I felt a constricting feeling as I passed the neighborhood ELCA Church of Lighted-Sign Tackiness today. It was displaying the message:
AUTUMN LEAVES, JESUS STAYS
This is so bad that I was actually tempted to move to Nepal, just to distance myself from the awfulness of this bumper-sticker evangelism.
At least the original tacky bumper-sticker ("Autumn Leaves, Jesus Doesn't") had a certain paraprosdokian aptness, like the classic one-liner "Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." But changing "doesn't" to "stays" destroys that. It forces you either to ask where, in what sense, or in what way Jesus "stays," and how this impacts John 14:19 where Jesus says, "A little while longer and the world will see me no more," or John 16:5 ("But now I go away..."), etc.; or to entertain impious thoughts about whalebone-alternative corsets. Could this be a foreshadowing of a new rage for wasp-waisted women, encouraged in their cosmetic auto-asphyxia by pious thoughts about the holy relics, or at least blessed braces, they are wearing between their underthings and outerthings? Maybe we're talking about bakelite stays embossed with little cartoons of our Lord and Savior?
I don't know what course this particular ELCA ship is sailing, or what ill wind blew its signals awry, but what ever tack they mean to be on, I'm afraid they have missed their stays...