Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Silly, snarky church signs
Thanks to Seth for alerting me to this fun blog Crummy Church Signs, where I can indulge in some laughable church signs across the country!
Church signs are such a haiku-like phenomenon. With little space to spare and the occasional shortage of necessary letters (3’s instead of E’s, upside-down W’s standing in for M’s), saintly messages are transformed into an awkward art that’s really just a by-product of enforced brevity.
As a kid, the church where my brother’s Boy Scout troop met usually had some great messages on their signs, like “God has a job for you—inquire within.”
What I love about the signs (other than the cutesy sayings) is the way they reflect the community and culture around them. A sign will reference technology (“Need to reboot? Remember, God saves!”) consumerism (“Walmart isn’t the only savings place”) or flash-in-the-pan slang (“Jesus is the rizzle for the sizzle.”) The perfect formula for a hilarious church sign? A combination of vaguely threatening language coupled with awkwardly misspelled words: "God hates whoremongers."
When driving my brother to Boy Scouts, I never paid much attention to the cheesy words that greeted me as I pulled into the parking lot where his friends fiddled with their pocket knives and played football before meetings. Now, I can’t help wanting to start my own collection of double-entendre-laden, snarky and silly phrases that are designed to reach out to people in a contemporary way. If only the sermons were so consistently witty…
If you're a church sign lover like me, you can also get your fix with coffee table books chock-full of church sign photos such as Donald Seitz’s “The Great American Book of Church Signs” or Steve Paulson’s “Church Signs Across America.” Buy local—ask your neighborhood bookstore for details!