handy tool to have when my parents were teaching me to drive. It beeps whenever a person or object is in that pesky area I cannot see right next to my car. It has saved me from crashing into other vehicles. It has kept me from hurting others and from embarrassing myself. It is simple tool that reminds me I am inescapably limited and there are things of great importance in the areas I cannot see.
How much more honest and full would my life be if I had a blind spot detector for daily life? How do I bring this tool into my relationships and into my work? Friends, I am convinced that this is a critical role of the church community. The church is built upon Christ, the embodiment of truth (John 14:6). The only way to walk the way of Christ is with authenticity. Self-deception does not lead to love, it cannot take us to Christ. The scripture says that as a church we are encourage one another, we are to speak the truth in love to one another, and we are to point each other to Christ. By the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, could we be each other’s blind spot detector? Could we be brave enough to own our faults, to hear the testimony of others without judgment, and to ask God to guide us as a community full of grace and truth?