Coming to a flagpole near you: an acknowledgement of the Divine, Creative Being. Two longtime friends, Doug Crandall of the Twin Cities and Mike Meginn of Kansas City, have become business partners in what could be described as an entrepreneurship for God.
The God Flag, a simple design featuring the black-letters “G-O-D” on a white field, perhaps symbolic of the totality of color in the midst of the void, will not replace the American flag, or state flags or those of other nationalities. Crandall and Meginn said it will help to remind people to include God in their everyday lives.
“In terms of the marketing of the word ‘God,'” Meginn said, “the more we thought about it, it really hasn’t been done – and not a lot of people in their daily trek through life, just trying to survive, have an opportunity to see the word God. Maybe they are making life choices based on the typical fears that many of us share. But it doesn’t hurt to bring God into the picture, to make life choices based on godly attributes.”
Both men emphasize that what they feel about the word “God,” and how they feel when they look at the God Flag, is irrelevant. They say what is important is how each individual who sees the flag feels. The last thing they want to do is tell people what the flag should mean.
“The God Flag, from its conception, really hasn’t been about me or Doug,” Meginn said. “We feel that the God Flag stands on its own.”
“The bottom line,” Crandall says, “is that we’re just two guys, and there’s nothing special about our thoughts and beliefs. It just happened to be that Mike came up with the idea and we we went for it.”
How did the idea arrive?
Mike Meginn: One spring morning last year, I was looking at my flagpole trying to decide what I wanted to put up on it. Being a veteran, the obvious choice was to replace my old American flag that was tattered and torn and faded and replace it with a new American flag. But, I saw a white flag up
there with three letters, G-O-D. Being an artist, I have a vivid imagination and I saw the God Flag up there. I thought, “Wow, this is great! I’m going to order me a God flag.” I went online and looked everywhere and could not find a God flag anywhere.
So I called Doug, threw the idea at him and told him what had happened. And then we started talking about the possibilities of a God flag, about what it represented for me and that I wanted to share this universal message with everyone else. The most important aspect of it is what the God Flag means to each individual.”
What does it mean to you, individually, if I may ask?
Doug Crandall: What excites me most about it is the thought of simply spreading the word “God” on its own. It’s not the word of God, because we leave the religious definitions and stuff to others. That’s beyond what we hope to do. We just want to spread the word itself. If you look at the finest of attributes that any good God should have, it would include love and joy and peace. What better way is there to show these attributes than as a flag that says God, representing all of those higher attributes. I think the word “God” can be more of a unifying force than it perhaps has been. I think it’s going to be fun just to spread the word “God.”
Meginn: When I couldn’t find a flag, we tried to locate companies here in the States that could manufacture the flag. They all wanted to charge some pretty outrageous custom flag rate prices, so I decided to make my own. I went to the craft store, and then the concept of a God flag inspired a moment that is very hard to describe.
I was working with the lady in the fabric area who was helping me decide what type of fabric would be best for a flag, for outdoor use. She asked outright, “What is this flag of?”
I said, “It’s a God flag.” I showed her a little sketch that I had made, and she continued to work with me on fabrics and how to make a flag. She started to ask more and more questions, such as, “Why God?”
I explained that God is all-inclusive, that it is unifying. It came up that I was a veteran, and she spoke of the soldiers that have been a part of her family, as well. It provided for a beautiful moment. I believe she was Catholic, but I’m not sure. It didn’t come up. We spoke of God, the two of us. And I shared that we hoped to give a portion of our profits to charitable organizations that are doing what we consider God’s work, helping those in need.
Moments of inspiration between two individuals, two strangers, have been reoccurring throughout this whole process of getting the God flags created, whether it was working with web designers or custom brokers. A receptionist at the custom broker office asked me what God flags were. I was wearing a hat that said “God flags,” and I explained to her what the flags were about. Apparently she’d been having a bad day, and she said I was the perfect thing that she needed for that day.
God touches individuals differently, and each of them is beautiful.
Crandall: The first God flag that Mikey made was given to a friend of ours who was driving from Texas to Minnesota to visit his mom. We were in Kansas City at the time. After Mikey showed him the flag and told him about it, our friend asked if he could have it to give to his mom, who was celebrating her birthday. Mikey gave it to him. So the very first God flag was given to our friend’s mom in Edina, Minn. He shared with us that it was a very touching, emotional moment when he gave it to his mom.
Those are the kind of moments that this flag has inspired. You can’t really explain how it happens, but it’s a joyous moment between two people. And it’s personal. That’s what we hope the flag will continue to inspire.
In our country, we have the phrase “One nation under God.” How will the God Flag resonate internationally?
Meginn: I have two friends, the owners of the convenience store down the street who are from Iraq. I don’t understand all cultures, but I do understand that there is a universal word for an Almighty. No matter where you stand in the world, no matter how you read the word “God,” it’s still God, and the attributes that are associated with God are universal. It is peace, love, joy, harmony.
Crandall: Compassion, community.
Crandall: These are human attributes every culture strives for in some fashion or another. We just happen to clump them all under that word and under the banner “God,” representing all of the best things we hope and strive for. It seems so simple at its basic core.
Meginn: When I hung my first flag up on my flagpole, the feeling I had at that point was that I was surrendering my will. I was proud. This banner of love flies outside my house every day, all day, every night. And when people drive by, they know that they could probably stop by my house and not feel threatened, and they’re going to know that I love them no matter who they are. I carry that with me when I go places. I’ve got a God banner hanging over my house. I’m the last person who should be bringing pain or any type of hurt to anyone, so my life consciously has changed.
I know that you guys want to do some events with the God Flag related to veterans. What have you planned so far?
Crandall: We have some tentative plans. We do want to establish relationships with veterans, especially homeless vets. We’d love to donate flags to them and let them sell the flags themselves and keep any revenues they earn. Right now, for every God Flag purchased, a $3 donation is given to an organization called Remote Area Medical.
Meginn: As soon as we first talked about trying to find a manufacturer and selling these flags, I had a hard time accepting the idea of making a profit out of the word “God.” I think that feeling answered why a lot of people are not marketing “God.” But then I started thinking of all the different ways that I could put this flag to good work. I want to give them to the homeless and allow them to give them to anyone who drives by. I like the idea of the poorest of poor giving the gift of God to somebody driving or walking by on the street – and I believe it will be received in good faith.
I want to do something for veterans. I am one. My dad died in the Vietnam war. I want to do things for the soldiers who are not being taken care of by the government.
The most beautiful thing about this is that we could sell one flag a month and the company, God Flags, can live on forever as long as I want to do it. I can afford to spend the rest of my life spreading the word “God.” It may be on a small level. I don’t have a problem with that. If one flag gets out there and gets hung up, chances are that somebody driving by that house will see that God Flag. And when they see that God Flag, they’re not going to tell their passenger, “Look, there’s a flag with G-O-D on it.” They’re going to say, “Look at that God flag.” And at that moment, they’re calling out the name of God. The more people calling out, the more people experiencing those moments instead of being filled with the frets of their day, the better for all of us.
How has the flag in your yard been an inspiration, Doug?
Crandall: When I see my God Flag out there flying – because I’ve got one hanging in my yard, as well – I smile. I smile almost every time I look at it. That’s enough for me. It really is.
Any final thoughts?
Meginn: All in all, it’s just exciting. This is truly fun. Just the idea that we’re going to be able to spend the rest of our lives spreading the word “God” and we’re going to be able to do God’s work and help those who might need some help. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
For more information on God Flags, please visit www.godflags.com.