I wear a cross that I never take off. Once, I saw the form of the cross used in a way that made me uncomfortable. This is from May 2, 2011.
Over the weekend, I went into a nearby grocery store to buy several things I overlooked in what is supposed to be my once per week shopping outing. Nearing the entrance, I saw a young man with a table set up, obviously putting on a small scale fundraiser. I heard him ask another customer if they would like to contribute to the cause, some sort of teenage Christian work. As I passed by, something on his table caught my eye. There were a number of wooden crosses apparently for sale, not that uncommon a sight. What took me back was what was on these crosses; a variety of college logos, including prominent Texas universities, painted in the middle of the crucifixes in school colors. Over the years, I have witnessed the symbol of the death of Jesus used and displayed in various places and methods but never quite like this.
At school I raised the issue with both faculty members and students. Like me, my fellow teachers were appalled and like me, had never seen this type of symbolism. The kids were more divided. The older kids tended to be more open to the concept while the younger ones were more offended. I raised several points in our discussion, mainly that this could be viewed as a form of advertising. We talked about Christians who will not wear a cross due to personal convictions. I reminded them that these big schools are products and marketing bonanzas and I asked if they would wear a TOYOTA cross or a Pizza Hut cross. We looked at our own school uniforms which have a cross on the crest. I thought the most insightful comment came from Zak, an eighth grader, who said this:
"The difference is that we have a cross on our logo and what he was selling was a logo on the cross."Another likened it to what the merchants were doing in the temple when Jesus chased them out, accusing them of turning the house of God into a 'den of robbers.' There were defenders of the decorated crosses. Some thought it was a great marketing idea and believed the young man had no thought of being offensive, a point with which I concur and I applaud the teen for publicly sharing his faith. A number of the students also took into account that the money is going for a good cause which makes the addition of the logo on the cross acceptable. Right before the final bell rang, Brenna, our Community Service Coordinator, came into our eighth grade class and I put her on the spot, explaining the situation and asking for her immediate reaction. Without blinking, Brenna replied that looking at one of these crosses would leave the impression that our salvation comes from a college rather than the Christ. She put my thoughts perfectly into her words. What do you think?
Applicable quote of the day
"To endure the cross is not tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ."
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