Selena Gomez and Church Marquees

Selena Gomez and Church Marquees

Selena Gomez, in a photograph from her music video "Come & Get It." Here, it seems apparent that she is trying to make it very difficult to determine, exactly, what the "it" is.

Perfectly poppy and ultimately disposable, Selena Gomez's hit record "Come & Get It"—am I really going to admit this?—became the unofficial anthem for the Elmore Five family vacation, which this summer took us down to Florida and included Sea World and Cocoa Beach. Nothing says cruising I-95 in a 2004 Honda Odyssey filled with three children under 11 and containing strange fragments of once-identifiable food quite like: "You got the kind of love that I want/let me get that."

Suffice it to say: my wife and I stayed far away from and attempted to steer clear of any kid-type curiosities involving it. Such a small, almost throwaway word—always ever, it seems, in search of its referent. And oh that Selena: such a thoughtful girl to be so generous:  

You ain't gotta worry, it's an open invitation
I'll be sittin' right here, real patient
All day, all night, I'll be waitin' standby
 

First of all, for a girl whose last name begins with the letter, the casually dropped "g" really does have me worried—for the sake of the alphabet and all things linguistic. Second, where is this young lady sitting around all day and all night? Waffle House? Not the most evolved pool of men. Third, no one believes for one moment that the attractive Ms. Gomez will ever be waiting on standby for any dude. It's the thought that counts, I suppose.

This week, the tone or atmosphere of Selena's invitation—captured by the song title itself—offered me a surprise connection with the words "come and get." Driving my oldest son to football practice, I happened to pass one of those adorable, quaint church marquees. Undoubtedly you know the kind.

At turns cheesy, cheeky, and frighteningly indicative of Christianity's engagement with culture, church marquees are ironic even as they are iconic. However, what they usually aren't starved for is specificity; they are rather renowned for leaving precious little to the imagination. Like Selena's music video actually.

This marquee, in fact, said the following: "If you want some, come and get some." Yeah, I know, as audacious and silly as it was unspecific and mysterious.

By now, you can probably see why Ms. Gomez would be quite appreciative of a message like that. Who knows? Could a church marquee send her sensually spinning around in a field of flowers all the while singing: "Let me get that." It might make for an interesting video. Or not.

What struck me, though, at the end of the day, was how the church marquee—like the song—forces its socially awkward invitation upon us. Instead of it, we are admonished to long for some. Some of what? Come and get some? Some grace and forgiveness. Some eternal life. Some church, old-time or new school. Some Jesus. Some inspiring worship music. Some therapy. Some moral-ism. Some political ideology. Some culture-wars ammunition.

At least let's assume that the referents—Selena's it and the church's someare in entirely different cosmoses. Notwithstanding, I couldn't help but imagine the pastor winding up and berating the congregation: Absolutely nothing (not even Selena) is sexier than living for Jesus.


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