The Sign

The man sat at his desk lost in thought as his finger traced outlines on the black material.

How many people drove down his street every day? Eight? Nine? A Dozen? He counted on his fingers as he mentally traversed the road.

Old Mr. McGuillicudy at the end of the street didn’t drive anymore but a nurse came to see him every day…the young couple who were some kind of Chinese (or was it Korean?) had moved in next door but who knew if they spoke English…then there were the kids who rode their bikes during the summertime…

Every one was a mission field. He needed a message that would touch each of them. There had to be words that would stir their souls and show them what really matters…

When the thought came in a flash of inspiration he smiled at how obvious it had been as his fingers began to place the letters. There could only be one message that would do:

125 thoughts on “The Sign”

    1. Reminds me of the (breakaway from Episcopal) Anglican church near us that had on its sign for a while last year, “1940 Hymnal.” Oh, they use a 70-year-old hymnal? That’s a great selling point in 2014!

      1. Even more so are the breakaway “Anglican” churches that proudly proclaim their allegiance to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. (The Hymnal 1940 was highly regarded by many of us organists, and a lot of it was carried over to The Hymnal 1982.

        1. Yes, there’s a church in Dallas that has “We use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer” in all its publicity.

        2. Right. But to passersby who know nothing of Anglican tradition I think it’s an odd thing to advertise.

        3. We lost a woman recently who decided after a gazillion years that she wanted to go to a Rite I service instead of Rite II. Still don’t know where she went- no one I know of in the area does Rite I. And she’d been in our parish something like 40 years.

      2. *blinkblink*

        It’s necessary to break away in order to use the old hymnal? What, are we Baptists? Just keep one of the old ones on hand and Xerox as needed when you want something out of that edition. We have 5 different hymn books at our ECUSA church. Why not?

        1. There’s probably copyright issues- you can’t just photocopy and it’s ok- I’m on Vestry- we pay amazing amounts every time we use something that isn’t in the hymnal.

    1. You and me both sister.

      What I can get, where I can get it. Doesn’t matter as long as I am getting it.

      Now I need someone to tell me what “it” is.

        1. Or three, or 16, or 2,000, or eight, or four, or 1,760, or 5,280 …

  1. 120 is the number of years allotted for man to live. And how shall he make use of that time? Enjoying life, learning to love better, trying to be less of a jackwagon every day while realizing that 120 years is not exactly a guarantee? No! He shall set his mind and strength on that most important work of converting every unbeliever to the KJV faith.

    1. I’m assuming this wasn’t a rhetorical question.

      I personally am very reluctant to attribute natural disasters to God’s judgment. Its not that I don’t think that’s a possibility, I just don’t think I’m smart enough to figure out what God is doing outside of what God wrote down. Also, I think the scriptural model is that the judgment of God comes more often in the form of bad kings than hurricanes.

      1. Job’s friends thought for sure he was being punished for wrong. Come to find out, he was such a champ that God pitted him against Satan because He knew Job could take it. It was kind of a ‘spit in the eye’ to Satan.

        This makes me leery of blaming the cause of a disaster on God’s punishment. Might just be one of God’s “champs” fighting for the heavy weight title.

        1. Ooooh, the Book of Job always makes me mad! Job could take it, eh? But his kids died. His servants died. They were just pawns in the game, of no value other than to cause Job suffering to prove he could “take it.”

          Nobody talks about Job’s children or Job’s servants. God’s plan for them was “Die.”

    2. Please correct me if I’m wrong ( very probable) but In the Old Testament didn’t God judge the Children of Israel at least as often and as harshly for their idolatry as for their sexual sins? Also Jesus had a few harsh things to say to the Pharisees about their extreme elevation of scriptures? In any case it is not just fundies who think they are smart enough to figure out what God is most likely to judge. I see people like that all the time in Belfast.

      1. To answer your questions, Paul, it looks to me ( I haven’t sat down and counted them or anything) that God dealt with Israel for idolatry MORE often than just about anything else. And the issue Jesus had with the Pharisees and scripture was that they were hypocrites, certainly a charge that can be leveled at many of us today.
        I hold to the position that, somehow, according to Psalm 13, God has elevated his word above his own name. Now, I don’t claim to understand all the implications of that, but it’s what the text actually says. So to honor scripture isn’t idolatry. Now what does it mean to honor scripture? Well, I would say not being a hypocrite would be a good start, wouldn’t you?

        1. To some, “God’s Word” means the KJV. *only* the KJV. The would say that God does not – cannot – speak in any other way. Some of the people who now go to my church grew up in variations of an environment that said just that. it is an interesting experience talking to them about the extreme paradigm shift they had to experience. But I can’t argue with your last couple sentences 🙂

        2. The text may say that. THAT text may say that. But THAT text doesn’t speak for the whole of Scripture. Furthermore, it is the Psalmist’s view of God, not God making the statement about Himself. Nor is that position ever taken anywhere else in Scripture.

          That is a problem with fundamentalist hermeneutics. They don’t have any. It is all higgledy-piggeldy mashed up out of context nonsense. A verse here, out of context. A phrase from somewhere else and a story or assertion tied up with preaching and illogic and emotionalism and the admonition that this is “God’s Word.” That is why there is such an abundance of “doctrines” in today’s Christianity, and why so many of them are intrinsically incompatible.

          I can say that as a person who was pretty deep into doctrine himself. I can argue “theology” with the best, and use the same Scripture and their own arguments against them.

        3. Honor Scripture. So how did you decide to take so many books away and leave only 66? (From the original KJV, no less.) How did you decide to ADD the doxology to the Lord’s prayer, something that three quarter’s of the world’s Christians don’t see in their bibles. Even though Proverbs 30:6 says “Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar,” how is it that your bible has more words after Proverbs?

        4. Michael, I think you are missing a premise in your syllogism. The Psalmist says something about God elevating his word above his name. In order to get to “to honor Scripture isn’t idolatry” you would have to demonstrate the following:
          1) The Bible is congruous with God’s word.
          2) God “elevating” his word implies an ethical imperative to “honor” Scripture.
          3) The boundaries of “honor” such that they do not entail idolatry.

          Meh, probably not worth the effort.

      2. Paul, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the central problem in the Old Testament is idolatry, and the central problem in the New Testament is hypocrisy. Sex and politics are distractions that crop up now and then.

    3. I would say that any disaster and problem can be attributed to whatever moral disagreement a person is obsessed with. Blaming our own actions for tragedy is a very common reaction regardless of religion or culture.

    4. you should know by now. all the disasters in deeply red states are because they don’t hate the gays enough and aren’t doing enough to stop our agenda.

      who wants to meet for brunch?

    5. I would be EXTREMELY hesitant to attribute to God any kind of natural disaster or benefit. Scripture says that rain (for good & for ill) fall on the just & unjust, which we all know instinctively anyway. I know of nowhere outside the flood, the plagues on Egypt & the destruction of Tyre & Sidon where natural disasters were attributed to God’s wrath. All of which were preceded, according to the Scriptures, with direct messaging to repent & change. Anyone claiming natural disasters to be God’s vengeance would need to demonstrate a lot more cause than fundies condemning activity they don’t like.

      1. And geological events like volcanoes and earthquakes are necessary planetary events. The planet has to burp and crack itself every now and then.

        I always thought attributing all of those events to God’s judgment was silly and overdramatic.

        1. Well, being brought up to trust that God is the God of the physical as well as the spiritual, I was devastated with the 2004 Tsunami that killed 250,000 people, a third of them children. I stopped believing in a Providential God then.

          I was almost angry enough to stop believing altogether. When I think about it, I still am. It is hard to remember that God isn’t responsible–or perhaps not able to stop such tragedy. Or maybe He doesn’t care. All that grief His world caused. Then the crowing by Fundamentalist preachers. Then those who said God allowed it to increase our sense of charity to help the survivors. And while promises of help and aid were made, most of it never materialized.

          Uhh. Yeah. I did say I still get angry when I think about it.

        2. Yeah, it drives me a little nuts when Fundys (or anyone) try to explain why God did or allowed something. They don’t know, so they try to find a reason. They find one that suits them, then try to say that God told them. It’s rationalization. That’s all.

          We’ll never know why things like that happen.

          I began to leave Fundyland when I was in fundy u. I left a comfy church at home and worked on a bus route in fundy u in an inner city. What I saw gave me absolute contempt. These were kids in real need, and all the church cared about was making their numbers. I would never be the same after that. I began to learn that real “ministry” or whatever you want to call it, was helping people, not worrying about what they wore or what music they listened to or wondering if they were going to a proper Baptist church and carried a KJV.

          That was the beginning of my exit.

        3. Come on people. This is Fundy Logic 101.

          Hurricane Katrina was God having a hissy fit at all TEH GAYZ in New Orleans.
          The Joplin tornado was a result of the US not supporting Israel in another one of their land grabs. So God had to kill a bunch of people in Missouri. Maybe he thought it was Branson?
          The SE Asia tsunami affected just a bunch of brown people so they don’t count. We all know God only cares about his fellow man…white Americans. There might have been some Europeans caught up in the tsunami but they are socialists so they don’t count either.

        4. And since we’re on the subject, if I hear another person go off about Christians being persecuted in America because the gays are being allowed to marry or the Duggars got cancelled or they can’t pass tracts out at a business anymore, et cetera, et cetera, all the while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East for being Christians, I’m going to scream!

          They think only in their tidy little ignorant box.

        5. Natalie, I will scream right along with you. We can have a scream fest. My (ex) sister and her pedo husband used to listen to Christian radio and read the Voice of the Martyr. He read and listened to other stuff but that was all she was allowed. I am not kidding, it is pretty sick how short a leash he has her one. Anyway, with that as her yard (or metre) stick of the world, she was convinced that we were being persecuted for our faith. It makes me sick to hear this from privileged, working, house & car owning, vote enfranchised, well fed denizens of democratic countries. What on earth do they have to moan about? The media and preachers that whip up this hysteria are doing it to keep the money flowing in from the panic they cause.

      2. Dear MiriamD:

        The media and preachers that whip up this hysteria are doing it to keep the money flowing in from the panic they cause.

        Call it ‘paranoia for profit…’

        And you’re right. It works like a charm.

        Christian Socialist

  2. I was trying to make the point that although it is good to have a high regard for scripture, it can be as high, or higher than the God it points to. Especially in the case of the KJV. We the enter the realm of idolatry, and that makes God angry. The Scriptures point to God. They are not God.

  3. Great touch in the story about those the mailbox owner hopes to reach: 1) they tend to be those particularly unsuited to 18th century verbiage – ESL speakers and children – but more importantly, 2) the man doesn’t know them! He doesn’t know the names of the nurse or the children; he doesn’t even know what country his new neighbors are from or if they even speak English; he hasn’t even tried to talk to them. He puts up a sign promoting his favorite “brand” of Bible and feels he’s done his duty toward his neighbors.

        1. Yep. A great way to fluster and anger a KJV idolater is to point out that they actually use the 1769 edition of the King James Translation.
          My son was attending a camp a few years ago, and I was helping out. (The sponsoring church has come up on SFL before, and is very Fundy.) One of the kids at the camp has a father who travels as an evangelist preaching on the KJV and Baptist “history”. My son and that kid got into a discussion, started because a few of the kids had “wrong versions” during a van ride. He said the driver let the debate/discussion go until my son pointed out that their 1611 was really from the late 1700s. At that point, the conversation was shut down and they were told not to discuss it any more. Typical Fundy response to logic and scholarship.

  4. And lo, the China man and his wife were gloriously saved, along with most dwelling on Spooner Street, because of the word fitly written in due time.

    The wicked family whose residence is at number thirty-one refuse to yield to the god of number one hundred twenty.

    (what is written here makes about as much sense as, “Got English translation of War and Peace?” because everyone knows the English version corrects Tolstoy’s original manuscripts)

    1. The church I served in Birmingham AL is across the street from a Baptist church. (I don’t know its affiliation, if any).

      They had a sign outside, “Read Psalm 119.”

      Oy veh! The longest psalm!

        1. Dear Paul Best:

          This reminds me of the parable of the Good, Undocumented Worker…

          Christian Socialist

      1. There are so many better ways to reach out to your neighbors. Of course, I am glad this guy is too inept to bring his neighbors into the KJVO cult. Better if a healthier church reaches out to them.

  5. This sort of attachment to the KJV can turn into superstition: “I’m a Christian, but I still have problems. I wonder why. Oh, maybe because I don’t have the right version of the Bible like this mailbox or bumper sticker exhorts me to have.” The Bible becomes a talisman or a good luck charm, more important than the Savior that the Book points to.

  6. I’ve been trolling the board for some time now and have learned a great deal about the various tenets of fundamentalism. I never had much exposure to this way of thinking until I moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee and began seeing churches with “AV1611” on their signage. At that point, I discovered the intellectual black hole that is KJV Onlyism. Mind you, I have absolutely nothing against the KJV itself but the near worship of a translation concerns me, particularly since it is based on a complete lack of knowledge of Church history and translational methodology. From discussions I’ve had with folks of this mindset, they seem to believe that when Jesus or the Prophets spoke, they may have spoken Aramaic or Hebrew, but their words corresponded exactly to the English of the KJV. Thus, the translation is in fact the original. Is my impression wrong or do folks truly believe this?

      1. Interesting. If that were true, the implication would seem to be that God chose to make a direct revelation to a group of Anglican clergymen during the years 1604-11. Perhaps He did but it’s very difficult to support that position with anything other than raw emotion. Maybe that’s why so many of the pastors featured on SFL have their volume turned up to 11.

        1. Exactly. The most radical among them believe that KJV is really the only inspired translation. It is very much the worship of the translation–as interpreted by the particular Man of God….but it is idolatry. They use the terminology most people would reserve for God for the KJV.

        1. It seems fair to me. They demonstrate repeatedly no understanding of how languages interact & get translated.

        1. I meant to say also that it’s impossible to take their arguments seriously if you have ever tried to translate something longer than a sentence or two.

          Almost every text can support multiple meanings. That’s what KJVO partisans don’t get.

        2. I agree that their arguments for the KJV indicate the lack of understanding how translating works. Yet I have heard some KJV only who had an understanding how translating works. While some understand how things work in translating, the KJV is so inspired that the rules of language and translating and interpreting do not apply. It seems to me to be part of the deification of the KJV–rules do not apply to it.

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