Thursday, December 11, 2008

This can't be legal

There is a residential apartment building in Western Pennsylvania that has the following sign mounted on each door from the stairways into the hallways that lead to the apartments.


I just have to believe that the person who paid for these signs might not have been alert to the difference between "locked" and "closed." (In fact, none of the fire doors is locked, notwithstanding the stern written order. Some of the doors are often found open, perhaps left that way by people who are totally baffled about what the sign might actually mean.)

The desire to securely close doors has its place. Certainly, a fire door keeps residents safe when it is closed and slows the spread of a fire to other zones in the building. But locked? Should residents caught in a zone that is on fire have to remember to bring along a key to the fire door in order to escape? As long as they also remember lock the fire door behind them?

This sign has prompted my thinking about the church's responsibility for evangelism, which seems to be in radical contrast to the regulatory desire to bar the doors against whoever seems to be an unfamiliar threat. I pray that the church will rise to its high calling of being a "fire exit" for those who need its message of hope.

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