The Wrangler Community

No, not doggies, cowboys or rodeos. But, Jeeps. Yes, Jeeps!

I had wanted a Jeep Wrangler for many years and got my first one this past week. What I didn’t know until I began to drive one was that I had joined a club. Wrangler drivers apparently are a unique community unto themselves which is unknown to others.

As I drive my used Wrangler, I have begun to notice being noticed . . . by other Wrangler drivers. I first saw the oncoming headlights flicker. Then I began watching and hands waved at me. Even an occasionally subtle finger is raised over the steering wheel (no, not that finger). When Wrangler drivers end up at adjacent gas station pumps they automatically talk about . . . Wranglers. “Do you have running boards?” “Been four wheeling?” “Ever take the top off?”

No one told me about the club membership that came with Jeep Wrangler ownership. But, I like it.

And what is interesting is that in all probability, the only thing many Wrangler owners have in common is . . . the Wrangler. They don’t stop first to ask how much money they make, what professional licenses they hold, where they worship, are they married or committed to marriage. They don’t poll views on abortion, homosexuality or immigration first. They may get around to those topics, but those issues don’t seem to impact inclusion in (or require exclusion from) the Wrangler community.

Community is like that. When we find something we have in common which is important to us, other things become much less important.

Richard Cisik knows about that too. Rev. Cisik had been the chief lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals until he observed in a radio broadcast that without endorsing homosexual conduct he could not oppose gay civil unions if the law permitted them. In addition, after he remarked about climate change and the scientific evidence supporting the concept, his tenure at NAE was abruptly terminated.  Issues overwhelmed relationship.  Cisik hasn’t changed his fundamental views on most things religious, political or social.  On the conservative/liberal spectrum no one would consider him “progressive”.  His community expelled him because his views were not totally symmetrical with those that defined its leaders’ views on “acceptable views”.  98% congruence was inadequate.

I think I prefer the Wrangler community.  A cheap Jeep is all it takes to belong.  With Wranglers, the dialog on disagreeable matters doesn’t destroy community.


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