(Wrote this on the last trip, but forgot to post it here.)
Driving out to St. Louis, one must pass that giant white cross in Effingham. It's astonishingly big. And white. And cross-shaped. It's not in front of any church or anything. It just sits there saying, "Hello, I'm a giant white cross. Wouldn't you like to try Jesus today?"
It turns out that, not only is that cross not unique, it's not even the largest of its kind. It turns out that, just outside Groom, Texas, there's another, even larger, one. If the Effingham one is tacky, this one is the grandaddy of tacky. This is the level of tack that glow-in-the-dark plastic Virgin Mary statues strive to be. If the higway billboard is to be believed, this is the largest such cross in the world.
At least the Effingham cross doesn't have -- and I kid you not -- a gift shop at the base. A place where, I suspect, you can buy all the Lost Behind books, replica crucifixion nails and Savior-flavored lollypops your little heart desires. If you told me there was literature there on how evolution was all a lie thought up by evil, liberal, university scientists, well, I wouldn't be one bit surprised.
I just don't see the purpose behind all this. I think I remember reading that the guy behind the crosses (they are done by the same person or organization or whatever) said they're so some truck driver driving along can see them and get a warm, fuzzy feeling, remembering that he's Saved.
I just don't buy that. I suspect that these (presumably conservative and evangelical) Christians really think unbelieviers will be driving by and have a Saul-to-Paul, blinding conversion experience. Basically, smack their foreheads and exclaim, "I could have had a Jesus!" It's very patronizing, really. But then again, the whole evangelical movement is pretty patronizing.
It seems unfathomable to these people that we Hellbound unbelieviers are that way, not because we've never heard the Good News, but because they don't believe it. They seem to think that all they have to do is tell a heathen that he is saved, he will see the light, and they will be responsible for rackinq up another point for God's side on the Holy Scoreboard.
Then he will need to spend lots at the gift shop.