One of the best homiletical (preaching) rules of thumb I know of originated with my wife Cyndy. She calls it the “So-What Factor.” Here’s how it works: At the end of a sermon, the listener asks the question, “So what?” If the question hangs painfully out in an ecclesiastical vacuum without an apparent answer, then the sermon probably missed the mark. In other words, words are useless unless they lead to action. It’s not enough to talk the talk, if the talk does not lead to walking the walk.

            In light of this rule, I decided to use my space this month to raise our consciousness regarding a singular place where we people of faith are challenged to live out what we say we believe. And, lest there be any misunderstanding, this preacher is preaching as much to himself as to you.

            The place I have in mind is the streets and roads of Dallas . To be honest, the drivers around here are atrocious. I never cease to be amazed by otherwise nice-looking people (they probably are very nice in most other circumstances) who become utterly transformed when they are behind the wheel. Let’s hear a loud amen.

Particularly frightening are soccer moms in SUVs, talking on their cell phones while careening through parking lots at 40 miles per hour, and hot dogs of my own gender in oversized pickup trucks with over-oversized tires. Preach it, brother.

I was particularly amazed the other day when I was making a proper left turn at an intersection by Tom Thumb at Preston and Forest . The driver coming the other way wanted to go straight, so I waited. The other driver, Starbucks latté in one hand and cell phone in the other, went straight, but on the right side of my car! What are you thinking?

            Note that I am not talking here about road rage, which is a whole separate and serious problem. The drivers I refer to are decent, otherwise law-abiding citizens who forget everything they ever learned in kindergarten, let alone church, on the roads of Preston Hollow.

            So here’s my “So What Factor.” What can you do about it? Pick up a whole bunch of copies of this magazine, cut out this column, and put it on the windshield of the next unthinking motorist who cuts you off, then uses his or her cell-phone-free hand to send you an ugly gesture. It may not make any difference, and, then again, maybe it will; but you’ll feel better.

            And if one day you find a copy of this page on your windshield, you will be led to repent of all your highway sins, maybe even to turn off your cell phone.

            Let me hear an amen. See you on

Preston Road


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