About a mile from my house is a small church labeled simply, “Church of God” that I’m not totally confident is NOT a snake-handling church. They used to have a tall sign that they’d periodically and irregularly change out the message to, often with spelling errors. About three years ago, that sign fell down, which, if I was a church member, I would maybe take as a sign from God? It took two years, but they finally replaced the sign with a mobile sign, not unlike one that would be used for a strip club in a trailer park.
In its first year, the message changed twice, once to congratulate a member of the congregation for an unspecified reason that stayed up for months, and the other to simply put their name on it. Well, five weeks ago, the sign changed again. This time, on both sides of the sign so I can see it on the way to work and my home, the message simply says, “God is faithful”. And I am baffled by it.
What does “God is faithful” mean? Is God not cheating on this church with other congregations? Is God faithful to humanity and extraterrestrials are that creepy coworker who gets a little too drunk and hits on God at the Christmas party? Is God faithful to God?
Maybe it’s missing or implying some punctuation, like, “God is. Faithful.” Like they’re saying that God exists and thus, we have to be faithful to that God? I’m definitely giving them too much credit for subtlety on that. More likely they mean that God is synonymous with faith or that God is faithful to those who are faithful to God?
When I see the word “faithful” it is, to me, synonymous with marriage. Of course, that’s my monogamous-normative (is that a phrase?) perspective. But if my reading is right, then God married us. That would be weird because we’re all His children, right? You wouldn’t say, “Mom is faithful to her kids,” because that would be weird. Although, I guess there was that group of fathers a while back who make their daughters take the purity pledge as though they are meant to be faithful to their fathers. Which is real icky creepy gross. But no judgement.
Maybe it is purposely confusing to inspire discussion. It could also be that the pastor is stubborn and is keeping it up so long so that parishioners think that it is on purpose?
This isn’t even the most perplexing sign I’ve come across, just the most obtuse. Generally, the signs I see are really aggressive, bafflingly sexist, anti-science, obviously stolen from a Garfield comic, or simply telling people they are open on Sundays. Yet, it’s the stark simplicity of the economy of words and the many weeks now that it has been up that has really made me want to attend just to see if a sermon there is like watching Kirk Cameron have a manic episode. So, I guess it’s an affective sign?