1996 Toyota Corolla DX

Proud to Own a Junky Car

I’ve owned a lot of cars over the years. All of them have been used. I’ve never purchased a new car. I probably will never own a new car unless I win the lottery.

2001 Saturn SW

One of my previous 2001 Saturn SWs

Since 2008 I’ve been driving junk cars. I usually buy them with well over 100K miles on them and they typically have some rust and minor mechanical issues that need to be resolved. The three previous cars I’ve owned went way past 200K miles and were still road-worthy but $200-$300 repairs every other month prompted me to sell them.

My latest acquisition (featured above) is a 1996 Toyota Corolla DX. This baby isn’t anywhere close to cherry. It’s got rust on the rocker panels and fender wells. The rear struts needed replacing because it bobbed up and down the road like a fishing boat in the middle of a hurricane. The gas tank leaks and filler neck is so rusted it will need to be replaced too. Then there’s the dirty interior that’s going to need a good cleaning. I’m also going to replace the timing belt for good measure. It’s the junkiest junky car I’ve ever owned.

After repairs I’ll have about $2000 invested into this road warrior. It will probably last me about 3 years (I hope) and then I’ll start looking for its successor. If I put the same amount of money into repairs (not regular maintenance) over the next three years it will turn out to cost me about $100 a month to own this car. Not bad when you consider the cost of a new or “certified” pre-owned car.

2001 Saturn SW

2001 Saturn SW – “The Silver Bullet” has about 214K miles on it and needs a transmission.

I never intended to be part of the Junky Car Club. I’ve always had used cars. Some junkier than others. The nastiest one I owned was a 1978 Chevy Luv pickup truck that eventually stranded me after the drive shaft flew off on the highway. Some of my junky cars didn’t look very junky like the 1982 Audi 5000 (diesel) with leather interior, power moon roof, seats, mirrors, doors, windows, and cup holder. OK, it didn’t have a power cup holder but it was a piece of detritus. It didn’t start or run reliably especially in the winter.

Owning a junky car gives me the freedom to park next to any other car in a parking lot. I’m not worried about my paint getting chipped or a shopping cart smashing into a fender. Most importantly, I have more disposable income because I’m not making monthly car payments and paying more for insurance which frees up some of my hard-earned cash for other things like charitable giving and hobbies. I even gave away one of my old junky cars.

Sadly, the “official” junky car club is no more. I signed up back in when Mike Foster was making the rounds on radio and TV shows talking about driving junkers so we can do more with the money God has entrusted to us. I wish it was still around and people were sharing their reliable POS stories. I also never got my bumper sticker. What gives, Mike?

I’m not trying to bring back the Junky Car Club. Mike Foster has moved on to bigger and better things (I wonder if he still drives a junky car?) but I would like to encourage people to embrace their junk. Share you junky car stories. If you drive a junky car tell me about it in the comments below.


Biblical Themes in Entertainment

There’s a fascinating article and video (links below) over at Gamespot about the use of Biblical themes in entertainment, specifically, Noah and Final Fantasy X. I haven’t play Final Fantasy X so I can’t confirm or deny the Biblical themes in it. The most intriguing thoughts in this Gamespot video revolve around the portrayal of religious characters:

The movie avoids evangelizing or portraying Noah as a paragon of virtue amid a world of sinners.

I’m flawed. I sin. Sometimes I have thoughts that others would find utterly reprehensible. If I’m watching a movie and the characters don’t struggle like I do, the story is ruined.

Take your perfect teeth and hair and your perfect life and shove it (I’ll let you determine where). It’s not real. Too many Christian films are like this. The protagonists don’t struggle, not really. Sure, they may doubt their faith but it’s never acted out on screen. Don’t talk about your problems. Show me your problems. Give me a reason to invest in your character even if he’s flawed.

Another aspect of Christian cinema that bothers me (while I’m on the topic) is that it often dismisses those with other beliefs. Your ideas and beliefs are invalid if they don’t line up with a Biblical worldview (whatever that is). On the other hand, Tom McShea points out in his article,

Noah lays bare its religious themes. There is no doubt what the source material is, and Noah‘s greatest achievement is how it so willingly embraces those with different beliefs.

Jesus welcomed everyone, even those who did not believe as He did. He engaged them with words of truth and life and if they still chose to reject what He said He went on His way. The people he condemned were those who thought they had a corner on the truth and misrepresented who God is. We should do the same in our own lives and entertainment.

I haven’t seen Noah yet but I plan to watch it. There’s been so much talk from Christians who support it and those who think it strays too far from the Biblical narrative. To the later I’ll say this: the movie would be really short if it stayed “true to the Bible” because Noah doesn’t utter a single word. Some creative license is necessary because there isn’t enough text to make a feature film unless you want to watch animals entering the ark for 45 minutes.

Image credit: Gamespot

HT to Dale Critchley for pointing me to the original article.

Digital ramblings of a Christian husband, father, and geek