A Reverend Is Using His Church Sign To Spread Messages Of Love And Inclusion
There are so many horrible things going on in the world, so it’s important to take a step back and spread hope and joy whenever you can. Taking the time out to put a smile on someone’s face means taking the time out to do something that will make us all better off. And smiles are contagious, so if you make someone else smile, there’s a good chance that they’ll make another person smile. And then that person will make another person smile. Then that person will make another person smile. And pretty soon before you know it, everyone in the world will be smiling.
Who doesn’t want to live in a world where everyone is smiling? We wish that that’s what the world looked like right now. It’s nice to know that there are some people in the world who are making an effort to lift people. Like this one reverend…
It's A Sign
Rev. Adam Ericksen makes it a point to change the message on the sign outside of his church.
But instead of posting Bible quotes or important announcements, Ericksen uses his marquee to spread messages of tolerance.
After taking over the Clackamas United Church of Christ in Milwaukie, Oregon, just outside of Portland, Ericksen decided to use the board to spread his message in his community and to his flock. “The best way to do that is with this sign,” he said.
Growing In Popularity
When Rev. Ericksen took over the church, it had about 30 people who attended on a regular basis.
Since Rev. Ericksen, the attendance of the church has doubled, and now they have about 50 to 60 people who attend service there every week.
The signs have also been very popular on social media, and some of the signs have gotten more than 10,000 shares on Facebook, which isn’t too bad for a sign that’s located outside a church.
Honk If You Love Jesus
Sometimes, Rev. Eriksen will craft his messages based off of his sermon, or something from the Bible.
But he will sometimes also comment on what’s going on in the news with his messages. He has received a positive reaction for doing this. Sometimes people will honk when they drive by the signs.
“We’ve gotten hundreds of messages, including from transgender people who say they wish they had a church like this in their area,” said Rev. Eriksen.
You Are Loved
Part of their popularity is because it seems like people are looking for messages of inclusion.
“People are thirsty to know they are loved,” Rev. Ericksen said. “In every area there are pockets thirsting for this message of radical inclusion.”
Rev. Ericksen is not quiet about posting his political beliefs and his message of inclusion on his signs. He’s sharing it so everyone can see it and feel like someone thinks that they are included and belong.
Just Like Jesus
Rev. Ericksen says that his signs are relatively well received, and that “there’s been almost no criticism from the local community.”
Rev. Ericksen says that a few people have told him that his signs are too political.
But Rev. Ericksen is perfectly okay with that. He says he’s in good company with his messages. “Jesus preached the kingdom of God, and this was politically loaded message,” Ericksen said. “His harshest message was for religious leaders who marginalized people.”
A Mother's Love
Rev. Ericksen says that his mother is responsible for his inclusive interpretation of the Bible.
Rev. Ericksen said that when he was growing up, his father was the person who would insist that they went to church.
He said that his mother was someone who “cursed like a sailor.” Both he and his mother would leave church early before the service was over. Then, they would go to Taco Bell. It doesn’t sound like someone who would end up as a reverend.
But things changed when the unthinkable happened. Rev. Ericksen’s mother was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer.
Rev. Ericksen asked his mother, “Are you afraid?” “No,” she replied. “Jesus will save me.” The way that Rev. Ericksen’s mother behaved served as an inspiration to him.
“That’s the kind of radical grace that all people get,” Rev. Ericksen said. “Jesus loved my mom.” Those experiences can shape a person into who they are and what kind of message they want to share with the world.
Message In A Bottle
Now, Rev. Ericksen is sending a positive message to Muslims, immigrants, African-Americans, the LGBT community, the sick and the poor.
And it’s something people need to hear. “Thank you for helping me set aside the prejudices instilled from organized religon when they clearly had done my familia wrong.” wrote one person on Facebook.
What other reverend takes out the time to let people know how many hate crimes happened in the past year? We’re guessing not very many did.
Send Me A Sign
It’s great to see someone take out the time to make other people feel welcome in their community.
But Rev. Ericksen isn’t the only person who likes to play around with the signs in front of his church.
Many other churches switch up their messages beyond announcements and Bible quotes. Click through to see some of the many ways churches are having fun with the signs outside of their churches. You might end up learning something important.
The Tables Have Turned
It looks like Rev. Ericksen isn’t the only person who doesn’t want to build a wall.
This sign is encouraging people to share their good fortune with people who aren’t as fortunate as them, instead of trying to stop them from receiving similar good fortune.
You’re going to use the same wood, and the same hammer and nails. You’re just building something different. They’re both long and rectangular though. Are we taking this metaphor a little too far?
Spell It Out
We never thought about the words listen and silent in this way before until we saw this sign.
But now that we’ve seen it, we’re just going to sit around spelling out both of those words to ourselves.
We know that the point of the sign is to make us think, but all we can think about is how to rearrange the word listen in order to get the word silent. And by doing that we are silent.
We didn’t know that people had default settings. We thought that people all just came one way.
How do we access the default settings? Is there a menu that we can go to? Can the menu be found by pressing a button on the home screen on a person?
Seriously, how do we program this? We don’t know code. Is that going to be a problem for us in fixing the default settings found on a person?
You dog loves you unconditionally. And a lot of that is because you feed him his food.
Although, we’re pretty sure that this sign isn’t telling you to go around feeding people all of the time.
But that said, we know that people would also love you as much as your dog loves you if you just handed them free food. Who doesn’t love free food? Every single person and animal in this world loves free food.
This sign is funny because it’s true. There’s actually a mathematical formula behind this sign.
If you take the width of a mouth, then multiply it by the density of a mind, then divide it in half and carry the three, you can figure out how narrow minded someone is.
They teach you that in algebra class, but they don’t ask for it on the test, so a lot of people have forgotten how to do the frugal.
Lost And Found
This sign makes sense for people who are both lost in life and lost when they’re driving.
Do you get it? There are two meanings behind it. Although, a motorist who can’t find his way might end up a little confused when they walked in.
Also, why wouldn’t they just look at their map app? Do they not have their phone for some reason? There’s really no excuse for anyone who gets lost in the 21st century.
Lost And Found
Little does this sign now, the Three Wise Men actually did have GPS technology when they found Baby Jesus.
They just used the “Find My Messiah” app on their phones and it led them to right where they needed to be.
What? You didn’t know that they had phones during the Roman Empire? Well, you must not have been paying attention in history class. You were probably looking at your phone, and not the “Find My Messiah” app.
How does God know about Facebook? Does he have it? Can we send him a friend request?
We’re wondering if Heaven is high tech. It would be cool if when you reach the Pearly Gates if you could just check in on an iPad.
You’d still have to wait to see St. Peter, but you’d just write down your name, and then sit in a trendy lounge while you waited for your number to come up on a screen.
Let It Go
This sign might actually end up being a turn off to parents who had to hear the song from Frozen every two seconds.
Seriously, there was a time when children weren’t not singing “Let it Go.” They’d sing it, then start singing it again just as soon as they finished.
Just driving by this sign might be triggering for some parents. Even hearing the words “let” and “it” and “go” in any order is also triggering for some parents.
But unlike Tide, you should not put God in your washing machine with your clothes.
Also, God is not like Tide because he doesn’t come in scents like “spring rain” or “mountain fresh” or “fresh flowers.”
Also, God is different than Tide because he doesn’t come in pod form, and teens aren’t trying to eat Him because of a You Tube challenge. Although, maybe they should start. That would get kids going to church. If they made it a You Tube challenge.
Making A List
This is a really long list of people we’re supposed to love. But it turns out, you have a lot of neighbors.
It’s a good thing that there isn’t a finite amount of love, otherwise we’d have to pick and chose who on this list receives our love.
And it would be really hard for us to pick. All of these people seem like they’re deserving of love. We wouldn’t want to have to limit it at all.