Signs of the Times

Signs of the Times
By Annette McDaniel

An idealistic young pastor drove in to inspect his new church. He noticed that there were no signs at the edge of the town listing the various places of worship, so meeting with his advisory council he suggested a billboard with the Ten Commandments, sponsored by their denomination. The council leader informed him that their church and the town as a whole, leaned more toward political correctness and that the Ten Commandments might offend some of the citizens.

“I would be willing to pay for it myself,” the pastor offered, undaunted. “No, bad idea. We don’t want a large unsightly eyesore advertising our church.” Tongue in cheek, he said. “Well, we could make ten smaller signs, each one listing one of the commandments, sort of like the old Burma Shave signs seen along the roadside years ago.”

Another council member spoke. “I doubt if the city would approve any signs at the entrance into town.” “And”, he added, reading the pastors mind, “nothing in front of the parsonage either!”

“Alright”, the young man countered. “Can I have a small sign with one Commandment?”

“Perhaps”, the council president responded. “Which one?”

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” would be nice.”

“Nope. That won’t work. It would offend the Muslims, the Buddhists and the Hindus.”

“What about Thou shalt not make any graven images?”

“Definitely not! There are busts in the courthouse and a life-size statue of our Founding Father in the park.”

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain?”

“Are you kidding? My God, man, no one could possibly take that literally.”

The young man continued. “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy?”

“But which day?. The Sabbath is a different day of the week for the Seventh Day Adventists and the Jews.” “Won’t work.”

“Well, surely you can’t object to Honor your father and your mother.”

“Seriously? What about people with same-sex partners, what about orphans? You can’t be insensitive about these things!”

Thou shalt not Murder?”

“Well that might work. . . .“

“We could put it on that vacant lot across from the Planned Parenthood Clinic”, the pastor added calmly.

“Definitely not!”

Thou shalt not commit adultery?

The councilman stifled an uncomfortable snicker. “Don’t be absurd.”

Don’t steal?”

“You can’t offend the Payday lenders. I’ve heard we have members who use them.

Bear false witness?” This time the pastor sighed. “Never mind.”

Covet?” Forget it.

The silence in the room was oppressive. Finally, the pastor spoke. “What about love? Would anyone be offended with a commandment regarding love?”

Hastily the council put their heads together, then the leader spoke. “It’s unanimous and you can even put it on church property. What would it say? Thou shalt love?”

“Something like that.” The pastor said. The next Sunday the sign appeared. It read:


For the original TEN– read Exodus 20: 1-17.

For the First and Greatest Commandment read Matthew 22: 37-39

You will be tested!–JESUS

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About Annette McDaniel

Annette McDaniel

Annette McDaniel is a former elementary school teacher, former accountant. She has published numerous articles in THE BEST TIMES magazine and poems in various church school papers. She currently resides in Olathe, KS. She’s always willing to give a hand…”


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