Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Church signs: a textual analysis


Lava soap doesn't work on sin.

That is an actual message I saw on a church sign once.

I've become quite a fan of these outdoor church messages.  I think they've almost become a genre of their own.  And once you luxate them independent of the sign and the context, they can become deliciously hilarious, especially when their witty puns begin to backfire.
Luckily for me and fellow fans of the church message meme, there is a site called Oddee that has assembled a collection of comical church signs for view.

Among my favorites are:

"Artificial intelligence is no substitute for natural stupidity."
(Gotta admit, that one has a little craftsmanship to it.  Even if it makes no bloody sense.)

"Don't be so open-minded your brains fall out."
(Bad syntax aside, I'm sure it's a literal belief of the building's denizens.)

"We. R. Baptist.  No Protestant."
(I'm not even going to touch this one.)

Please bear in mind that I do not at all wish to mock Christianity.  I was brought up in a Christian home.  I'm mostly aiming at judgmental people while speculating at the same time.  As someone who studies composition theory, I really marvel at the composition process of this genre.  What is the writer's exigency?  Salvation of other souls, I suppose, but what are the boundary definitions of the genre?  It appears that comedic value is an aspect but I sense there is much more to it than simple pun-slunning.

Church sign composition is also not as easy as it appears.  The web site Says-It allows you to create your own church sign...for free!  Yet even given this one-of-a-kind opportunity, I was unable to come up with anything that I believed was up to sniff.  Nothing that was fittingly witty, snarky, or theological came to mind.  Maybe it's the late hour, maybe it's my tired brain, maybe it's the cough syrup...I dunno.  So I leave it up to you, gentle reader.  Click the link and create your own church sign and then please come back here and share with the rest of the class.  I'm eager to see your creations.  Certainly, you can do far better than my own understated efforts:




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