Getting Our Message Crossed

November 30, 2007

My latest column came out today in the BGCM E-Message, the monthly email newsletter of the Baptist General Convention of Missouri. It is entitled "Getting Our Message Crossed" and offers some thoughts in reaction to a recent federal judge ruling that the cross is a secular symbol. Here is an excerpt:

The fact that a judge could see the cross as a secular symbol makes me wonder if Christians have given that impression. Do we act in such a way as to suggest there is no greater power represented by that symbol? When we slander our brothers and sisters in Christ or spread false rumors about others, we act as if the cross has no religious meaning. When we focus on political or legal battles, we act as if the cross has no religious meaning. When we hypocritically condemn the specks in the eyes of others while ignoring the planks in our own, we act as if the cross has no religious meaning.

If the cross has become secularized, perhaps it is because of the actions of Christians. Too often it seems that when the world looks at us, they do not see the hope and love of the cross, but fighting and politics. We have gotten our message crossed--instead of across--by acting like the cross has no impact on our daily lives.

It is time for us to be sure to live like those who have been redeemed by the old rugged cross. Its power and meaning must be evident in our lives. Otherwise, we are just proving that federal judge right. As philosopher John Dewey argued, "When men think and believe in one set of symbols and act in ways which are contrary to their professed and conscious ideas, confusion and insincerity are bound to result."
In the piece I also talk about the power and importance of symbols and the fact that Christians have not seemed too concerned by the judge's ruling.

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