“The friendly church on the corner.”
I do not know why they curl my chin hairs but church slogans do. It seems more and more Catholic parishes are jumping on board with this also. It is not just a theme for a year but a slogan to identify their brand like, “Finger lickin’ good!”
Perhaps this is it: don’t tell me who you are - show me. A parish or church already has a reputation in its neighborhood which no slogan will do anything to change. If you want to be “Christ centered,” don’t put it on a banner, figure out what the community can do to be more Christ centered. If you want to be known as friendly, don’t put it on your marque, do something to develop the reputation of being friendly. A slogan might be a nice interior reminder of what the community is striving for - like a mission statement - but there are better ways of handling it.
Slogans are also rather confining. A Catholic parish does many things and expresses it in many ways. Being “friendly” is such a small part of what we are supposed to be and “Christ centered” should be so obvious that it is like putting a sign on your dog that says, “This is a dog.” So what? tell me something I don’t know.
If someone wants you to know that they are trustworthy, the best thing they can do is simply be trustworthy. Then, after 99 times of trusting them they slip up, you think, “This is odd. So unlike him.” And the friendship is much more salvageable. If your trust is largely built on the slogan on their T-shirt, “You can trust me!” then if he slips up you’ll simply roll your eyes every time you see him and keep your counsel to yourself.
Mom always used to say, “If you have to say it, it probably isn’t true.” That is probably where I get my general angst with church slogans. They are quick and easy and don’t really do anything by themselves. But developing a community, a culture, a reputation, an environment slowly, over years, and gaining a good name is worth all of the slogans of the world.