“McFarland, USA” is inspired by a 1987 true story, in which an unlikely band of inexperienced, under-equipped, young Latino runners with exceptional determination rise to become cross-country state champions under the leadership of their coach, Jim White. Classic lowriders are featured in “McFarland, USA” in several scenes.
Lowriders are custom cars fitted with hydraulic jacks that allow the chassis to be lowered almost all the way to the road. Lowriding is often stereotypically depicted as gangster-related in films but the reality is that these car clubs are essentially about family and community and the cars are lovingly treasured.
In one scene in the movie, the community comes together to help Jim White (played by Kevin Costner) put on a Quince (15th birthday) for His daughter. One of the traditions is that the young girl who just celebrated her Quince then takes a ride around town in a Lowrider. When White’s daughter asks if it is ok for her to take a ride, White asks the driver, “You will ride slow, right!?”
The man owning the Lowrider responds, “That is how we ride, Low and Slow.”
Brothers, this is how we ride. We ride Low and Slow.
This is our posture. Low and Lowly. Philippians 2:8 says, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” We follow the lowly one. We follow the lowly, found in human form, cross-bearing one.
Refuse the glory that comes from man. Refuse to make a name for yourself. Refuse to be in the spotlight. Refuse glorying in titles, positions, and paychecks. Refuse being known.
Brothers, ride low.
Be ok with waiting. Embrace waiting. Love waiting. Isaiah 40:31 says, “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength…” Waiting does not mean apathy or carelessness. Waiting is trusting. Trusting in His power over our own. Trusting His power over our strategies. Trusting His power over our methods. Trusting His power over our wisdom. Waiting on the Lord allows the Spirit to deepen our dependence on Jesus and produce in us fruit that lasts. There is a metric Jesus counts, but it often doesn’t look like the metrics we count.
Refuse quick metrics that give the illusion of success and ride slow and allow the Spirit to produce what Jesus counts…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
These things are not cultivated from a platform or pulpit overnight. They are cultivated over time in the secret place with the door shut. Waiting in the presence of Jesus.
Brothers, ride slow.
Meeting a Lowrider.
I recently came back from Monahans Texas, a small town in West Texas, where my father grew up. I was attending my grandmother’s funeral. My last living grandparent. The pastor who presided over the service is a Circuit Rider. Serving more than two churches in West Texas for over 20yrs, traveling over 200 miles on a Sunday to preach the Gospel. And he preached the beautiful Gospel that day. This pastor spoke of the Christlike humility and prayer life of my grandmother. He reminded me that I come from a long line of Lowriders.
Not many people will ever know this pastor’s name as he is tucked away in far West Texas. He is a Lowrider.
Ben Gonzales, M.Div.
Area B Mission Strategist