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MustardSeed

The Cross

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There is a professor of Ancient Near East studies at BYU who talks about the cross as a symbol of Christ's atonement.

It's easter!  We celebrate with religions around the world this holy day.  There are similarities and there are contrasting elements in our worship.  One being that we do not use the traditional cross.  I'm sure this has been discussed here before but it's easter and I just listened to a program about this topic.

The professor believes we 'should' implement the cross more in our religion.  

I think that would be pretty great in multiple ways - that said, I have always felt sort of icky about the cross, mainly because someone gave me a chain with a cross on it when I was a child and my mother reacted as if someone had given me a dirty magazine.  It was confiscated and not discussed.  

I think the cross is beautiful, and very meaningful.  I think that Christ's sacrifice of death is so relatable.  I try to understand the atonement, and it is important to strive to understand it, but it is really abstract.  His death is a concrete concept and I can certainly appreciate the fact that someone loved us so much that he was willing to be in mortal pain and anguish and to be killed.  We down play that (I think) and we focus on the garden.   I'd be all about wearing a cross as a declaration of my devotion and gratitude for His sacrifice.  I wear the Garment but nobody sees that.  Well, as long as I'm not wearing my cheeky shorts.  

This is all just my thoughts and rambling.  Do other people see the cross as an evil symbol like I did as a child, or as a real problem?  And would it actually hurt us if we celebrated the cross?  Would it bring new understanding of us to other people?  Would it really take away from the focus on the atonement, or are we capable of multitasking?  

Note that I know this site has no power.  It's not like the option is on the table or like me commenting on it is going to mean a thing.  I'm just thinking out loud. :)

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Hey there!    Hope today finds you having a GREAT day!    I have thought about this topic many times.  I do not have anything "against" the cross per se'.  But..I think if you ask most Christans what they think of  when they say the word "cross" most would respond to "Jesus Christ died for us".  Is that a bad thing?  Of course not...he certainly did!   But....as we approach this coming Easter Sunday...my personal focus is on the living the Christ.  His resurrection....his overcoming death.  So, in that respect...I feel the symbolism of the Cross diverts our focus away from the fact that Christ lives.  I want to focus on, and celebrate the living Christ....not his death.  But, if someone were to give me a gift of a Cross...I would certainly keep it and cherish it.   Just my thoughts.....

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Posted (edited)

Yes today is a better day :) 

nothing is different, just deciding to do my best and stuff the rest. 

Thank you😇

Edited by MustardSeed

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put another way....If I were given two gifts...one a picture of Christ on the Cross,  or a picture of the Garden Tomb...and I could only choose one to display....I personally would choose the picture of the Garden Tomb.   

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There ya go!!!

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Well,  I hope you have a wonderful Easter this coming Sunday!  Take care!

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I don't think the Cross is evil at all!  When I was on my mission one of the people that I taught who was baptized gave me his crucifix and I cherish it.  But, I struggle to have any personal connection to the cross as a positive religious symbol of Christ because:

1) Seeing a cross does not make me think of Jesus.  It makes me think of Christian things (like a church, or a book, or a theology) but in my mind there is no connection between Christ as my personal Savior and the symbol of a cross (I hope i've explained that right).  I think i subconsciously see it almost as a marketing tool, like a shorthand way to convey "We're Christian!" more than a symbol of the Atonement.

2) Scary movies have ruined me when it comes to crosses.  The symbol of a cross is used so much in silly scary movies (and when it is it is almost always shown with no real power behind it and as something that the evil spirit easily manipulates) that religious iconography of any kind almost comes across as ominous to me now in some settings.  

 

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32 minutes ago, randy said:

put another way....If I were given two gifts...one a picture of Christ on the Cross,  or a picture of the Garden Tomb...and I could only choose one to display....I personally would choose the picture of the Garden Tomb.   

Absolutely.  

But we don’t have to choose, right? Is there an assumption that it’s either or?

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31 minutes ago, randy said:

Well,  I hope you have a wonderful Easter this coming Sunday!  Take care!

You as well friend

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2 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

Absolutely.  

But we don’t have to choose, right? Is there an assumption that it’s either or?

I don't think we have to choose, but I do think that as humans it can be difficult to equally mourn Christ's death and celebrate His resurrection at the same time.   One emotion seems to cancel out the other.  I think that's probably why so many members do choose to focus on what they see as the final result of the Atonement rather than the entirety of it.

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I was brought up in churches that do display the cross.  I don't think I'd use the word celebrate to describe it's use.  It is a symbol of His sacrifice (I don't recall it being referenced as an atonement).  It's supposed to be a visible symbol of His presence and an object to help focus contemplation.  It should help us remember Him but sometimes it seems to become an icon and distances worshippers from Him.  And the argument rages over whether it should be a crucifix with Our Lord visible, recognising His sacrifice, or be empty, emphasising His resurrection and that He lives.  It wasnt referred to that often as i recall and it feels to me that it is just another part of the decor.  Personally I think there may be less distraction and contention without it.  I'm sure there are others who feel differently though.  Again,  personally I wouldn't wear a cross and never have because too many use it as a fashion statement without meaning.  However, it can be a powerful symbol and there seems no reason not to wear it when it has beauty and meaning to you.

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3 minutes ago, sheilauk said:

Again,  personally I wouldn't wear a cross and never have because too many use it as a fashion statement without meaning.  

Oh this is so true.  This year's MET Gala theme was just horrible.  

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8 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Scary movies have ruined me when it comes to crosses.  The symbol of a cross is used so much in silly scary movies (and when it is it is almost always shown with no real power behind it and as something that the evil spirit easily manipulates) that religious iconography of any kind almost comes across as ominous to me now in some settings.  

The excessive use of crosses in jewelry and tattoos these days often sends me to a negative place as well, though relatively simple uses of it I find pleasing.  I think if symbolically significant to me I would be using a Celtic cross as the balance of it draws my eye (cross with centered circle)  and I love the knot effect many have as embellishment.

Crosses are more identifiers of being a Christian (when I see it in what I respond to as respectful usage) for me rather than bringing my mind to Christ.

Moroni statues/symbols function in pretty much the same way for me.  I prefer the ones blowing the horn as that says something to me.(Awake, awake, come unto Christ!)

Crucifixes actually make me think of Christ and I have no problem with them in most cases, but they can become distracting if they are focused on making it look as horrendous as possible....though that is likely more realistic than the simpler versions.

I understand that those who wear crosses experience them differently as well as many who see them, so not saying they must be only seen as identifiers, etc.

I never thought of them as evil.  Can't remember if I heard that growing up or if was just something we didn't do. Not something my parents or grandparents would talk about (they were never negative or said much of anything about other faiths, but were respectful when they did).  In most of my schools, my family were the only church members until high school and there (Bay Area) we were still small minority (ten to 15, I think I had 1 other member in 5 classes in the four years there, mostly one girl who was into science and gynmastics like me).  There were a number of Evangelicals I knew about, a few Jews, and my best friend from work was a catholic, but other than that I didn't know people's faith save if they wore crosses (I just missed them becoming fashion statements).  I remember thinking when I heard the revolver analogy (though I am pretty sure the first time was a guillotine) I thought it was silly and overdramatic.

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Oh this is so true.  This year's MET Gala theme was just horrible.  

I was quite shocked by that.  Here and there, someone who chooses it as an individual style, that I have come to expect.  Organized (at best using religious icons as playthings) disrespect in what is supposedly a high class, well educated gathering...very, very petty and smug. (Though taking a look at the link, it appears most were pretty generic, hopefully because they chose to stay respectful and not because too timid to go to the more extreme).

Edited by Calm
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12 minutes ago, Calm said:

I was quite shocked by that.  Here and there, someone who chooses it as an individual style, that I have come to expect.  Organized (at best using religious icons as playthings) disrespect in what is supposedly a high class, well educated gathering...very, very petty and smug.

Anyone can wear a cross. 

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Anyone can wear a cross. 

Of course. :)  So your point?  Not following your train of thought.

Edited by Calm

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Most non-catholic Christians who display the cross emphasize the fact that it is an empty cross, representing the living resurrected Christ and His victory over death and the grave.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Calm said:

Of course. :)  So your point?  Not following your train of thought.

As per the MET gala, celebrity bling, Google "cross bling." Wearing a cross no more makes one a Christian than wearing a Seahawks sweatshirt makes one Russell Wilson. Anyone can wear a cross or a sweatshirt. It's what one does that counts, not what one wears. Let your light shine through good works, not your bling. I have no problem with sincere Christians even LDS Christians wearing a cross. None whatsoever.

Quote

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

or

Quote

Let your bling shine before men, that they may see your splendid jewelry and glorify whom???

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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Posted (edited)

Deletion of pointless comment

Edited by MustardSeed

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I guess we simply can’t Assume or suppose somebody else’s relationship with their symbolic  Adornment

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1 hour ago, MustardSeed said:

I guess we simply can’t Assume or suppose somebody else’s relationship with their symbolic  Adornment

Certainly. Just as we cannot assume or suppose a lack of or an inferior relationship on the part of someone who chooses not to wear the adornment.

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I love what Richard Rohr (a Franciscan Father) has to say about the cross.  He has spoken on it often, so one can google his name and 'cross' and get several exquisite commentaries.  This is one of his most recent that I really loved:

The Scapegoat

I personally find the symbolism of the cross to be crucial.  The symbol of Jesus of Nazareth on the cross is a symbol for the actual cross.  The actual cross is our entering and progression in this mortal realm.  If you will notice that the human body IS the cross (shape of the cross).  Thus to enter flesh, to take upon a body, a mortal path, and all that entails--is our crucifixion.  We are all the lambs of God.  We are all Isaac bound to the altar.

The cross is only a portion of the progression template, but, again, a crucial portion.

As jewelry, I'm also in love with the cross.  I have a huge pink jewel encrusted goth cross.  I'm probably going to continue to look for other unique cross jewelry pieces.  And, yes, for me, it would be a celebration to be wearing it.

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21 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Certainly. Just as we cannot assume or suppose a lack of or an inferior relationship on the part of someone who chooses not to wear the adornment.

I’ve never come across that specifically but yes. 

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