A rash of Black and white billboards have been sighted with messages ranging from inane to hilarious and strangely attributed to God.

"Loved the wedding. Invite me to the marriage." -God
"Don't make me come down there." -God
"Keep using my name in vain and I'll make your rush hour longer' -God"
"Wherever you go, there I am." -God
"I don't question your existence."
"Have you read my #1 bestseller?" -God
"I'm also making a list and checking it twice." -God
"If we don't communicate, you haven't got a prayer." -God

and the worst yet:

"I'm everybody's homie" -God

Random house declares this to be, "Simple. Relevant. Life changing."

Please, /msg me with a quote from your official God speaks billboard so that I may make a definitive list.
There are two others that I can think of, "I don't question your existence." and "You think it's hot here?", but I've seen the "Don't make me come down there." one above all questioning. Who makes these billboards? Isn't there a better way to pile us into church other than force-feeding us dry humor while we're driving down the road?

Also I just thought that I would share something similar to this. The church down the road from my house has a marquee with messages quite like the God billboards. 2 years ago, as I was walking past the church, I saw it had changed. It now read, "Turn or burn." I went home, shared this with my dad, who followed to say, "They're right! If you don't turn over at the beach, you will most certainly burn!"

And one right before Mother's Day that just made me sick: "Thanks mom for not having an abortion!"

I wrote to the ad agency behind these billboards and told them that "Don't make me come down there" is a threat of violence, and that I didn't think they were representing the product in a very positive light.

Apparently I'm not the only one who prefers hearing from a loving God, since they said they're phasing out that particular slogan.

Not a billboard, but seen on a sign in front of a church:
     CH  CH
What is missing?

What a load of B LL.

When I was in Seattle, I had the pleasure of driving around with my friend's friends. Yeah. Anyway, on one of the church marquee signs, I shit you not, was the following text:


We didn't stop laughing for a good long while.

Not to be confrontational, but what would you have a church do? Abort any attempt at humor, and be deadly serious in everything? What joke or catch line would you have not put down? I am asking you, what would you have them do? (And I don't mean a genius line like "Shut up!", I mean to say, what other technique would work better)

For centuries the church has seemed like a monolithic, grave body, that was only meant for old men and women with nothing better to do. It seems to me that these people are only trying to show that that is not what it is all about. I don't think that they presume to seriously talk for God, but just as any author or speaker, or person, would do, they try to present old information in a new light to help people understand it.

Alright, so you've left the city of Vancouver, hopped upon the #1, and are making your way east. You pass, Burnaby and Coquitlam and Surrey and even Langley, and after these few hours of driving, land straight into Abbotsford, the town rumoured to have the most churchs per capita in all of Canada. And you are hurdling down the freeway at 140km/hr, among big trucks going much faster than you, and cars doing 90km/hr, and that impossible idiot weaving in between everyone. It's a little dangerous, but hey, that's the freeway without photo radar.

SO you look up, and you see a big white billboard. With big black letters that say


What in the hell? Is this some sign of the apocalypse? or am I just going to get hit by a car? Or is it some idiot with a billboard, trying to scare the crap out of me? Wait a minute! I don't even believe in god. I'm going straight to hell! I'd better get off this freeway, and find an intersection, because there'll be a church on each corner, where I can save myself.

would I lie to you?

Here in the Deep South, it's pretty much accepted that these billboards originated in sunny Alabama, aka the Buckle of the Bible Belt. ("From the state that brought you Jim Crow laws, comes...") One or two individuals started the whole thing, and pretty soon it took off and churches across the state (and throughout the South) began funding billboard campaigns of their own.

The first "God" billboard to appear in Alabama was:


One of the more recent billboards, and my personal favorite, is:


I love that sign, because I always wonder what size TV God has at his "house."

In the spirit of targeted marketing campaigns, I keep expecting to see billboards that are more focused towards my interests. I really look forward to the day when I'll be driving down the highway and see:

G0d 0wnZ y00! HaX0Rz n0 G0d iz 1337!

We criticize and make fun of these billboards, but biotoast is fair in asking, "What would you have a church do? Abort any attempt at humor?" Certainly not. In fact, I think people on both sides of the fence would feel comfortable in saying that one of the big things that drives folks away from organized religion is the seriousness of it all. I can remember, back when I was religious, watching George Carlin and Monty Python on television and thinking to myself, "Wow, this is funny...but am I going to go to Hell for laughing at it?" So I think biotoast is more than correct in pointing out that churches could do well with an infusion of humor, if only to lighten things up from time to time.

But what I think bothers people (believers and unbelievers alike) most about these billboards is that they often say some pretty harsh things and they always purport to speak for God. Katyana and Sylvar both mention the line "Don't make me come down there. -God," which was all over the place until the ad agency responsible for the billboards began receiving complaints from people who interpreted it as an inappropriate threat of violence.

But perhaps even more disturbing about that message is that it threatens violence while purporting to speak on God's behalf. In this post-September 11th world, threats made by individuals who claim to know the very mind of God are especially concerning. But even forgetting recent history for a moment, it's just plain arrogant to claim one knows what God is thinking.

I think the reason so many individuals found the "messages from God" billboards disturbing is because, unless you're directly quoting scripture, human beings really ought not claim to speak for God. (History suggests that really bad things happen when you do.) This comes despite my nonbelief in a higher being...while I don't particularly respect the concept of a god or gods, I still feel it important that individuals speak only for themselves and not claim to speak for others--especially when those others are supernatural in origin. This is not to say that churches must refrain from using humor in every aspect of their ministries, but combining the typical Southern Baptist "hellfire and brimstone" message with billboards that pretend to speak for God...well, that's just creepy.

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