You know, I moved into a new neighborhood about six months ago, but I still drive through the old one on the way to work in the morning.
Anyway, I drive past a church in the old neighborhood that has one of those marquis signs out front, upon which some wisenheimer makes a monthly attempt at pithy humor.
This morning's effort read DEATH - END OF EXCUSES, BEGINNING OF ETERNITY.
Now, here's my question: Um, excuses? I wonder if Mr. or Ms. Pithy was referring strictly to backsliding Christians, as in stop making excuses and come to church; or, to everyone who doesn't attend church, as in stop making excuses and come let us tell you how it really is. I wonder if he or she also meant non-Christians. As in, stop making excuses and become a Christian.
I wonder if he or she sees all other religions as excuses.
I'm probably reading too much into it. It's probably nothing. But I definitely remember, from my church-going years, how the Christian Church teaches that all other religions (except maybe Judaism, since Christ was a Jew) are illegitimate cults, providing excuses for the weakminded to avoid their Christian responsibilities. Being anything other than a Christian was, after all, a form of deviant behavior, reserved only for those who didn't want to fit in.
So, what? Should the sign read DEATH - THE END OF YOU NOT BEING ONE OF US? Should it read DEATH - WE TOLD YOU SO? The implication, if one chooses to see it that way, is that if you're not a Christian (and by extension a member of this particular congregation), death is coming - and whatever you have to say is just an excuse.
And when the day is done, and I'm sitting alone in my contemplatin' spot, I can't help but wonder what these church-going, sign-posting, Jesus-bumpersticker-sporting Christians would name as the difference between their brand of religous intolerance and radical Islam.
Now, stop making excuses and pray to Mecca. Infidel.