Engaging Culture

Look the World in the Eye: The Road Trip 2010 with Phil & Kathleen

OK – so I tweeted that Kathleen and I were driving from Nashville to LA in a pickup truck and we got such a big response, I thought I’d fill you in a bit.  At Christmas, we bought our daughter a used Prius, so she needed to sell the pick-up truck she’d been driving for the last couple of years. (Keep in mind she’s a roots music banjo player, so a pickup is perfect.)  But it had so many miles on it, it wouldn’t be worth selling, so we thought we’d just drive it back to LA and use it for hauling stuff at our office at Cooke Media Group.  So after the NRB Convention, we loaded up and headed West.  We haven’t done that drive since college, and here’s a few things we discovered:

1.  Christians still have poor taste.  All the “Repent!”, “Jesus Saves,” or “The End is Near” signs are pretty drab from a design perspective.  You’re supposed to be telling a life changing message, but you do it with a boring sign?  Not cool.

2.  Casinos are everywhere!  I had no idea there were so many casinos on I-40.  Trust me, we didn’t defeat the Native Americans.  They’ve defeated us.

3.  Lots of “Adult” stores out there on the highway.  We saw more billboards for – well, you know.  Icky all around.

4.  Visitors steal 1 ton of petrified wood from the Petrified National Forrest a month.  The forrest is being decimated by tourists.

5.  Best highways?  Tennessee.  Worst?  Oklahoma.

6.  We spent a lot of time searching for a Starbucks.

7.  Most important, I discovered that we need to spend more time looking at the world at eye level.  Technology makes us think we’re connecting, but too often, we spend most of our time at 30,000 feet – only seeing life from a distance, or Twittering from the margins.  But we need to remember that real connection happens eye to eye.  The waitress at the diner, the BBQ cook, the highway patrolman, the park ranger – all have fascinating stories when we take the time to look.  I’m not too eager to do this trip again, but I’ll never forget what I learned from meeting people I would have never crossed paths with on Facebook.

..and did I mention I don’t want to do it again?


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  1. So, do you have another story to tell about that highway patrolman? I’d like to hear that one…

    I took the Act One class a couple of summers and REALLY wanted to drive from Virginia, but I was low on time and was driving a very undependable car, so I flew. But, it’s on my list of things to do before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

    Thanks for the Road Trip Report.

  2. Proposed Bumper Stickers:

    On SUV: My TV Preacher flies a BIGGER JET than yours does.
    On Junker: I believed… here’s what I received!
    On Jeep: Honk if you love Sarah Connor!
    On EuroLuxCar: No, I didn’t get it by: FAITH, would you believe: WORK?
    On micro-car: I miss my HUMMER!
    On Toyota: I’m not speeding officer, my throttle is stuck!
    On Taurus: In case of rapture, this bull won’t be full of anything!
    On Country Truck: Most Folk Fly-Over this Country, but God’s Walks Among Us in it!

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