The other day I went to a repair shop to have the windshield on my Dodge Dakota replaced. They advertised in-and-out in an hour. Which turned out to be false advertising. So, since I wasn’t getting the fast service I was promised I decided to kill some time by taking a walk in the neighborhood. That’s when I came across this signage.

I was literally stopped in my tracks. Oh the images that flooded through my mind as I pictured people pulling up to a drive-thru window to have every thing from an ear to a belly-button pierced.

“Please put your car in park and keep your seat belt fastened, now lean your head out the window and…”

“Would you like fries with that tongue piercing?”

(Turns out this is actually a coffee house as well as a puncture house, but the signage from the street said nothing about coffee.)

While, thankfully, this is not really a body piercing drive-thru, it got me thinking about just how much we have become a drive-thru culture. We want what we want and we want it now! We see it in fast food, banking, and oil changes on our cars. In Vegas you can get a drive-thru wedding. I remember seeing a sign recently for drive-thru divorce.  The internet has added to the instant culture. We can shop, bank, and order food all from our computer or our phone. We have become conditioned to “fast” and anything that is “slow” is inferior—it’s the story of the Tortoise and the Hare in our everyday lives. It was why I selected that particular windshield repair shop—in-and-out in an hour was too good to resist.

However, I don’t normally equate quality with speed. If I am looking for an excellent meal, I expect to go to a restaurant where the food will be prepared fresh to my order and I expect to wait longer than I would at McDonald’s. Things of high value; a well built home, a handcrafted piece of furniture, a masterpiece of art, are things that we would expect to take longer to create and are hard to appreciate when we are in “drive-thru” mode. My one-man show, Truth Be Told… from a Guy Who Makes Stuff Up, addresses the values of time and perseverance in shaping our lives. As an artist/performer, I have learned the value of the hard work that goes into creating art. Art done fast is almost always inferior to art that has been crafted over time (I have done both… believe me, I can tell the difference.)

As I ponder our drive-thru culture I see its impact in the church. Many churches try to blend into the culture, give the consumer what they want and do it fast. My friend Jeff Smith wrote a short sketch called McChurch which pokes fun at what church would look like if it were a drive-thru. Our culture places a high value on expediency and the church  can get sucked into that quicker-is-better race. I see it in the way we incorporate art in the church (see my previous blogs, The First Church of Youtube and The Pendulum Swings). I believe the church does need to be relevant and speak to our culture, don’t get me wrong, but some things can’t or shouldn’t be hurried or obtained on-the-go. A body piercing, a masterpiece of art, our spirituality and relationship with Christ—these are some things that take time, sometimes a lifetime!

What examples can you share of where faster is NOT better?

3 thoughts on “Drive-Thru…What?

  1. Lorie Neighbors says:

    Faster is not better when you are training someone to do a job. It’s tempting to “dump” information quickly–“there, I’ve given them the info they need”–but if they aren’t processing it like you’re dishing it out, the job will not get done properly and mistakes will be made that may take much longer to correct than if you’d trained slowly and carefully.

  2. Terri Austin says:

    LOVE this ~ so very true! And since I live near the sign/picture you posted, I must confess I’ve wondered the same thing about drive thru… The things of value matter most, but do indeed take time. Along with your already-terrific list, I would add relationships, raising a family, and the investment in each = T-I-M-E. <3


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