Churches Get Mysterious and Funny

By Carmen Comment

The LA Times profiles Donald Seitz, who kept noticing funny signs on church billboards on his way home from work. He liked them so much he decided to seek out as many as he could and the result is the self-published GREAT AMERICAN BOOK OF CHURCH SIGNS. The signs are meant to enlighten, entertain and evangelize — in usually 10 or fewer words — and often give drivers a glimpse of what the church community believes and what to expect from the pulpit.

“Many of the people who read signs will not end up in their [churches’] pews, but they may be able to affect their lives in a positive way,” Seitz said, explaining why he spent the next three years driving 20,000 miles across 40 states to photograph 100 church signs for his book. “It’s like a sermon on the road.” Naturally, others, like blogger Joel Bezaire, don’t think the signs amuse. He started the blog, which offers “critical analysis of critically bad church signs,” according to the website.

Meanwhile, the WSJ’s Lauren Winner chronicles a new (if not exactly “popular”) trend in crime fiction of having clerical protagonists, as seen in series by Julia Spencer-Fleming, Katherine Hall Page & Phil Rickman, to name a few. She offers several reasons, but it all boils down to the last paragraph: “there is something both comforting and hopeful about the morality that governs the mystery genre. Good and evil are clearly delineated…In a world often beset by violence, such stories are enough to restore one’s faith.”