Summary: Learning how to become strong for the off-road times of life from 1 Timothy.

August 31 and September 1, 2002

2 Timothy 3:1-9

A Case For Seatbelts and Air Bags

How many public warnings do you think you have either seen or heard since you were a little child? I am not talking about the warnings you got from parents, grand-parents, pastors or Sunday School teachers that were aimed at one person or a small group of persons. I am talking about general warnings that are published for the masses. There have always been warnings. If you are from the World War II generation there were lots of warnings like, “Loose Lips Sink Ships.” If you were young in the early fifties you heard, “Beware the Red menace.” But it seems that I grew up in the age of warnings and they have gotten progressively pervasive as I have gotten older. When I was little I remember feeling strangely comforted by the picture of a friendly brown bear named Smokey. Remember his warning? “Only You can prevent forest fires.” Even one of my favorite songs that I always ran to the upstairs bedroom at my grandma Stratton’s house to play every time we visited was essentially a warning. (SINGIN) “If you go out to the woods today, you better not go alone, If you go into the woods today be ready for a surprise. For every bear that ever there was is gathering today in the woods, today’s the day when Teddy Bears have their picnic.”

Those warnings are intended to be rather innocuous. They are meant to inform as well as protect. Remember, I said I have been raised in an era of warnings? In my teenage years it seemed like there was a new warning published in the paper almost daily about another commonly used substance or additive that caused cancer. It was almost comical to me at that time that everything seemed to cause cancer in white mice. I even tried to convince a high school teacher that I had done my own study and had concluded that cancer was actually caused by white mice. All we had to do was get rid of white mice and we could cure cancer. I got the same response from Bernie Whitehead, he thought it was a joke. But here we are thirty years later, we still have cancer and we still have white mice. If I could just get someone to give this one a shot… well I’m ready to book a trip to Stockholm and collect my Nobel Prize in medicine. We try apricot pits, tree bark, crystals and chanting, why not try getting rid of white mice?

Then warnings seemed to pick up after high school. Today you can’t seem to purchase any product that does not contain a warning label on it or is covered with warning labels. Have you bought as ladder lately? One I got recently has twelve separate warning stickers. I decided after I got it that it was far too dangerous for me to attempt to clean out my gutters all by myself so I’m having them taken down. They seem to always be clogged and running over anyway. I just bought a blow dryer a few weeks ago for those who had gotten baptized to use to dry their hair before they came back into the worship service. There were four warning labels affixed to the cord. The warning labels were longer than the cord. There was a warning booklet and the idiot warning on the side of the blow dryer(that’s right, today there is always an idiot warning on every item as well.) The idiot warning on the blow dryer said, go ahead and say it… “Do not use this appliance in the shower.”

I agree with a comedian I heard several years ago, “If you are stupid enough to use a blow dryer in the shower, well you deserve to die and besides it would improve the gene pool immensely, what do we need to be warning these idiot people for?

In 1965, the federal government passed legislation requiring that all vehicles in the United States sold after July 1st of 1967 were required to come equipped with front seat driver and passenger seat belts. There has been a steady progression of laws passed to protect occupants of motor vehicles. Rear belts in 1970. 3 point shoulder and hip restraints in 1973 for front seats and lap belts for rear seats. First passive restraint rules were written in 1980. Three point restraints for all seats in 1982. Then we got car seats for infants, booster seats for toddlers, driver side air bags, passenger side air bags. We got the warning about child car seats and passenger side air bags. Warnings and more warnings and we seem to be less and less safe. I wish there were some way we could get back to the three warnings my mom gave me standing on the curb on 8th avenue as I got ready to cross the street and walk the twelve blocks to Collett elementary school in 1961.

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