intent to convert

I'm not much for proselytizing. Nor much, outside my close circle of friends, for expounding upon my spiritual beliefs. I tend to draw the line at random strangers publicly announcing religious beliefs, especially with intent to convert. (We should so make that a tort.) For me, there's a vast (and only rarely blurry) difference between two friends talking about the things that matter over coffee, and some random, unknown person trying to take a few minutes to convince me that their belief system is the right way to go.

This, from the person who still takes a quick look up at the sky every time she sets foot outside. "Yep, still blue," I catch myself saying, before carrying on with whatever life-fulfilling activity I was doing in the first place. (Trying to convert me is like trying to talk to a cat. Expend as much effort as you want, but all you'll do is wear out your voice and annoy the cat.)

It's hard to explain my resulting dumbfoundedness and general surprise, then, when I see signs like this one we saw today on I-65 southbound:

Avoid the Mark of the Beast!
Anti-Christ "will think to change times and laws."
Free Book 1-866-7TH-DAY-A
Advertising paid for by Eternal Gospel Church

Had to do a little bit of digging, but apparently the Eternal Gospel Church is an offshoot of the Seventh-Day Adventists, with a bit more of a penchant for attack ads that would make even Alabama politicians envious.

Apparently, some of their newspaper ads have been even more…ahh, impressive - somehow I think naming the Catholic Church as the biblical "whore of babylon" isn't going to go down well in this country…

Quoting a bit from one of their tracts, available here in PDF form…

"By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this three-fold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its constitution as a protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near…"

Now. I'd just like to take a quick moment here.

I realize that, in the years of's existence, I have taken the usage of em-dashes, ellipses, and compound-complex sentences to dizzying heights heretofore unimagined by rational, grammatical humans. I realize that I tend to let my modifiers dangle, my parenthetical statements confuse, and my extraneous clauses flap about in whatever breeze is handy….

…but please, please, promise me that if I ever write sentences that bad, that one of you will come over to the house to shoot me.

Out of pity.

I have to say, though; signs like these are starting to make me want to proselytize. I'm thinking that perhaps my true calling was right under my nose: the protection of innocent billboards from religious splinter groups. Not just the billboards - the graphic design programs, too. Think of how much safer the world would be if we could just keep billboards and graphic design programs from falling into the wrong hands.

It's harder for them to find the time to go out and piss off drivers on I-65 if they're forced to spend all their time hand-writing three thousand leaflets. Not only would they create fewer leaflets, they'd actually spend a bit more time making sure that they gave them only to people who were actually interested.

Now, personally, I found it funny that I saw such a sign while I and two of my friends were driving down to Birmingham to work in a bit of housewares-shopping and to catch a screening of Secretary.

Yep, that one - the little S&M-themed movie that's actually a little love story at heart.

I fear the Eternal Gospel folks would be interested in putting up a billboard about that, too.

We really should look into that proselytization idea. Might not be a bad idea.


My favorite lyric from Three Weird Sisters ... Faith is a matter of the heart, it's not a battle to be won.

Well, not the exact lyric ... but same idea.

heheheh. Ok, at least I didn't scare EVERYONE off with this post. There are posts that are easy to comment on, and some that are apparently just inspire nothing but a blank stare from everyone who reads them. I was starting to think that this was one of the latter.... You're right, Brian - there have been lots of times down here in Alabama that I've just wanted to explain to people that my heart/soul/beliefs are not a continent. They're not available for general exploration, conquering, claiming, converting, etc. Then again, I'm the kind of person who doesn't even answer the door if it's not someone I don't know. Too many instances of "you need to buy a copy of this book from me, a complete stranger to you, because it holds the secret to your salvation..." There's a point in all this. Soon as I figure it out, I'll let you all know.

Well, I got a laugh out of it, and I'm the biggest proselyte of us all! :)