As long as I can remember, the Christian Cross has been a part of my life. The Episcopal Church taught me that every time I walk by the Cross I had to stop and bow my head. I never thought twice about it.
When I was an acolyte, I would often carry the processional Cross into the church leading the choir and clergy with the congregation singing, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war.” Sixty years later, I have noticed that song is no longer sung. However, the processional Cross still “leads” in many mainstream churches. My only defense is to put “cross” in lowercase (to lessen its importance) and to keep emphasizing that Followers were about peace and love, not military stuff.
In seminary, the Cross was important, as a symbol and as theology. Supposedly, Jesus died on it to save me from my sins. I don’t believe that for a second. My take is that Jesus died because a few of the Jewish hierarchy found a way to get rid of the pesty Galilean.
In the past, when I traveled to other countries, I would pick up different kinds of Crosses, which resulted in a wonderful collection. Today, that collection is no more.
When I became involved in Progressive Christianity (about 1985), I started questioning all sorts of things, and the Cross was at the top. I realized it represented pain, suffering, torture, and violence for starters. As a Follower of Jesus, that is not what I follow.
The church says that the Cross was part of God’s divine plan, to have his Son tortured and murdered by crucifixion so I didn’t have to be responsible for my mess-ups. The church wants us to worship a child-abusing god who keeps us in a childlike state. I have no interest in that god.
When I thought through the significance of the Cross, I found it a hostile, derogatory, negative statement about the true message of Jesus—the one of agape and love. No longer would I bow at any cross, collect them, capitalize the word, or stand for the he-died-for-my-sins rhetoric.
I then started my campaign to “Cancel the Cross,” but I needed a symbol more befitting my Christ. It didn’t take long: the dove said it all. My objective is to replace all Crosses with the Dove, a symbol of peace, love, and beauty.
My plan is not going well. People seem attached to this symbol of violence and some Jewish guy being tortured for my sins instead of a symbol of peace and love, the Dove.
Want to help me crucify the cross?
Peace Love Joy Hope
Photo by IV Horton on Unsplash