Looking for a sign: Pondering Beer and Billboards

I love the power of visual aids in this culture of ours.  They really reflect the values we have as a society.


My husband and I were driving northbound on Rt. 12 near Wauconda, and noticed a standard billboard promoting beer, with a slogan that read, “Head to the Mountains.”

The very next billboard we came to, less than a mile away, was one promoting AlphaUSA, a course introducing seekers to the Christian faith, with a slogan that read, “Is there more to life than this?” and a man (actually is Bear Grylls from Discovery’s Man vs. Wild) standing on a peak overlooking mountains and holding up his hands.

Rob, my husband, pointed out how it was funny that sequential billboards had such seemingly opposing values.  By values, I mean the organization’s values on approaching life.  By no means do I intend to say that Christians are against alcohol (though there are some, with reason).  My husband and I occasionally enjoy a cool glass of brew (considering we are of age and we don’t live on campus).

What was uncanny about these two billboards was that both were juxtaposed on mountains, but this symbol meant completely separate things.

The Busch billboard is telling passerbys that drinking their ale is as chilling and as refreshing as some snow covered mountains.  Not much deeper than that.  The mountains evoke pleasant associations for many; they are beautiful, grandiose, awe-inspiring, and even a tad intimidating.

But the man in the Alpha picture is basically asking, “there has got to be something better than all these giant, monstrous mountains.  Yeah, they are beautiful…but why?  Why are they here, what made them?  Or, Who made them?”

I am glad that Alpha did not put a man drinking beer on their billboard with that same slogan, because not everyone likes beer (though that would have been more overtly ironic).  But everyone (for the sake of generalizing!) likes the mountains.  So to suggest that there is something better…that is thought-provoking.

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