January 24, 2008

Churchyard signs.



(Enlarge #1. Enlarge #2.)

IN THE COMMENTS: Inwood says:
STRANGER if you, passing, meet me and desire to speak to me, fuhgedaboudit; get on a blog and we'll write.


reader_iam said...

No, but sometimes people do. The live ones, that is.

Bob said...

In reply to sign #1:

God? Never met the gentleman. It's the Godly who keep me out of church.

Damn, I've been reading too much Hitchens lately.

former law student said...

I first ran across the UUs decades ago: a Hindu-Jewish couple of my acquaintance wanted to get married in church. They're good places to hang out for the formerly Christian.

ricpic said...

Unitarianism: for those who hunger after that good spiritual vibe without all the pesky God stuff thrown in.

George said...

more than 1,000 church sign messages, searchable by topic....as in...


Exposure to the Son may prevent burning.

Elliott A said...

The irony of the bottom sign is that in NY attempts to speak with strangers are met with "What the hell is wrong with you" stares. In the south where many more people (percentagewise) attend church, strangers talk to each other all the time. It is practically impolite to NOT say "Hello".

Paddy O. said...

It's very safe to be a stranger.

What are we protecting? What are we hiding? It's a curious thing. Even more curious how churches can be among the most isolating places around. Not really how it should be though.

Course, now that I'm writing this I see how the signs go together.

"If God had a name, what would it be
And would you call it to his face
If you were faced with him in all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question

And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

If God had a face what would it look like
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints and all the prophets

And yeah yeah god is great yeah yeah god is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
He's trying to make his way home
Back up to heaven all alone
Nobody calling on the phone
Except for the pope maybe in Rome"
--Joan Osborne

From Inwood said...

STRANGER if you, passing, meet me and desire to speak to me, fuhgedaboudit; get on a blog and we'll write.

Pogo said...

Was Walt Whitman looking for a sock in the nose, or a date?

Skeptical said...

Joan Osborne sang it, but Eric Bazilian wrote it.

Chip Ahoy said...

Irritate a pendant kit.

contains 15 superfluous comma stickers.

[, , , , ,
, , , , ,
, , , , ,]

Stick them everywhere with undisciplined abandon. Create unnecessary breaks! Be a poet!

From Inwood said...


Re unnecessary commas: Your comment is quite perceptive.
But, I suspect that you are not now, and have apparently never been, a lawyer.

My shop was once ruled by a comma-obsessed fellow. I, once, young, pettifogging a document at a negotiating session, was told by the lawyer for the party of the second part that he had a box of commas & that I was free to insert any of them anywhere in the document so long as they did not change the meaning of the sentence in question. After that, each time I made a rather reasonable, substantive suggestion of the need for a comma, &, worse from my POV, the need for a word change or additional words I felt necessary to protect my client’s rights, he, cleverly, rolled his eyes.

I, not surprisingly, began to look, well, foolish even before my own clients.

Contract Negotiation 101, subsection (A) Legal Draftsmanship. A painful lesson, indeed.

Anyway, I claim that my frequent use of commas above is entirely reasonable!

BTW, Whitman's use of commas, if the sign is correct (& I'm not gonna Google to find if it is), reminds me of the current use, especially in Blogs & e-mails, of the period for misplaced emphasis creating a string of sentence fragments, as in "This. Is. Stupid. Really. Enough."


From Inwood said...

Prof A

On a serious note about commas, see last week’s decision in Ali v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, href=“http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/06-9130.pdf.

[Note: Out of laziness, the following summary is based on Volk, tho I have read the opinion & dissent & other blogs.] This case involves 28 U.S.C. 2680, which limits the Federal Tort Claims Act's waiver of sovereign immunity in a range of situations. The question was whether the reference to the term "any other law enforcement officer" is implicitly limited to other law enforcement officers acting in the assessment or collection of a tax or customs duty, or whether it means any other law enforcement officer acting generally. Justice Thomas argues the latter; Justice Kennedy argues the former. This seems, then, a simple, not unusual interpretive exercise trying to make sense of a rather awkwardly written statute.

[Back to me]Kennedy’s dissent notes that Thomas’ majority opinion is “placing implicit alliance upon a comma at the beginning of a clause.”

Some have wondered whether this shot is an indication that dissenter Kennedy might agree to the “militia only” view of the commas in the Second Amendment & Ginsburg, who signed on to the Majority view, to the "individual-right" view.

I, being cynical, see many of the justices as being less concerned with individual right and for that matter states rights than in what they may “feel” is a higher danger in the current situation of an armed citizenry, resulting in a fiat from “Those Who Know Better”, a/k/a Government By Judiciary”. How these eminences will think, if they indeed do, that such reasoning will disarm the bad guys will be interesting to see.

Anyway, in general, see “Punctuation” in A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, especially the part about using commas for “misplaced emphasis.”

And then there is that famous sentence “Woman without her man is a failure.” With the addition of commas we get two different meanings. (That is, “Woman, without her, man is a failure” vs. Woman, without her man, is a failure.”)

I leave it to you to punctuate the following "Althouse without her commenter is a failure"!

Sigivald said...

You know, I'm an atheist, of the never-been-religious, don't-hate-religion variety, and I can't even take the Unitarians seriously.

If I wanted religion, God would be the entire point.

When your church's main sign has more notices about bicycling than about morals, ethics, or religion, you're not really a church anymore and should consider re-branding to something more accurate.

somefeller said...

That may be what you want out of religion, sigivald, but that's not a necessary part of religion. Buddhism and Taoism, for example, are at the very least arguably non-theistic religions.

In any case, Unitarianism isn't necessarily non-theistic, and actually there's been an upsurge in theism within American Unitarianism in recent years. Unitarianism is basically a post-Christian religion, so while the divinity of Jesus may not be generally recognized (the Jefferson Bible and all that), the idea of some sort of divinity is not rejected outright.

Plus, most Unitarian churches have more signs about morals than bikes. The bike poster was obviously part of a church bulletin board, which in most churches is filled with mundane matters (church schedules, meetings, people selling stuff) more than ethical or theological ones.

pst314 said...

"[in Unitarianism] the idea of some sort of divinity is not rejected outright."


"Is God keeping you from going to church?"

"Come to the UU church. Now 99.44% less Jesus!"

pst314 said...

"Is God keeping you from going to church?"

"That's not God. That's the voices in your head. Buy more tinfoil."

rhhardin said...

Robert Frost in Ohio