The Curse of Stupid Church Signs

"The Curse of the Church Sign" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward


The CruciFiction: I stand out on the corner of the church's property right on the busy intersection where people can look at me every day as they pass by in their cars or walking their dogs. I am there 24/7. I am five years old this year. My legs are two beautiful brushed steel posts embedded in concrete footings that extend 10 feet straight up. The glassed front aluminum box is six feet wide and four feet high, housing a flat black digital screen upon which letters are electronically displayed. Above the box are three small solar panels, one facing east, one facing straight up, and the other facing west, that power the lithium power cells hidden behind the screen. I am very chic and beautiful. This little light of mine I'm going to let it shine and I do every single minute of every single day. The purpose for which I was imagined and created was to clearly and simply display our services, special events, and announcements. I enjoyed those days very much because I like to be helpful and practical. This is what I was made for. But we got a new pastor this year. He thinks he's clever and funny. So instead of using me to announce news I'm being used to broadcast stupid sayings. Now, rather than being an instrument of information, I've become a pawn of propaganda. I'm so embarrassed. Every Monday morning I cringe waiting for the next stream of silliness that will scroll across my screen. The sun could be shining through the leaves, the birds could be singing, a few cars could be cruising by, when all of a sudden one of his sayings scrolls across my blushing face. Imagine, if you will, saying something really stupid and then having to wear that around your neck for a whole week. That's me! The looks on people's faces when they drive by... either embarrassed for me or angry or incredulous or sad. Sometimes I see them shake their heads and form the f-word with their mouths. I don't blame them. Here are just a few: “Don't let worries kill you. Let us help!” “The best position is on your knees!” “Don't be so open-minded your brains fall out!” “Real friends don't rub it in, they rub it out!” “You can't enter Heaven unless Jesus enters you!” "Difficulty falling asleep? Come listen to our sermons!" You might chuckle and say to yourself that it's all just silly and in good fun and maybe even excuse him. But couldn't these little burps of silliness actually betray belches from a deeper abyss of ignorance, arrogance, and meanness? Aren't signs just that: signs? Well, he's got me proclaiming, for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, that something is deeply amiss within; that we think we're special and you are not; that you need us more than we need you; that we don't trust you or your brain; that you are obviously going to hell without us; that we are completely out of touch with the real world; that we don't have a sweet clue about you, your kind, or your needs and desires; and that we're oblivious to innuendo and blind to double entendre. God! Is there not one intelligent elder or deacon or grandmother or teacher or college student who will speak to him? Or is everyone just like me: a placard upon which he inscribes his ideas? Clean slates where they reflect every little thing he says? Puppets, tools, pawns, instruments, and minions of his devices? Mirror images of him? Labels upon which he declares what they should contain? I say stupid things because he tells me to. Do they too? Are we all just signs of his sickness?
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