When you get to the car lot, you have a decision to make—which way should you go? If you turn right, you enter beautiful show rooms with sparkling new cars that deserve their luxurious placement on plush carpets and under glass roofs. It seems a shame to think about actually driving these cars. Here the sales people are enthusiastic and chipper, the rooms are bright, the bathrooms tidy. The cars seem at ease too. They are an elite family, all with the sleek, beautiful lines of a particular brand.
If you turn the other way, toward the used side of the lot, you come to cars that do not sit inside glass houses. They’re left outside, exposed to the elements. Far from being an elite family of automobiles, these are mutts, cars with a variety of names. They look sheepish and awkward, even orphaned, with sad scratches and faded seats that may have survived a family of five and a couple of dogs.
Lillian Daniel is senior pastor at First Congregational Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a board member for Interfaith Worker Justice, and author of When “Spiritual But Not Religious” Is Not Enough (Jericho Books).