Sunday, January 10, 2010

Public Displays of Christianity

Traveling around the country as I recently did, you get to see a lot of what I like to call public displays of Christianity. These include anything from street preachers to tee shirts to billboards and even conspicuous church buildings themselves. My thesis for this essay is that these conspicuous displays of religion, specifically Christianity, are a detriment to the church as a whole and are a sign of the inner rot of the American church specifically. Herein and henceforth, "church" is the body of followers of Jesus Christ. It's not the building they do business in.

If you travel through Texas on I-40, you can't miss it. Apparently it's the biggest cross in the northern hemisphere or something like that. I just checked the website, apparently it's the western hemisphere. Anyway, it's a big dang cross and it appears to be clad in some sort of metal roofing. While I do believe in the powers of metal roofing (can't beat the warranty) I cannot for the life of me figure out of what use this metal behemoth is. I'm sure it's a great tourist attraction for the religiously aware, but is this thing really gathering in the believers?

Second on this list is those little plastic chrome fish that people stick to the back to their cars. From what I'm told these are a way to tell others around you that if you are a jackass in traffic, they should blame God. "Thanks alot God for creating this jackass!!!" On second thought, whatever works as long as they are talking to God. If you are going with a Christian themed bumper sticker, I suggest "I found Jesus, he's in the trunk."

Next is those lit bulletin boards in front of churches. I'm not sure I have ever seen one that had anything useful on it besides the meeting times. Now I'm a biblically literate dude, and if I see the phrase "Seek his face" I know what it means, but to the average person driving down the street, what the eff does that mean? Bulletin boards are there to show how culturally irrelevant the church is.

Which leads me to my next bit of PDC, which is the church building itself. Many of these are rather small, house sized and roofed and sided as such and besides the fact that such a building is an obvious sign that no one wants to attend there, I have no problem with these. It's the gaudy megachurches that I can't stand. I won't name any names, yes I will, ahem, Church at Pinnacle Hills. How many millions did you spend on those giant effing crosses in the front yard? Yes, I have sound system envy, but your pastor is BORING!!! Another good one is the Crystal Cathedral. I feel like walking in and yelling "Is Jesus in here? No? Okay, I'll look somewhere else." What do these things say to non-believers? It says to me that they care more about your money than your soul. The only good church building is one you can't tell it's a church.

Finally, I can't handle those misguided billboards that say things like "you're going to hell" (paraphrased) in King James English. Think about what the thing is really saying. "I'm not only a bigot, but I'm also completely out of touch with the world." My wife says that from time to time she sees a billboard that uplifts her, but I must have missed all of those. Then there's the classic "The Pope is the Anti-Christ." This is a really fun one that not only shows the bigotry and out of touch that I mentioned before, but also a complete lack of understanding of the Bible. Thanks for that one Historic Seventh-Day Adventists (and whoever else.)

My whole point here is that what we do on the outside shows what's on the inside and as far as I can tell we as a group are bastard coated bastards with a bastard filling. And the problem with that is we are not willing to admit it. That's why nearly every non-christian confronted with the word "christian" in a word association quiz will come up with some variation of "self-righteous." That cannot remain for this thing to work. This is way to big for me to fix, I'm just saying that it's a sign.


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