Mixed Messages

Monday, July 4th, 2005 • 3 Comments on Mixed Messages

I have been neglectful of my little blog for the past few days due to circumstances beyond my control.  So, as I returned here today, with hours of cookout preparations ahead, I contemplated what I should write about on this gloriously beautiful Independence Day.  At least, it appears glorious from my window as I have not ventured forth to test the heat and humidity.  I’m quite content to stay in the air conditioned house and admire the glory of the day from within.  Until later, of course.  A cookout is just that—out.

There is a church near my house that has one of those (tacky) marquee-type signs out front.  You know the ones.  I’m not quite sure when houses of God decided to join the ranks of old movie theaters and convenience stores, but it happened at some point in the past decade, I believe.  I wonder if the power of advertising works as well for religion as it does for 7-11?  I’m sure there’s a research paper topic in there somewhere…

I digress.  I am not a particularly religious chick and have not seen the inside of a church for quite some time.  I am not rabidly anti-religion, I’m simply suspicious of the organized variety.  I do, however, love churches.  I especially love the old-fashioned, traditional churches.  I love stained glasses and brick and tall spires with crosses.  It’s silly, I know, but I feel a sense of tranquility in a church like that.  A peacefulness that can’t be had in churches circa-1970, with strange stucco walls and odd shaped buildings and nary a cross in sight.  I’m sure God frequents the ugly churches as often as the beautiful ones, but I can’t be entirely sure.  Should I decide to forsake Sunday mornings in bed for church services, you can bet I’ll be in one of the beautiful churches.

So.  The church near my house, as I started to say, is quite charming.  It’s not terribly old (which adds points in my book), but it is a nice, traditionally done brick church in a quaint setting that happens to be too close to a busy road.  The only thing that ruins the picture is the tacky sign out front advertising God, as if the church itself and the people who attend aren’t enough to get the message across.  The messages on the sign change, I think, on a weekly basis.  That seems to be the routine.  I often wonder if they change the message on Sunday morning before services or if some poor church worker is out there in the middle of the night, popping off letters and replacing them.

A week or so ago, the message read: “You are welcome here.”  Those words gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling.  Hedonist that I am, I’m welcome there.  Nice.  I liked it.  I hate the advertising, but if you’re going to do it, that’s the message to put out.  It’s like a little Hallmark card from God saying “C’mon in.”  Of course, I think God neither needs Hallmark nor marquee signs to get his message across, but, as they say, he works in mysterious ways.  Maybe God digs the marquee signs. 

I drove by the church again a couple of days ago and noticed the message had changed.  “You are welcome here” is a timeless classic, but some people like to mess with perfection.  I believe someone had the holiday in mind when they put up this week’s message of: “One nation under God.”  My warm, fuzzy feelings of the “You are welcome here” message faded away to a strange sense of sadness and unease.  I suddenly felt very

unwelcome

at the pretty little church. 

“You are welcome here.”

“One nation under God.” 

Is it just me, or does the second sentence seem to contradict the first?

Posted by Kristina in Uncategorized
  • tee says:

    kinda amends the first into: “oh, except YOU.”

    i, also, rarely frequent churches.  weddings & such, only, now.  god seems to hang out on mountaintops, and so i go there when i want to talk to her.

    and, she told me, that she’s always there, especially when two people are having sex…
    (that’s her favorite “we” time).

  • An Unread says:

    Isn’t it interesting how you can post comments about a relatively mundane topic and people will respond in waves. But throw something out there about religion or God and the silence becomes a door with a handle that no one wants to touch..except of course for the occasional glib “God is Woman comment” that always seems to follow or preface these discussions. But that’s okay…..humor should be part of religion. (That should get the feminists going) And God does have a sense of humor….He told me so Himself. I asked Him once and He told me Voltaire was right when he said that, “God is a comedienne playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.” (Will that satisfy the feminists?)
    Is “one nation under God” a contradiction of the first, warm and fuzzy “welcome here”, billboard? My guess is that it depends on a person’s perspective. Some people will accept and understand the message while others may approach it more cynically or see it as a way of searching for answers to questions that have been nagging them for most of their lives. Of course, people sometimes have a tendency to hide behind those questions, either through humor or philosophical discussions which they hope will give them answers or a semblance of reason to life’s twisted sense of happiness. Discussion of religion, or God, has a way of bringing out the insecurities that most of us hide behind. If we can’t be sure of something we can’t see then how in hell can we be sure of ourselves….. and where do we go for that confirmation that brings order to chaos. It’s interesting that the first sign gave you a warm and fuzzy feeling but the hint of politics turned that off. I’d like to say it’s just a Bush thing, (no erotic pun intended), but the mention of politics has sent more than a few feelings running for cover. (Like the mention of Clinton or his increasingly annoying ex president wife) There’s a statement in there somewhere. Maybe someone out there will recognize it. Or maybe we’re all just too busy having sex on mountaintops……not a bad alternative to the common day to day activities. Tee was right. He does spend most of His time there. I know. He told me so.

  • Jeremy says:

    The church sign across from my office once read:
    “Burn in hell sinners.”

    I was amused.

    I avoid discussion of god not because they bother me, I’ve made up my mind how I feel about the whole thing.  But moreso, I don’t like to upset people.  People should be allowed whatever faith system they want, but I had better not be seen as a potential convert.  I won’t care about offending others and will verbally attack the zealot responsible.

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