Dealerships

I’m sitting at the Ford dealership in Chelsea, MI. We ended up buying a Ford Expedition 30 miles from our home for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they had what we wanted for the right price.  Plus, being outside of bubble county did seem to bring some benefits, including a bit of anonymity.  There are a few times where it’s more difficult to be a Pastor and for people to KNOW what you do for a living, and buying a car is one of those times because no one wants to pay sticker price, even Pastors.  Yet for church leaders — men of the cloth — to haggle, well,  just seems unfitting.  We always preach Christ, and this call is especially vital for Pastors.  But it’s strange to say “Jesus Loves You” as well as “You must throw in floor mats for free”. To some, this may sound like “Jesus wants you to throw in floor mats for free, and to feel guilty for not throwing in free mugs for the kids”.  This is the conflict of spiritual leadership — a call to be different while  sharing the day to day functions of life with everyone else.  I’m a human being that does human things and yet I am called to serve other humans by doing godly things.  This is the bizarre dichotomy of ministry.  It also makes the whole Priest thing look pretty good sometimes.  You don’t have to worry about making an offer on a house — you live in the basement of the church.  You don’t have to worry about marital issues — you’re not married.  And you don’t have to haggle the price of a car because one is already provided.  Sure, its the 15-passenger Parish van, and everyone in the grocery store parking lot knows that you’re Father so and so from Sacred Heart, which stops you from swearing out loud  when a shopping cart hits the right side of the van, where you have the mural of the virgin mary waving, waving at other drivers on the road and the population in general.  I’d rather get my van mural touched up than have to ever buy a car again.
And here I sit, at Palmer Ford in Chelsea, waiting for them to do two things.  First, to change the oil.  That’s just basic maintenance that is given to me for  the low low price of $9.95 (plus 30 bucks in gas).  The second thing to be done today is to check a “knock” sound in the engine that shows up whenever you start it.  I’d love to think “oh, that’s what them trucks do- they knock” but I fear it may be slightly worse.  And the dealer is the first one to make it right, since the truck is still under its used car warranty.  Chances are good that, in their eyes, everything is fine and will be fine until approximately 15 seconds after the warranty wears out.
Oh, to be driving a Catholic van right now.