Neon signs and churches
By David Thiessen
There was an article recently in the one of the Korean English daily newspapers which talked about the drive to dim neon signs at night. Most of the article was directed at the churches who refused to comply as they stated they needed their neon cross symbols lit up all night for their own reasons.
This article is actually directed to the churches as they have some misguided idea that they need to waste electricity keeping these signs on throughout the dark hours. The un-churched world already knows where churches are located and really do not need a brightly lit symbol to bring them to your doorstep.
The un-churched world, even though they may have never darken the doorstep of a church in their lives, also already knows that the church is where they are to go if they need help, especially when all other options fail.
The church really does not need to have their symbols reducing the available energy for the town. God also knows where they are located and He is wise enough to lead people to you when they need your assistance. The church really needs to be the leader in this and many other issues, for if the church helps the community by saving energy then that is a seed planted and removes stumbling blocks in the hearts of the un-churched.
It is sad to see how the church ignores what the Bible teaches and rely too much on secular ideas for church growth. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that believers are the light to the world, not symbols, and that we believers are to let it shine before men. Unfortunately, too many who claim to be Christian detour to alternative beliefs and present themselves as a wrong witness for Christ and pursue the things of this world in direct disobedience to God’s instruction.
This issue of dimming cross signs pales in comparison to the real issues the church needs to deal with. The papers are filled each month with articles on suicides, broken homes, corruption, the sex trade, pornography, hunger and so much more. Jesus does not want His people to shy away from these problems and be available to be used by Him for those who hurt (whether they be believers or not).
Neon crosses cannot provide the assistance God’s creation needs but lower energy costs will as the saved money can be used to meet the needs of those who have been deceived, misguided, or unemployed.
People whose lives reflect Jesus’ true biblical teaching, (not prosperity gospel ideas) will outshine the neon crosses even at night. The crosses are very limited and are stuck to the roof of the many church buildings thus their ability to meet needs is very limited but people can go anywhere and if they are properly prepared and guided by the Holy Spirit can do so much more for Christ than those red symbols.
The neon crosses do remind people that Christ is real and His ways are correct but that is all they can do. The congregation of each church needs to reinforce that reminder by living the Christian life correctly. Now I am well aware of many true Christians who do this but the job is big and they need true help in meeting the needs of the people of Korea. Sometimes all it takes is complying with a government request or regulation.
If the Christian does not lead the way in living Christ’s message, who will? Certainly not the unbeliever for they know nothing of Christ and His ways nor want to. Certainly not the cultists for they do not believe in Jesus or His message.
The church needs to look for other areas that do not make them compromise their faith and take action to help for sometimes true revival starts which the simplest of actions, like turning a switch off.
The writer is an English teacher in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.