Church Signs #5

20 May, 2008

Downtown, a church has an interesting sign up on the kiosk:

Church is where you give your presecne [sic] to God.

Leaving out the rather obvious typo (although it is one of those signs with the plastic replaceable letters, so I’m not sure if ‘typo’ is the correct word), I found this interesting in a couple of ways.

First:  Does this mean that, if you are not in church, you have no presence before God?  That would seem to imply that prayer, outside of church — a physical structure — is pointless (it’s also pointless in church, but that’s another matter).  It would also seem to imply that, when a Christian is outside of church, since they have no presence before God, then how would one expect God to intervene in a life-threatening situation?  How many times have we heard someone thank God for saving their life during a tornado?  I guess that’s not gonna fly if you belong to this church.  My problem with this interpretation is that, according to Islam, Christianity, Judaism, etc., God is omnipotent and omniscient.  He is everywhere.  There is not place on earth where God cannot reach.  So why is one supposed to go to church to give your presence (sorry, presecne) to God?

Second, it could be that the pastor views any who are not a member of his church (evangelical Christian) has no presence before God.  The odd part here is that virtually every Christian church has the same basic method — my church is the only real Christian church.  Reminds me of the Avignon Papacy during which time there were (from 1378 to 1417) two Popes and all of Christendom had been excommunicated by one or the other.  Except that today, we have hundreds of different Christian churches, all of which claim to be the only path to God and every bloody one of them is saying, “Your presence must be in my church.  Those other ones don’t matter and won’t get you any closer to God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit.”  Yeesh!

It could be that I am reading too much into this.  Maybe the pastor is just asking his flock to make an exchange:  give me (and God) a little bit of your time, and God will feel your presence (sorry, presecne).  I suspect this last one is probably the most correct.  Much of belief comes down to a vrtual business proposition (with a complex, self-contradictory and illogical contract) in which the believer surrenders time, independent thought, a chunk of one’s income, and a required presence in a specific building at a specific time.

Even without the typo, it is an odd sign (at least to me).



  1. See, I read it as church is whereever you give your presence to God. If you offer your presence before God in your house, then for that time that house becomes a church. -shrug-

  2. Zacharias: Welcome to my blog. That is what I had thought, but when I saw this sign at a church, it got my mind wandering.

  3. The best sign I’ve seen recently is in front of one of the local Methodist churches. The top line reads SUN WORSHIP. There’s a large gap, and then the equivalent of several lines down it gives the times for services. That’s all that’s on the sign. It raises several interesting questions: Are they nudists? Have the Methodists become a naturist sect? Or have they revived some heliocentric mystery cult, e.g., worshipping Apollo?

  4. Considering the typo, maybe they meant presents. You know, you have some money burning a hole in your pocket and wondering, “gosh, I’d love to present this to god but I simply don’t know how” and lo and behold, a sign. Miraculous!

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