Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Barfalicious Tackiness

The ELCA church down the street from where I live has struck again. Its lighted sign continues to aspire to ever greater heights of tackiness: "GOD'S LOVE IS NOT LENT, IT IS GIVEN."

Compare this to the following sentiment from an LCMS church sign an hour's drive from St. Louis: "LENT MEANS GOD GIVES UP HIS SON FOR YOU."

Clearly there is a thin line between tackiness and profundity. These messages have a great deal in common. But there are signposts to tell you which side of the line you're on. The one relies on a lame pun to convey what is at best a weak generality, at worst a trite cliche. The other turns an old cliche (giving up something for Lent) upside-down in a way that approaches irony, and elicits an "Aha!" Which one is doing ministry here?

No comments: