Church signs.You gotta love ’em, unless you’re like me and you hate ’em.
I mean, when I drive by at least 87% of them, my reaction is to roll my eyes and run my hand down my face. Which is not a great thing to do when you’re driving, no doubt. Those things are dangerous!
So many are mercilessly cheesy, if not downright stupid or mean or even theologically wrong or misleading, which is the worst option. Every time I see one that’s just ridiculous, I think about the fact that someone actually thought that putting that up was a good idea. They probably Yahooed “clever church signs” and scrolled through a list, smiled at one particular one and trotted out on their mission. Maybe in their translation of the Bible John misspeaks and says “They will know you are my disciples by your clever church signs.”
(Matthew 12.36 anyone? Church signs are gonna have it rough on judgement day…)
There is one church in the Upstate that usually always has the most ridiculous things on their sign, and many of them are “No you didn’t…” mean. (This church was actually the inspiration for “that church” in Every Bush Is Burning if you’ve read the book). One time I drove by it and their marquis said, “Contemporary Worship Is Religious Fiction.” I think I spit out my coffee or something.
I’ve never been in their church, but when I imagine their service I think about people in their Sunday best sitting around sucking on Sour Patch Kids. They don’t exactly seem like a group of people you’d want to invite to your next party if you know what I mean.
And then over Thanksgiving Kristi and I were driving by this church and, before I tell you that I have to tell you this: it’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Clements family (for reasons that are unnecessary to share). Let it suffice to say that our hearts were heavy driving down the road that night, and I wondered what sort of sage advice “that church” would have for us this time around.
And to my great surprise, the marquis read:
“Do Not Despair, God Reigns Over All”
And my heart nodded and said, “Yes, yes He does.”
For the first time in my 27 years of life on planet Earth, I was encouraged by a church sign. I did not believe those words would ever come out of my mouth.
(You know what they say about blind squirrels…)
So churches, if you must keep your marquis, please for the love of everything good and holy in the world say things like that–things that are good and simple and true, with a remote possibility of encouraging someone, and not things like “Our Church Is Prayer Conditioned”. The world will be a better place because of it.
(I just thought about the question of whether God’s ever used a tragically cheesy thing like “Our Church Is Prayer Conditioned” to encourage someone and I’m sure He has, but that makes my head hurt and I can’t think about it anymore. I need to lay down. He also uses car wrecks to bring people closer to Him, but we’re not supposed to drive around looking to total someone are we?)
Well, that’s a wrap for this ridiculous and rambling post…I’d love to hear about your all-time favorite church sign if you want to leave it in a comment below.
Also, you’re welcome for this Google image search of “ridiculous church signs.” This was another great one I’d never seen before: