I'm on my way back to Ashland from the Bay Area where I spent Christmas. Here are some homemade signs I passed today:
"Saturday is Sabbath. Sunday is the mark of the beast."
"His blood, your sins."
"Are you on the road to Hell?" (Actually I was on route I-5.)
"Repent or be damned."
OK I get it, some people are convinced they're right about the afterlife, not to mention God's intentions and desires. But why is it always the stick and never the carrot? Frankly I don't find being called the "mark of the beast." or talk about bleeding (all over me) to wash away my sins, the slightest bit enticing. If anything it makes me want to run, not walk, as fast as I can in the other direction.
I find myself speculating about the childhood of the people who wrote those signs (big enough, neat enough and colorful enough, to be seen by drivers of speeding cars on the highway). Did they never get awarded a gold star? Nobody patted them on the back and said, well done?
Are they the ones who were sent to bed without dinner? Whipped with a belt? Locked in a dark room until 'You know how to behave'?
As for me, my two favorite religious signs are: "God is love," and "You are a soul inhabiting a body, not a body housing a soul.
I don't think the last is in the bible, but it makes me feel hopeful. How about you?
Alison Blake is both a novelist and a playwright. At the moment she is in a traveling mode and will be blogging from various stops on her journey.