At the DMV all are welcome—the church could learn a few things.
The other day I had to make a dreaded trip to the Texas Department of Public Safety to renew my drivers license. This is of course only after an attempt to renew it online only to find out I am one of the lucky ones that MUST renew in person. Hooray for me!
So one Tuesday afternoon I decided to head into the local DMV, I walked in waited in line for 15 minutes before receiving a number saw it was more than 100 away from the numbers currently being called and I promptly walked out. How could this be? How could they not have known I was coming in on this day to renew my license?
Well my license was indeed expired and I needed to update my address anyways. So the next day I go to try again. I walked in got my number and sat down in a room filled with people. Tall people, short people, old people, young people, middle aged people and even a couple of brand new people (babies). People of different social classes, economic classes, racial classes, ethnic classes, religious beliefs, non-religious beliefs, republicans, democrats, independents, hairy people, bald people, english speaking, non-english speaking.
I had finally found it! The greatest place on earth, right here at your local DMV. Of all the places I have been and searched for the one place in America where everyone was equal. The local DMV doesn’t even discriminate against the reason you are there, only the order in which you showed up is the only defining marker of a person in the DMV. No amount of money can get you seen quicker and no amount of complaining makes the process faster or even better.
Unfortunately I find it sad that the DMV is the place of great equality. As a faithful follower of Christ I have always dreamed that the church can be the one place where we can walk into with all of our brokenness and feel undeniable equality. However studies show that just isn’t the case. There are rich churches, poor churches, racial churches, and non-churches. The categories of churches is as rich and long of a list as there are describers of people.
In the world today we have found a way to divide ourselves up better than we have figured out a way to come together as one. Maybe the DMV isn’t the most efficient place but it is a place of equality. The church should look to the DMV as an example that yes, all of the different kinds and types of people in the world that exist can also sit side by side each other, talking and sharing their lives while waiting (and waiting, and waiting, and waiting) to be called on.
My hope is the church can be a beacon of equality and grace as a living Body of Christ in the world.
The following are four tips to help your trip to the DMV be successful and enjoyable.
First, get there early. No matter how early you get there expect there to be a line already formed. It is much like people camping out for Black Friday at Toys ‘R’ Us.
Second, make sure you have all of your required forms. You can call ahead or look online, but make sure you have them all with you. There is nothing like waiting in line just to get told you don’t have the right forms or documents, and then you have do it all over again.
Third, bring something to do. Bring a book, a magazine, a crossword, or a new app on your iPhone. The wait may not be hours but it could be a while and unlike doctors offices there is no magazine rack of things or play area for children.
Finally, show up happy. Bring with you a good mood and treat those who work there nicely. They get it, they know no body is happy in that place because the wait is forever and there are so many requirements for things. However if you show up happy and treat the workers nicely and with respect because we have no idea what kind of day they are having.
photo: burnbless / flickr