Christian Group to Pay Off $10K in Strangers' Parking Tickets
The Associated Press reports that a Christian group in Boise, Idaho, will offer those guilty of traffic violations a special Christmas gift. Last year, the Grace Gift Parable giveaway paid off almost $7,500 in unpaid parking tickets for passerby at City Hall. This year, thanks to area businesses and various churches in Treasure Valley, the group hopes to give away up to $10,000. Organizers plan to gather on Dec. 12 in front of City Hall and see what happens. Montie Ralstin, Jr., the pastor at Boise Valley Christian Communion, says the event is to help people understand that even though they've made mistakes, forgiveness is available.
Try as I might, I can’t help seeing this sort of thing as lame. It seems that some Christians must spend their time dreaming up these cutesy ideas to try to bribe people into thinking about their spiritual condition or the Christian faith. But the more I think about such things, the more desperation-driven they appear.
What about the cross as a way to help people understand the forgiveness is available? (Not trendy enough, I suppose.)
I suppose there is some remote gospel analogy in paying off parking tickets for people. (Christ pays the penalty for our sin and so forth.) But the analogy, even if it exists, breaks down at a key point. We must come to God in faith and repentance in order to receive forgiveness of sins. I’m not sure how you work that into the parking ticket scheme.
It’s as though many have decided that the gospel has lost enough of its “power of God to salvation” that it needs some help. We supply that ‘help’ with a slick marketing scheme, we execute that scheme, and then we “gather in front of City Hall and see what happens.”
Well, I suppose it’s their money, and I hope it makes some parking ticket recipient think about God’s forgiveness. But I’m sorry to say that, on further review, it still seems lame.