Tuesday, March 29, 2011

(Church) Signs Of The Times

Well, to be honest, this has been a long time coming. My friend Mari, God bless her ever-loving freckled Irish heart, who listened to me rant for hours last night, finally gave me the push to put this down. So here goes.

We've all been slightly offended, amused, befuddled, bewildered, enraged, etc...at a church sign. So I thought I'd share some of my least favorites and tell why these are so detrimental to the tender heart and purity of the gospel. Now for times sake, these pictures are not the ones I took, but are all signs I have seen personally, somewhere, not necessarily on the particular church represented. And also this is not a diatribe against those churches, nor a judgment on their hearts or their theology or whatever.

Sooooo....for Mari, the daydreamer, who runs 'til she flies, and my buddy Adam whose first blog post is up for your perusal, and for the rest of you who may or may not stumble across this page and have ever blown a head gasket at one of these signs.....

Saw this one yesterday. It got me going pretty good. Geez. Where to begin. This, like so many other church signs smacks of smugness, using levity to express the most horrific of realities, that those that do not know Jesus will be forever separated from His love. Would they be so cavalier about that if it were their child mired in spiritual blindness? Argh.

This was on the back of the same sign yesterday.

This one isn't especially egregious, it's just the triteness of comparing church with a mega-retail department store. Debasing the sacrifice that payed the price for our eternal souls, comparing the brutal crucifixion of Jesus that canceled our debts to marked-down prices. Oh my.

Some of the church sign standards are the bad puns. Now, it may seem nit-picking to berate anyone for these, it's just that I find the gospel an intellectually compelling and psychologically stimulating truth. And these are just stupid. Not to mention trite. Oh dear. Punday morning...

This one just pisses me off, pardon my French.

The debate over which version of the Bible is correct, and the many councils and committees and congregational splits that have happened to this end, are the dirty laundry of the church and a very public bill-board may not be the best place to air them. Also, Jesus never spoke in Thees and thous, King James did. And to be perfectly honest, though I understand the dilemma of bad translation, the Holy Spirit will lead into all truth, we just need to introduce them to Him, not invite them to join a book club.

A club that serves free coffee and oh yes, subsequently and of equal importance, eternal life.....

The very last thing the Good News is, is antagonistic. It is a submissive posture, it turns the other cheek. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall see God. So this is not ok...

To attack someones religion or lack there of is just bad evangelism. When the Apostle Paul came to Athens and found multiple idols he did not start by tearing them down. He looked at the people with compassion and found the common ground from which to share the truth. Atheists, or Agnostics or Pantheists or whoever, are all searching for truth. They all are asking the same deep, heartfelt questions. "Why am I here?" "Where am I going?" "Why is there such suffering in the world?" "Is there any hope?" We can answer those questions with the Gospel, but not after we have disparaged that which they have put their faith in with pre-pubescent pot shots.

Really!?!! There is so much wrong here. See examples 1-7. Geez! First and foremost SHUT UP!! Not Punny! Your obnoxious smug tone makes me want to punch furry woodland creatures. Ahhhh! And why is it a warning? Is it a bad thing? I mean, is it not sufficient enough and much more eloquent to just say "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son. That whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life"???

....to be continued.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Try As I Might.

I try. I really do. To make conversation about the impossibly blue sky, the wandering moon, the wind over the water. I even attempt a pun or a rant about the price of gas. I try to look interested when conversation turns to politics and pop culture or the politics of pop culture or even the pop culture of politics. I really do. Promise.

But try as I might, all I can think about is...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Fingerprint Of God.

It has been said that if men will not praise God that the stones will cry out. Of course some would say that it is poetry, the hyperbole of the zealous. Perhaps. Or perhaps it merely means that if men were silent that the fingerprint of God would still be evident everywhere. But what if, just perhaps, the stones do have a song...

If men be mute the stones will sing
Will shout, will cry, will moan, will scream
Will bellow out against the hush
Your worth, Your truth, Your faithfulness

If stones be crushed to stop the sound
Be blown to bits, to grit be ground
Then from every atom’s heard
Your love, Your light, Your holy word

thought I have often, that if ever there were some great purging, if ever they outlawed god, in every form by every name. If all implements of worship were burned in the buildings that housed them, and all the places where believers gathered were razed to the ground. If every word, thought, feeling, and memory of god were scrubbed from the minds and hearts and souls of man... Would God disappear?

Some would say so. That we are much more sophisticated now, much less superstitious then our ancestors, who concocted god to answer the unanswerable, to comfort the inconsolable. Doorkeeper of heaven, waiting, clothed in clouds, to usher us into eternal bliss.


Well I believe that the Holy Spirit would once again began to call the souls of the sons and daughters of creation. That once again there would rise questions in mankind that no terrestrial answer will suffice and that the Spirit would be right there to lead into all truth. I take great comfort in this. That heaven is not silent, nor would it ever be. That all along the Father has made Himself known. In every sunset and sea dragon..

...every birth and thunderstorm.

Surely His fingerprint is everywhere, in case we should ever forget.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Among dusty papers, from a long ago life, I found this confession...

I thought that mine was a blind faith
But it was just the shadow of doubt
That comes like a comforting darkness
And wraps the heart in a shroud

I thought that mine was a pure love
But I was only hedging my bets
Because I knew that what I would give You
Was always less than what I would get

I thought that mine was a strong truth
But I'm weary from the burden of proof
And the doubt in my mind, is of the worst kind
Because my hands have been inside of Your wounds

Oh my faith is, so very faithless
And my love, my love is just pure hate
And all my truth, is dark lies
But in my weakness You're strength
And in my smallness You're great
And in my lowness You're high
And for this new life You died

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Gospel According To Nietzsche (part 2)

"What are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?" so lamented Nietzsche's madman.

Church Of The Holy Sepulcher

I mean if we really believed we were made for the next world, if we really believed He was our reward.....

If we really believed that we were the temples of the Holy Spirit....

If we really took Him serious about justice, and mercy, and our responsibility to the poor...

Mega Churches

If we really believed we serve a risen savior....Would we build these megalithic monuments to the material world. I mean it's not like we use them to house the 145 million orphans in the world or the 180 million homeless. And it's not like God needs a vacation home.

God must be dead, entombed in our churches. For I think, if He lived, men would fear Him. And take Him at His word. That whatever you haven't done for the least of these...

The children who live on garbage dumps....

The children trapped in forced slave labor....

And the ones that starve in an age of excess....

....we haven't done for Him.