I came by a church whose sign out front read: Ears Pierced Free Inside Every Sunday. I ask my self, self what does that mean? Is the sound level above an OSHA approved level of 102 dB for 1 1/2 hours? Is the message that bad/good/etc. I am a Christian, not by birth but by choice , so maybe I am missing something here. The problem for me is that I see signs out front of a lot of churches that make no sense, or even worse, make statements that use “in-speak” as I call it. These are saying or phrases that only those in ” church” will get. So when I see the above mention sign I wonder: How is this relevant ? What do those who do not know Christ think when they read this type of message? Do such signs make Christianity feel like a sound bit or hook to people but have no real meaning to most?
I am sure there are clever signs out there that do catch the attention of a passerby or two or three. And I am sure some make people think or rethink their lives. I am also sure those who put such signs up think they are useful. But are they really of use to a true non-believer, to someone who has lost faith or of another culture? This got me looking back on my path to belief and some of those “clever” signs I have seen. Here are some examples of signs I have seen:
ETERNITY: smoking, or non-smoking?
Try Jesus. If you don’t like Him, the devil will always take you back.
Not sure about God? Well just don’t die!
You can’t walk with God while running with the Devil.
You think it’s hot here, keep living the wrong way!
I will be honest here: I did not get one thing from the above signs. It did not motivate me or sway me in my decision to accept Christ. It did not strike in me any fear or need to examine my self . Why is that I wondered as I ponder such signs and their purpose. It seems to me that our society has a lack of fear or belief in things eternal . There are several ways this has happened I think. One is we have learned to trust that with our scientific knowledge we have or can find the “answers” to all of life’s questions. Or put more pointedly we have no way of proving anything “other” than the physical plane of existence: no proof equals not creditability equals no fear or respect. Without proof people in general feel Christianity, or religions in general, lacks creditability. No more is ” because the bible says so” good enough for us!
Another reason that is more problematic is that people don’t want “fixed” by religion or just because someone says so! We don’t want fixed period! We are fine the way we are thank you very much! Don’t tinker with me because I have with in me the ability to do all things through me so help me, me!That is what modern culture teaches us. There is no need for “outside ” help. Why is that? Because we have been taught there is nothing bigger than our ability to reason and logically solve lives problems & mysteries ourselves. Just look at a bookstore selves and you can see we have all the answers right at our little finger tips.
Now why did I stepped out of that mind set and start looking for a fix to my broken and messed up self? What motivated me to self examine myself for the betterment of others not just because I needed it? Well what motivated me was not a sign but people. Not a clever turn of the word but a community of people that lived their faith out loud. They welcomed me , they accepted me ,they loved me and the listened to me for no other reason but to show what the message of grace is about. Signs should be a vehicle to point the way to people that in turn point the way to grace and salvation through Christ. There is no sign that can express that but maybe we could start with one that reads: Welcome.