a sobering message from the golden eagle

Posted by on June 20, 2006


While at college in Tennessee, my roommates and I used to collect religious letterboard slogans and then verbally swap them at opportune social moments, trying to outdo each other. I wish I could remember more of them, but only a few come to mind, like, “Hungry? Try our Sundays!” Another letterboard located on the only route that one could take to reach the Ocoee River, a nearby recreational spot in the Cherokee National Forest, said, “There ain’t no fishin’ in the Lake of Fire.” Translation: “Are you skipping church to go fishing out at the river? Well, just keep in mind it may cost you eternity.”

Flannery O’Connor said that the south was “Christ haunted.” I picture some poor guy with his fishing gear in the back of his pick-up, his day’s enjoyment ruined by letterboard-induced sobriety.

I thought that I left letterboard theology behind when I moved north, but apparently not. This sign sits right on the border of Indiana and Michigan. I suppose as letterboard theology goes, the Golden Eagle Motel’s chosen message carries a bit more validity; it holds up to Cappadocian Trinitarian doctrine. I just wonder who, if anyone, it really speaks to. I remember hearing an NPR show (I think it was “This American Life”) about a huge metal cross someone set up on a major highway in Texas. I know if I drove by such a monstrosity, I would have one thought– TACKY. But the cross had turned into a pilgrimage destination and was taken as a sign of hope for dozens and dozens of passersby. Truckers would stop there to pray, people claimed that miracles had happened there, or that when they saw that cross, they heard something like the voice of God, giving them some pivotal direction about what to do next with their life.

My conclusion: just because I’m a snob and God can’t speak to me through road side establishments such as the Golden Eagle Motel, doesn’t mean he can’t speak to anyone that way. I doubt he would stoop to Lake o’ Fire threats though…and I have to wonder if the “Psalm 23 Hair Salon,” which is located about a mile from downtown South Bend, has ever born any eternal fruit.

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  1. Lucy
    June 21, 2006

    Maybe you should get a haircut there. I want to hear about it!!

  2. Lucy
    June 21, 2006

    The church letterboard that Kirill and I used to pass on our way to Starbucks once read “The Devil Wants to Orphan You”. It only lasted a day or two before being changed to a gentler, less memorable message. This is the NE afterall.

  3. anna j
    June 21, 2006

    2 of my personal favorites:
    “Wal-Mart isn’t the only saving place!”
    and
    “WARNING: Exposure to the Son may prevent burning! “

    Ahh, I love it here in the Heartland 🙂