Billboard-gazers across America instantly recognize the stark messages of the "God Speaks" advertising campaign: black signs with white lettering, and no logo. The campaign, which has run in more than 200 cities since its debut in September 1998, was initially funded by an anonymous donor in Florida who wanted to remind people to put God back into their everyday lives. It has since gotten national media attention and become the pet project of the national trade association that governs billboards, which put the messages on 10,000 outdoor signs in 1999.

In this slim volume, Charles Robb, one of the advertising brainchilds of the campaign, collects 71 of its pithy sayings, preserved in their original black-and-white lucidity. God speaks in the first person about prayer, faith, parenting, and the state of the world ("The last time things were this messed up, I sent a flood," warns one of the more ominous ads). Some of the messages are humorous--God muses, "Boy, these millenniums just fly by, don't they?" and asks teasingly on one billboard, "Is this the sign you've been waiting for?" Although a few messages are stern calls to repentance, God generally comes across as a wistful, loving parent who wishes we weren't incommunicado ("Remember how we'd talk every night at bedtime?" asks God. "I miss that.").

This collection will make a valued gift book for aficionados of the "God Speaks" campaign, though others may pause before shelling out big bucks for a book whose succinct contents are available for free on the freeway.

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