Thanks to those of you who wrote in about that church sign I was puzzling over: “It wasn’t the apple; it was the pair.” Obviously, we’re talking about Adam and Eve and the garden and original sin etc. That was never really what puzzled me. What I’m slightly confused by is the point. Usually, I expect these pseudo-pithy signs to be theologically lightweight, as much about some faux-clever word play as anything else (enough with the homophones already … we get it … some words that sound the same can be spelled differently … thus creating momentarily interesting but ultimately pedestrian twists on meaning). But here we have something a little more complex than “seven days without prayer makes one weak.” Here’s a real hardcore condensation of the first tenet of Calvinism: the total depravity of human nature (remember TULIP?). That’s assuming the sign means to say, it wasn’t the temptation that caused the Fall, it was the corruption of human nature that threw the world into inherent sinfulness and cast a pall of spiritual darkness across the ages that ever and always testifies to the utter helplessness of human beings in their natural state. Wow. Now there’s a message of spiritual uplift that will perk you right up on your drive to work in the morning. Or even on your way home, exhausted and dispirited … that’s just what you want to see: a reminder that not only do you feel crummy, but you’re spiritually worthless as well. “Totally Depraved. Brought to you by your local neighborhood Baptist church, where we’ll help you up after we’ve knocked you down.” Actually, though, it could be worse. You could be driving by this message everyday (courtesy of a reader SL): “If Jesus was a racecar driver, Dale Jr would be in the dust.” Makes you positively yearn for some homophonic word play, doesn’t it?

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