Wednesday, October 08, 2003

an open letter to all churches with marquees

note: all of the marquees quoted here were sighted in the oklahoma city area in the past 6 months

ok, i've had it. in recent days i have passed churches (which shall remain nameless) with marquees that went everywhere from worthless ("school days, school days, drive alert not in a daze") to insulting ("the difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits" and "everyone has the right to be stupid, some people abuse the privilege" -- from the same church) and from theologically argumentative ("when was paul saved, when he repented or when he was baptized?") to the one today that launched this rant ("the bible is God's weapon of mass instruction"). ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!? the only marquees that seem to be worse are the ones where pastors advertise their weekly homiletical offerings ("why the lost have no hope", "stay out of hell, find out how sunday", and "let God put your money to work for you").
is it just me or does it make no sense to use the one part of a church that is guaranteed to be noticed by every person who drives or walks by the place to post this kind of garbage? think about it. if a person knows nothing about your church, but every week they are assaulted or insulted by the sign nearest your driveway do you think they are ever going to pull in and "see what this incredible place is about"? what does it say about a church that fires off the word stupid to the public twice in a month with a stop in between to remind the lost world to "pray for our students at falls creek this week"?
face it, no matter how much the secretary or janitor or pastor (or all three) chuckles at the latest witticism from the margin of guideposts or reader's digest or wherever this crap comes from, the world outside of your safe office is NOT GOING TO THINK IT'S FUNNY. all you are doing is insulting them and making yourself look like your picture belongs on the marquee mentioned above.
in general marquees are a bad idea for a lot of reasons. let's be honest, most churches don't have a clue in the world how to interact with the world around them, so it is safe to say that they have no business splashing something in front of their building that advertises that fact in big bold black sonic special looking letters. i've also noticed that every marquee falls into one of two categories, they are either on a stand with the church name in lovely script letters (somewhere there is one company who is making all of these things -- please for the sake of the kingdom, STOP! ) or they are the grounded version with the light bulbs all around that look like they should be in front of a) a biker bar, b) a used car dealership, c) a cheap motel, d) a strip club, or e) all of the above.
so here i am calling for all churches to tear down their bastion of self-promotion and move into a marquee-free world where people only think we are brain-dead because of what we say and do, not what we post in the front yard. i know, i know. dear departed sister so and so gave the money for your lovely marquee and it has tremendous sentimental value. your pastor's name has been proudly engraved on the bottom of it for the past 18 months. it gives your janitor something to do. i am not completely cold-hearted. i feel your pain. so here is a compromise. until you can muster up the business meeting majority vote you need to get the thing turned to scrap, simply use your marquee to advertise things within your church to the people of your church and other church people like them ("awanas meets here wednesday", "life training institute every sunday night", or "breaking free seminar saturday and sunday") who knows, you may just find some good church folk who drive by and decide to hop on over to your place because they have an untrained awana who needs to break free.
thanks for your time and your kind attention. feel free to head back to chuckling over reader's digest. if i can ask one last thing. please, whatever you do, if you must use names when the marquee gets updated, be wise ("thanks for 15 great years pastor bubba")


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