Go here to check out my church sign photos.
While at Cracker Barrel a few weeks ago, I saw the above book, The Great American Book of Church Signs. It was very fun to rummage through. This book is a compilation of a very important part of Southern living: the church sign. I have to admit that even though I have never even stepped foot inside of a church that sports any type of unique church sign, the signs are one of my favorite aspects of Southern living.
For my many Western friends. Let me explain. In the South a person in a vehicle can pass a different church at about every block. Under the name of the congregation, each of those churches usually display a block letter sign with a new weekly message. There seems to be an unspoken competition going on. The winner of the competition will win the most parishoners for the following Sunday. How will the church sign do that? Well, of course, the parishioners will not be able to resist attending because of the originality or perfect humor of the church sign.
I grew up in California where all church signs were very bland. Their sole purpose was to let the passer-by know which domination was represented. In Utah, it seems that every church has the same The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sign etched in granite out front. Which, in its own way is entertaining, given that you will have two exactly similar signs sported a block apart.
But, in the South, the church sign is vital for the spread of Christianity and humor. I am unsure how the church sign tradition got started, but I am sure it has to do with some unorthodox Baptist preacher a few hundred years ago. And, yes, he must have been a good preacher because he can take credit for even teaching this Mormon how to be a better Christian. Here are some of the messages from the signs that I have seen recently:
Lost? Get a GPS (God's plan of salvation)
You think it't hot here.
Who's your daddy?
Free trip to heaven, details inside.
Church parking only - violators will be baptized.
God loves you and he approves this message.
Wal-Mart is not the only saving place.
God answers knee-mail.
Friends don't let friends go to hell.
Don't make me come down there. ~ God
If God is your co-pilot, switch seats.
The wage of sin is death, repent before payday.
At the heart of sin is the letter I.
Pessimists need a kick in the cant's.
So, feel free to add your favorite Southern church sign in a comment. Whenever we all get over the flu at my house, and I can actually think I may try to come up with some signs that they can adopt to put in front of the Mormon churches in Utah. Here are a few off of the top of my fried sick brain:
Join our ward, the boundary is unlimited.
Our Bishop is better than yours!
Is your sacrament bread homemade?
Join us, every Sunday is fast.
Yeah yeah, these are week; I am sick! I can't stop coughing, so I am going to go. I just didn't want to be banned to my own bi-weekly blogger list.