After Pittsburgh, I Can No Longer Wear A Cross

After Pittsburgh, I Can No Longer Wear A Cross October 31, 2018

No longer will I wear the cross. I will stop identifying with this kind of Christianity. It’s one small step to saying to these dear Jewish people, “I am so sorry. My tears are mingling with yours. This is wrong.”


The cross I will no longer wear.My husband gave me this lovely cross a couple of years ago. It’s one of many beautiful ones I own and have worn over the years. But I can no longer wear any of them. I can no longer identify with a symbol of oppression that opens the doors of murder and anti-semitism.

Before Constantine took over Christianity and subordinated it to serve the power of military and political conquest, the symbol that followers of Jesus tended to use to identify one another was the fish. It was laden with rich meaning and free from any idea of death, destruction, suffering, and murder.

But murderous leaders need murderous symbols, and this one suited fine.

It caught on and has stayed. But because of these people, I will no longer wear it:

Joyce Fienberg, 75,

Richard Gottfried, 65,

Rose Mallinger, 97,

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66,

Cecil Rosenthal, 59,

David Rosenthal, 54,

Bernice Simon, 84,

Sylvan Simon, 87,

Daniel Stein, 71,

Melvin Wax, 88,

Irving Younger, 69.

I can no longer mark myself with a symbol, with a cross, that has, yet again, wreaked such indecent violence on such utterly decent people.

Christianity has a long, checkered, and generally destructive relationship with Judaism. It’s time for this to stop.

Those of us who have called ourselves Christian had better figure out that the person we say we worship was NOT a Christian, but 100% Jewish. He came to offer a fresh vision of Judaism, a return to its roots of being blessed in order to be a blessing.

Jesus recognized the importance of the Law and the deeper meaning of true holiness and profound love. He did not come to destroy the faith of his ancestors, but to celebrate it.

And we’ve blown it. I’m sick at heart, so sick that I have not even been able to talk about it.

But I will now, at least briefly.

Because of the Holocaust and the recent slaughter of the Jews, I will no longer wear the cross.Some years ago, I had the privilege of deep acquaintance with a Holocaust survivor. Through one of those wrinkles in time and space, I formed a sister-loving friendship with a woman whose parents both got through the endless years in German concentration camps. Most of the rest of the large family were destroyed, but Sarah and David, married only days before the German Nazis imprisoned David, managed to find one another afterward.

Sarah, terribly damaged mentally and emotionally from the horrors, was never able to embrace me as her daughter’s friend. But David, seeing how his daughter and I loved one another, called me another daughter and brought me into his circle of love and kindness.

One day, we talked about his faith. He had lost all hopes of faith by the horrors he experienced and witnessed, mostly perpetuated “in the name of that Christian god.”

And one day, his daughter told me another story as we were worrying together about the state of David’s health. He suffered from enormous, intractable back and leg pain and it had gotten measurably worse.

While David was in the camps, the camp’s sadistic leader had randomly selected one of his friends for yet another beating. This friend was terribly weak. David knew that it was unlikely he could survive even one more moment of torture.

David volunteered to take his place. The commander agreed–he just needed to beat up a certain number of prisoners. The particulars didn’t interest him.

David survived, but from that point on, for sixty years, he never had one moment free from pain.

This is the ultimate Christ-act, coming from a man who had completely lost his faith and who suffered endlessly at the hands of those who said they were acting in the name of Christ.

In the last couple of years, I’ve watched entirely too much of the US Christian community stand solidly behind an immoral man whose words and actions have incited massive amounts of violence and hatred toward anyone except white male “Christian” Americans. In this time, I’ve come extremely close to following in the footsteps of David and losing my own faith.

I cling to the hopes that true love and profound holiness will eventually prevail, but those hopes grow fainter each day, with each denial that the hatred consistently spewed by our Fearless Leader has nothing to do with hatred at the bottom.

This is a sick, sick parody of true faith.

No longer will I wear the cross. I will stop identifying with this kind of Christianity. It’s one small step to saying to these dear Jewish people, “I am so sorry. My tears are mingling with yours. This is wrong.”


Photo Credit:

Silver cross, by Christy Thomas
Holocaust memorial:  Anne Worner on Visual Hunt / CC BY

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  • Reese

    So, the murder of 11 innocent Jews by one nut-case social misfit is enough to make the “Thoughtful Pastor” renounce her Christianity? Seems a very weak commitment to the Cross, to me. How many Christians have been martyred through the thousands of years? How many Jews were murdered by Hitler’s non-Jews? How many non-Christians around the world have been served and saved by the charity of millions of Christians? And yet, the murder of 11 Jews by one nut-case social misfit is cause enough to make the “Thoughtful Pastor” renounce her Christianity?
    .
    Me thinks “Thoughtless Impostor” might be the more correct moniker for such a shallow believer. There was no Trump when Cain killed Abel, when Romans marched Christians in with the Lions, when Hitler gassed, when Mao and Stalin murdered perhaps 40 million between them, when Whitman shot from the UT tower, when John Wayne Gacy raped, tortured and killed Chicago boys, when Tojo death-marched GIs through the jungle, when a million Rwandans were hacked, and atrocities ad nauseum prevailed upon God’s children. But, the murder of 11 innocent Jews by one nut-case social misfit is enough to make the “Thoughtful Pastor” renounce her Christianity?
    .
    Oh, I understand; this is about Trump. All about Trump. He is evil. He is rude. He has no feelings. He might even have three Jewish grand-children, but he still does not not really care. He was the US president who finally kept the promise of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, when others promised but never did, but that was “just for right-wing politics, not because he really meant it!”
    .
    So, Thoughtful Pastor, you will need to change the name of your blog. As you reject the Cross, you sure ain’t that anymore. What, who will ye be tomorrow?

    • She’s not rejecting Christianity, you twit. Learn to read. She’s just saying that she doesn’t want to wear a symbol associated with death and conquest anymore. Perhaps she’ll wear an old school fish if she feels like wearing any symbol at all.

      • Demeter

        I prefer the butterfly myself.

        • I maybe ought to find a Phoenix or a fish somewhere… except for the fact that I hardly wear jewelry of any kind anymore, and when I do, it’s usually one of the pieces I made myself out of polished shells from the local creek or a bone.

      • The Hon Alexander Mothershed

        A twit is someone who is silly or stupid. What a wonderful thing to call someone you disagree with. You and those like you both on the right and the left are a part of the problem when it comes to a lack of civility in American politics.

        • Xavier de la Torre

          Coming from a purely fallible human being’s perspective, “twit” was the perfect descriptor. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.

        • I did lose my cool and recognized it. Still, no regrets.

          The world just isn’t civil anymore. I’ve gotten sick of staying “civil.” I call things like I see them. One of my flaws, I am afraid, is honest bluntness.

          After all, the One I worship is on record as having called some people he disagreed with “a brood of vipers.” I’d wager a guess that such a fowl-mouthed rant translates to something more akin to our modern-use “Sons of bitches” in the ancient language.

          • Iron Mike

            Funny how you celebrate your own bluntness, but find it intolerable in others.

          • I don’t find it intolerable. I’m having fun. I like fighting on the Internet sometimes. I just find it as impossible to take you seriously when you shoot first with the insult “thoughtless pastor” to our host as you likely find me impossible to take seriously by using the word twit.

            Here are some more words for you… I could definitely go harder in my insults. Would you have rather that I call your “friend” Reese, or you a pultroon, a maroon or a jackanape? (I do love the old-timey insults).

            Heh, heh. Did you know that the nonsense expression “Gadzooks!” used to be high blasphemy back in Medieval days? It is derived from “God’s Hooks” and people thought that when cursing in such a way that they were literally hurting Christ in Heaven and re-subjecting him to the Crucifixition.

            Perhaps I could go “full-Trump” and use modern curse words. You don’t want to see me get creative. I’ll start using insults that will confuse everybody.

            Don’t worry about me. I am taking one of this too seriously. Internet fights are sport.

          • Iron Mike

            I think the heresy proffered by the thoughtless pastor is a greater insult to Christ who died on that cross for her. My characterization of her as “thoughtless” is a kindness that assumes her motives are not intentionally subversive and merely ignorant and self-serving.

          • Blatant insults are kindness now?

            You’re an unreflective, blithering idiot who really needs to read and think hard about what he is saying.

            I say that out of love, of course. It really is the kindest thing I can say to you. However, I bet you still feel insulted.

            Not that I care about your fee-fees.

          • Iron Mike

            Thank you. When you insult me for defending the orthodox teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I simply get blessed all the more. Feel free to bless me all you like. 🙂

        • Also pretty interesting that you’re “Tut-tutting” at me and are completely silent at Resse and Iron Mike who using the insulting term for our blog host “Thoughtless Pastor.” Why am I “being uncivil, oh noes” (which I fully admit that I am), but you’ve said nothing to them? If this were really about civility, you’d be calling them out (personally, not just with your blanket statement of “bothsideism” ).

          I’m just putting it out there that I do not give a rat’s (donkey).

          For the record, I’m not a Democrat. I’m an Independent who wishes that third parties were more viable and am wondering how a post / thread on theology got turned into a political fight to begin with.

          Then again, I don’t wonder. If someone posts a picture of a kitten online today, the comments will turn into a political battle.

        • Vucodlak

          A twit is someone who is silly or stupid. What a wonderful thing to call someone you disagree with.

          Yes, it is a handy term, isn’t it?

          Civility is a vice when the people with all the power have repeatedly labeled huge swathes of humanity as problems to be “solved,” wink-wink, nudge-nudge. It’s doubly wicked to insist that we must be nice to the inciters of atrocities when their followers start taking them at their word.

          • Iron Mike

            “Civility is a vice when the people with all the power have repeatedly labeled huge swathes of humanity as problems to be “solved,”

            Is that what Hillary meant when she labeled huge swathes of humanity as “deplorables” and dismissed them as racist, misogynist, homophobes?

          • She meant that she saw a lot of openly deplorable people as very vocal supporters in Trump’s camp.

            Perhaps she did go a little too far and should have watched her tongue – should have realized that not everyone who was behind Trump was behind him for (openly) racist, sexist or classist reasons, and it did backfire her in a bad way, since people took up the label as a matter of pride.

            However…

            Skinheads and the Klu Klux Klan members were among very vocal supporters of Trump while being very vocal about who they were. I, for one, am not going to apologize, EVER, for seeing them as deplorable.

          • Vucodlak

            See, the difference here is that Clinton never suggested that “the deplorables” should be rounded up and/or harmed, or made any remotely equivalent statement. The current administration, on the other hand, has built and used concentration camps for some of the targets of their hate, and there is every reason to expect the camps will soon include other “enemies,” because that’s what men like Trump do. Trump has made it abundantly clear that he wants to kill the refugees in the caravan, that he wants to be able to arrest journalists who criticize him, and that he wants to torture people. He’s repeatedly expressed admiration for dictators who do such things.

            It’s also different in that the portion of Trump supporters who Clinton named “a basket of deplorables” are, in fact, racists, misogynists, and homophobes. Whether such people are deplorable is, I suppose, a matter of personal taste, but I know plenty of Trump supporters personally. Many of them are people who tell me to my face that people like me should be locked up or killed. They say these things to me because I don’t have “queer” or “mentally-ill” or “leftist” tattooed on my forehead, and they assume I’m one of them. I just put on my best poker-face, keep my mouth shut, and watch my back.

            In other words, Clinton was making an accurate assessment of her opponents most ardent supporters. Trump lies every time he opens his mouth.

            It’s cute that you think that was a gotcha, though.

      • Iron Mike

        If you and the thoughtless pastor think the cross is a symbol of death and conquest, then you have no idea what the cross represents in Christianity or even Christ himself.

        • Maya Bohnhoff

          Iron Mike, when Columbus and men like him arrived in new lands and forced the local populations to convert to his form of Christianity, what symbol do you think he held up for them to bow down to? Look it up. He recited to these people what was called The Requirement which said, essentially that these people must “recognize the Church” and “take the King as lord of this land and obey his mandates.” “If you do not do it,” he recited, cross in hand, “I tell you that with the help of God, I will enter powerfully against you all. I will make war every way that I can. I will subject you to the yoke and obedience to the Church and to his majesty. I will take your women and children and make them slaves. The deaths and injuries that you will receive from here on will be your own fault and not that of His Majesty nor of the gentlemen that accompany me.”

          To reject this is not to reject Christ, but to embrace Him.

          • Iron Mike

            How silly—there are infinite examples throughout history where Christians have gotten it wrong. Do we somehow blame Christ for these failures? Remember that it is Christ himself who established the cross as a symbol of faith. So to reject HIS teachings on the significance of the cross is to reject Him. When you pick and choose what Christian doctrines you believe, it is not Christ you believe in—it is yourself.

          • Chari McCauley

            Please show us which verse you are writing about.

          • Iron Mike

            Jesus spoke about the cross, knowing it would become the instrument of his sacrifice and the salvation of those who chose to follow him.

            He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel* will save it.” (Mk 8: 34-35)

            “…whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” (Matt 10:38)

            How about some notable theologian quotes about the significance of the cross?

            “The cross is the victory, the resurrection is the triumph…The resurrection is the public display of the victory, the triumph of the crucified one.” ― Leon Morris

            “All of heaven is interested in the cross of Christ, hell afraid of it, while men are the only ones to ignore its meaning.” ― Oswald Chambers

            “Unless you see yourself standing there with the shrieking crowd, full of hostility and hatred for the holy and innocent Lamb of God, you don’t really understand the nature and depth of your sin or the necessity of the cross.”
            ― C.J. Mahaney

            “It was not nails that held Jesus to that wretched cross; it was his unqualified resolution, out of love for his Father, to do his Father’s will—and it was his love for sinners like me.”
            ― D.A. Carson

            “God hold us to that which drew us first, when the Cross was the attraction, and we wanted nothing else.”
            ― Amy Carmichael

            THIS is the cross that our thoughtless pastor disavows. Disavowing the cross is a rejection of Christ and in Jesus own words, makes someone unworthy of Him.

          • “Take up your cross and follow me” is a reference to self-sacrifice, renouncing the pride and greed of the world – doing that which hurts to do the right thing. And yes, it is about identifying with Christ, even as the world will be against you… but…

            It’s not a command to wear a little chunk of gold around your neck, or as a pin, or on a T-shirt.

            You seem to have the two confused. Throughout this thread. It’s kind of obnoxious.

          • Iron Mike

            You seem to think this is only about rejection of “…a little chunk of gold around your neck, or as a pin, or on a T-shirt” and fail to see that is ALL about rejection of what it stands for. The thoughtless pastor is very clear the symbolism of the cross means something very different to her (and to you) than it does to Christ. Guess what? In Christianity, you don’t get to define Christian symbols—Christ does!

            Christ taught the meaning of these symbols and when you redefine them, you redefine Him. You don’t “better identify with Christ” by rejecting a central symbol of his ministry. Sorry, but if you have to resort to amime to redefine Christian symbols, then you’re missing the mark.

            That is orthodoxy—if you have a problem with it, take it up with Christ. These are HIS teachings, not mine.

          • Last time Christ spoke to my heart, he seemed to be pretty chill.

            And please stop putting words into my mouth that I did not say and thoughts into my head that I did not think. I never said that I rejected the Cross – just that I don’t wear it as jewelry anymore (and think that if you want to take your cited verses literal-literally, you need to go to a lumber-yard).

            From what I could tell, TP was saying exactly the same. They don’t want to wear a symbol that alienates people and stands – for them, and many others – more for violence and conquest rather than humility and sacrifice.

            But… I waste my (typing) breath. I actually don’t think you’re dumb. I think you’ve just painted yourself into a corner – started out in outrage, wanting to “poke the libs” or something and you’ve got yourself worked up into a righteousness-boner. Righteousness-boners feel good. Admitting that you maybe misread something or even trying to see something from another perspective deflates a righteousness-boner (with a sad-trombone sound, wah, wah), so you’re going to keep your rage-boner up for as long as possible, even if it means pretending people are saying things they are not saying.

            You came on here to defend the Apples. I’m saying “Apple! Apple! Apple!” and all you’re hearing is “Banana! Banana! Banana!” because that’s what you want to hear.

          • Iron Mike

            Not putting words in your mouth and thoughts in your head. If I had, your pontifications would be far more profound. I personally don’t care whether you wear jewelry or dance naked in the public square.

            But the only one who has been painted in a corner here is the thoughtless pastor and her supporters who arrogantly believe they have the power to redefine the meaning of the cross in order to make a foolish public display of it’s disavowal and raise themselves on a moral pedestal. It is transparent, empty, and sad.

          • WingedBeast

            You don’t think you’re raising yourself on a pedestal, here? With your attitude as though you can dictate onto others what they mean, rather than actually taking into account what they, themselves, say on the matter?

          • Iron Mike

            The only one I am raising on a pedestal is Christ himself. It does not really matter to me what others think it means—only what Christ means when he taught it. When others raise themselves from the dead, let me know and perhaps I’ll reconsider.

          • WingedBeast

            You’re certainly raising yourself up on a pedestal. After all, you’re saying that you can’t be wrong about what Christ believes and prioritizes… and that he prioritizes a symbol over people.

            If you weren’t raising yourself up, you would acknowledge how readily you can be wrong about that.

          • Iron Mike

            Not at all. The only thing I’m doing is sharing the same truth preached for the last 2,000 years. It is YOU who asserts that Christ prioritized a symbol over people, not me or Christ. I am simply asserting what Christ taught. I am raising Christ on a pedestal and acknowledging his teachings as he taught them. Your problem is with Him, not me.

          • WingedBeast

            I’m not asserting any such thing. I’m pointing out that the reason the poster no longer uses the cross is precisely as a means of treating others as she would like to be treated, of treating other people as though they are more worthy than a symbol. You are arguing against that.

          • Eh, he believes that he is the direct arbitrator and mouthpiece of God – perhaps the only one here, and the only person here with the CORRECT interpretation of the Bible. How could he not be? His avatar is an AMERICAN EAGLE with a stern stare!

            In other words, to put it in video game terms, he’s Heimskr of Skyrim. “Trust in Heimskr, for I am the ONLY chosen of Talos to spread his holy word!”

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWq9PZ_PB-0

          • WingedBeast

            Iron Mike, your argument assumes that symbology is both concrete and objective, that the cross *must* mean to everybody what it means to you and that said meaning *cannot* change through ongoing history and cultural context… and I call bullshit.”

            The swastika once referenced protection from evil. Now, it represents the Nazis. Now, we are not obligated to accept that symbol’s previous meaning because history has changed the context.

            The argument is that the context has changed, due to the actions of, among others, mass shooters, racists who claim to own Christianity, and assholes who claim that you’re not allowed to do Christianity other than they, themselves, dictate, including demanding that you do so only with a lower-case letter “t” that other people have used to cover their evils.

          • Iron Mike

            “…your argument assumes that symbology is both concrete and objective, that the cross *must* mean to everybody what it means to you and that said meaning *cannot* change through ongoing history and cultural context… and I call bullshit.’

            The flaw in your reasoning is you seem to think I offered what the cross means to “me” and I am somehow imposing my “argument” on others. Not so. I am simply sharing what “Christ” taught about the meaning of the cross, which has been preserved for 2,000 years as orthodox Christian theology. You are welcome to call bullshit on Him if you like, but you are not entitled to redefine His teachings.

          • WingedBeast

            Hiding your hubris behind Jesus does not turn it into humility.

          • Iron Mike

            What you perceive as hubris, is nothing more than my confidence in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Your argument is with Him, not me.

          • WingedBeast

            No it’s not. Because the Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t in discussion, here. It’s one symbol that’s in the discussion. Claiming that Jesus follows your concern with the use of a particular symbol over the treatment of people doesn’t make it so.

            Again, hiding hubris behind Jesus does not turn it into humility.

          • Iron Mike

            The Gospel of Jesus Christ is absolutely in discussion here. You cannot separate the cross from Christ and still have the Gospel. Jesus does not follow my concern—I follow HIS concern. Confusing confidence with hubris does not make it reality.

          • WingedBeast

            You follow his concern… unless you’re mistaken on him being more concerned with that symbol than with people.

          • Iron Mike

            What an odd conclusion that is not based in anything I offered. Please point to where I claim Christ more concerned with a symbol than people. Sophistry!

          • WingedBeast

            Your entire argument is predicated on exactly that. The poster of this blog makes a statement on why she’s abandoning a particular symbol, because of its current use in hate crimes, and you argue against it on purely the basis of protecting the symbol. You haven’t even attempted to argue that she’s incorrect that the symbol has been corrupted by those who have used it as a symbol of hate.

            That’s your priority and you’re arguing that that is, in fact, Jesus’s priority.

          • Iron Mike

            The fact that the cross has been misappropriated and used in hate crimes is not exactly a new phenomenon. The cross has been used to rationalize atrocities throughout history. The question is whether fallible human beings can as the result of misconduct, therefore change what an infallible God has defined. My argument is that Christ defined the meaning of the cross and no amount of misappropriation can change that meaning. Jesus priority is my priority.

          • WingedBeast

            It’s a word, a symbol that could be used, in a time and a place, to mean a thing. History kept going and now, someone has come to the conclusion that it can’t be used to mean that thing anymore, due to that appropriation. That someone isn’t giving up on Jesus or the values and teachings thereof, just on a lower case letter “t”.

            Why do you think Jesus has a priority, at all, of preserving that particular association? Why would that have any importance at all, when there are real people to be protected from such hate?

          • Iron Mike

            You are creating a false dichotomy. Preservation of the meaning of the cross does not preclude real people being protected from hate. The ultimate foolishness is to believe that by putting away a piece of jewelry that such hate can be eliminated, when the exact opposite is true. The cross—authentically lived, is the very symbol that eliminates such hate.

          • WingedBeast

            I’m not creating a false dichotomy. I’m pointing out the motivations the poster has for no longer using that particular symbol.

            And, the poster didn’t claim that putting away the piece of jewelry would eliminate the hate. The poster did, however, say that the cross has been used in the service of hate and didn’t want to support that hate.

            And, the cross is just a symbol. If it takes authentically living the values symbolized thereby to eliminate hate, why require that particular symbol?

            Surely, Christ, when seeing those who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, tended the sick, housed the homeless, and gave sanctuary to the refugee, wouldn’t care about whether or not two sticks joined in particular way were involved.

          • Erect a giant cross on your neighbor’s lawn (bonus points if they are minority-family) or on your own lawn in view of your neighbors and light it on fire as a symbol of “The Cross of Christ” and the “Light of Christ.”

            See how modern people respond to your symbol.

            Symbols have the context that a given society gives them.

          • Iron Mike

            Think about the implications of what you suggest. If the meaning of Christ’s teachings about the cross can change with contemporary society, then they have no meaning at all and are certainly not divine and eternal. Were that true, they would have disappeared in obscurity generations ago.

            In reality, Christ’s teaching about the cross is universal and eternal. It transcends society exactly because it’s meaning does not change.

            Wow–it’s almost like Christ is God or something, right? 😉

          • WingedBeast

            Let me reword what you just said. “If the symbology of the cross can change with contemporary society, the values that Jesus taught and espoused have no meaning at all.”

            Worded like that, you can see that it’s absurd. You can also see that what is being defended by such an argument is not the teachings of Christ but *your* belief that the symbology all revolves around your demands.

            Claiming that it’s Jesus and that you can’t possibly be fallible enough to have any error there is hubris.

          • Iron Mike

            You are rewording to suit your own argument. The reality is if the meaning of ANY symbol changes with the whims of contemporary society, then over time the symbol has no enduring value since there is no consistent understanding of its meaning. I am relying on a consistent 2,000 year understanding of the meaning of the cross, so my fallibility is irrelevant here. The real hubris is in those who claim the authority to redefine a symbol established by Christ himself.

          • WingedBeast

            To your point of any symbol changing with the whims of contemporary society, then the symbol has no enduring value… Well, “enduring” for how long? You might mean something more like “eternal” and “absolute” value. And, well, the cross never had that.

            Sure, to you and to other Christians, there might be the claim that the cross represents kindness and love. But, if you’re a Jew facing yet another pogrom, that cross represents hate, evil, and the excuses Christians make to cover over a tendency to genocide. Context changes symbology.

            To plant your faith on the symbology of the cross is to build your house upon sand.

            That isn’t to say anything about the values of Jesus. That is to say that symbology is just another form of language and all language is fluid. It changes. “Villain” used to refer someone who lives in a city or someone without noble blood. “Gentle” used to refer not to softness of touch, but to the having of noble blood. Words changed. Symbology does, too. That’s a reality of human life.

            You see, Jesus is not the cross. He’s not the fish. He’s not even the word “Jesus”. Jesus is Jesus. The symbology is a means to an end, not the end itself.

          • Iron Mike

            Yes—the cross has eternal and absolute meaning that Christ himself proclaimed in the Gospels and reflected in the writings of the apostles. There are infinite possible interpretations of the cross that are infinitely wrong—the only interpretation that means anything and everything is what Christ actually taught about the cross.

            Words matter. Jesus and the cross are inseparable. Without the cross, there is no resurrection and there is no Christ. Paul himself said without the cross, our faith is in vain. Yes—the symbol of the cross is a means to an end. But that means is defined by Christ—not by any contemporary uninformed opinion.

          • WingedBeast

            You’re saying that, if Christians today choose to use the ichthys and completely abandon using the cross as a symbol, then Jesus never died and resurrected?

            If so, then you’re saying any absurd thing that would win the argument for you so long as you can hide the absurdity.

            If not, then the cross is just another word, one that can change meaning and can be separated from Christ’s values and meaning.

          • Chari McCauley

            “Take up your cross and follow me” is a reference to self-sacrifice, renouncing the pride and greed of the world – doing that which hurts to do the right thing, being willing to DIE for what is right. And yes, it is about identifying with Christ, even as the world will be against you… but…

            It’s not a command to wear a little chunk of gold around your neck, or as a pin, or on a T-shirt.

            Can’t really say it any better. As The Lord said that wolves wearing crosses are to be watched out for, but not harmed. Who do you suppose He was talking about when He said throw not your pearls before swine?

          • If you want to read someone exploring these themes more eloquently than I have, here’s a post (that I also put at top) – that, despite me being a regular at the blog, I had to re-find when I was looking at a Cracked post.

            https://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2009/09/10/vampires-crosses/

            It’s cool because it involves vampires. (Metaphorical ones… not actual undead who will drink your blood, or chocolate cereal mascots or puppets who will teach your kids how to count). The post speaks of the “fancy golden cross in filigree” that is so popular that has drowned out the actual meaning of the Cross.

          • Iron Mike

            “Who do you suppose He was talking about when He said throw not your pearls before swine?

            Ironic that you should raise that question. The full passage is,

            “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” (Matt 7:6)

            That was immediately after the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus was talking to his disciples about those who do not receive his teachings as he taught them and those who seek to redefine them to suit their own political agendas (Pharisees).

            Jesus was drawing upon OT scripture, particularly Proverbs 23:9, “Do not speak in the hearing of fools; they will despise the wisdom of your words.

            Today, if Jesus were reading this blog, I suggest he might be talking to faithful Christians foolishly responding to the thoughtless pastor and her sheep who trample his teachings about symbolism of the cross.

            It’s very revealing that the most voracious defenders of the thoughtless pastor’s point of view are self-described atheists, pagans, wiccans, and the theologically ignorant. That alone should give the thoughtless pastor something to reflect upon.

          • WingedBeast

            You suggest that, because the thought doesn’t occur to you that you could be in error in any way on this?

          • Iron Mike

            The thought doesn’t occur to me that the earth is flat either. Could I be in error in any way on this? Nope. We have unequivocal evidence to disprove a flat earth.

            Likewise, the cross of Christ is a fundamental doctrine of orthodox Christianity. We have Christ’s own words and his apostles in the bible as evidence of that meaning. It’s your choice whether to accept it’s meaning or call bullshit. But you cannot do the latter and call yourself a disciple of Christ, because it was Jesus himself who said that anyone who rejects the cross is unworthy of him.

          • WingedBeast

            Then, it is not Jesus that you are defending, but yourself. Not Jesus that you are worshiping but yourself. Jesus becomes just an illusion.

            Otherwise, your fallibility would mean that you could be mistaken about what Jesus’s values are and, therefore, could be mistaken on whether or not Jesus would sacrifice the symbology of the cross in the name of treating others as you would like to be treated.

          • Iron Mike

            My fallibility is not at stake since it is not MY doctrine which I am defending. I am merely defending the orthodox understanding of the cross for the last 2,000 years. That makes my fallibility irrelevant.

          • WingedBeast

            Then, you are placing so many mortals on this pedestal. And, we know how fallible they are.

          • Iron Mike

            Nonsense. There is a consistency to this doctrine throughout the New Testament and it is fundamental to who Christ is and central to His mission on earth. That consistency has not changed in 2,000 years. That is not to say that it has not been abused throughout history. But its meaning is the same today as 2,000 years ago when Christ spoke the words.

          • WingedBeast

            So, what you’re saying is that there’s a one-true meaning that is completely independent of its use.

            If so, that meaning has absolutely no real-world value, because the use is how a symbol communicates anything.

          • Iron Mike

            Fallacious reasoning at best. Yes–there is one true meaning that does not change simply because it is misused. It is precisely because its meaning is immutable that it has eternal value.

          • WingedBeast

            But, if that symbol isn’t used or recognized to have that meaning, functionally, it doesn’t.

          • Iron Mike

            When symbols have been used and their meaning understood for 2,000 years, their functionality and value are inherent characteristics.

          • WingedBeast

            Even if I were to accept that premise, the conclusion does not follow therefrom. If the meaning has been maintained (only within a particular subset of the believers of the correct sects of Christianity) for 2,000 years, that does not mean that the symbols are any less transitory, just that they’ve been (in highly specific circumstances) maintained.

          • Iron Mike

            The symbol is used currently and has been recognized to have that meaning by believers for over 2,000 years. That is the very definition of orthodoxy. The fact that unbelievers don’t use or recognize its meaning is irrelevant, exactly because they ARE unbelievers.

          • Iron Mike

            What I’m saying is there is one-true meaning that is completely independent of its “misuse” by those who attempt to corrupt it. That one-true meaning is not lost to believers; it is rejected by unbelievers.

          • WingedBeast

            Then, it’s not one-true meaning. It is the meaning-to-believers. There’s an inherent subjectivity to language. You can try to formalize it and that helps. But, it’s always meaning-to, never absolute meaning. That’s just not how language or symbology works.

          • Iron Mike

            Indeed. The whole bible was compiled by fallible human beings, yet it is divinely inspired by God. How is that possible? Throughout history the greatest saints were once the greatest sinners. It is not them we place on pedestals, but Christ within them.

            God is able to accomplish a divine purpose through the most flawed of human beings. That’s good news for fallible human beings like you and me!

          • WingedBeast

            And, your faith is that every single human being in those two thousand years not only shared the same associations with that symbol… but you know that’s not true. So, every single Christian? No, you know that’s not true, too. Or else, you wouldn’t have put the conditional of “authentically lived” (another way of saying they have to be a Real True Christian). Just everybody who agrees with you.

          • Iron Mike

            Now you’re just being silly. The fact that I am a fallible human being does not mean I cannot trust the truth of Christ’s teachings or that of His apostles who were fallible human beings themselves. Peter denied Christ, Thomas doubted him, Paul stoned Stephen–first deacon and martyr to death. And yet, God uses and has always used fallible human beings to accomplish his greater plan for humanity. Fallible human beings compiled the bible and yet there is a consistency that could only be achieved through divine inspiration.

            I think the real problem you have is with anyone who is strong in their faith and unwilling to compromise the doctrines that Christ taught. Perhaps if you can find daylight between Christ’s teachings, then you can rationalize your own unbelief and your own sinful nature. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. 🙂

          • WingedBeast

            “Now you’re just being silly. The fact that I am a fallible human being does not mean I cannot trust the truth of Christ’s teachings or that of His apostles who were fallible human beings themselves.”

            Good. Now, go find the person who said that your own fallibility means you cannot trust the truth of Christ’s teachings and tell them that. I have not said such a thing.

            I have said that *you* are fallible and that *you* can be wrong *about* Christ’s teachings. You can be so wrong, for example, that you mistake the lack of using a particular symbol with the abandonment of Christianity, despite repeatedly being corrected. You can be so wrong that you wind up worshiping a symbol rather than Christ, himself.

          • Iron Mike

            I suggest this because the thought does not occur to me that CHRIST could be in error in any way on this. That’s confidence, not hubris. 🙂

          • WingedBeast

            But, you aren’t Christ. Therefore, YOU can be in error as to what Christ wants.

            For instance, when someone makes the considered decision that this particular symbol is getting in the way of treating others as she would like to be treated, you could make the error of thinking that the symbol is more important than how you treat people.

          • Iron Mike

            More sophistry since no one here has proposed that a symbol is more important than how you treat people. In fact, the thoughtless pastor has gone beyond that to reject what “she” perceives the cross to “mean”. As a “Christian Pastor” that is not her judgment to make. Only Christ can define the meaning of his teachings on the cross. Anything else is in error and a persistent error is a heresy.

            Nor have I claimed to be Christ. So I might error or fall short in applying Christ’s teaching in my life, but that does not mean Christ’s teaching is in error. Christ teaches to love God with all my heart and to love my neighbor as myself. The fact that I may fall short of that teaching does not mean that teaching is in error. It is no different with Christ’s teaching on the meaning of the cross. I may not wear a cross and fall short sometimes of living its meaning—but that does not change its meaning or make it irrelevant.

          • WingedBeast

            Your entire argument here is predicated on the symbol being more important than how you treat people.

            And, I never argued Christ’s teaching to be in error, but you to be in error about it. Every time I point that out, you keep on responding to the claim that Christ is in error rather than responding to the claim of *you* being in error. Considering that you respond to arguments made about you as though they were made about Christ, I came to the conclusion that you were confused as to whether or not you were Christ.

            Or, maybe, you’re just dishonestly shifting things so as to avoid considering the possibility that you are in error about something important.

            And, the meaning might not be changed TO YOU, but you are you. You are not the poster of this blog. You are not various people for whom the cross has been taken up as a symbol of those interested in their extermination. Here is someone making the case for why she’s no longer using the symbol, specifically in the effort of improving the impact she has on others, and *you* are saying that she’s abandoning Christ and Christianity.

            That reasoning demands that the symbol be more important than how you treat people.

          • Iron Mike

            Unfortunately, that’s your own circular reasoning leading you to false conclusions.

            My entire argument is predicated on the authority of Christ to define the symbols he uses in his teaching and their meaning. Those meanings have been preserved for 2,000 years as orthodox Christian teaching. Since I am sharing those teachings and not claiming them as my own, I cannot be in error. I do not define its meaning so it’s not about what it means to me. You would have to argue that 2,000 years of orthodox teaching about the meaning of the cross is in error and that my friend, is a fool’s errand. And yes, you ARE arguing Christ’s teaching to be in error because you are arguing against orthodoxy OR you are arguing that my defense is inconsistent with orthodox teaching about the meaning of the cross. Which is it?

            No—I am not the host of this blog. But when the host posts heretical teaching and invites comment, I have as much right as anyone to call her out on it.

          • WingedBeast

            ” Since I am sharing those teachings and not claiming them as my own, I cannot be in error.”

            Yes you can. This is really easy to understand. You can be mistaken about Christ’s teachings and, therefore, be mistaken when you share a teaching that isn’t Christ’s believing that it is. To think otherwise is to think that you cannot be mistaken on those teachings, which would make it you that is infallible, not Christ.

          • Iron Mike

            Again with the circular reasoning. This SHOULD be easy for you to understand. If the assertions are not mine, then neither are any mistakes. If you are asserting that a 2,000 year old understanding of the meaning of Christ’s cross is in error, then by all means take up the burden of proof of your assertions. But your challenge is to Christian orthodoxy, not me.

          • WingedBeast

            Let me get this straight. According to you, since you are repeating someone else’s teachings, it is impossible for *you* to be mistaken as to what is or is not that person’s actual teaching?

          • Iron Mike

            You’re almost there. By virtue of a particular teaching being “orthodox” it is by definition an accepted true account. An accepted truth is the definition of orthodox. Therefore, I am merely repeating a true account of Christ’s teaching about the cross which has been accepted as orthodox for 2,000 years. So your challenge is either to the orthodoxy or my presentation of it.

            In the case of the thoughtless pastor, she is challenging the orthodox teaching about the cross by redefining it’s meaning in the context of her own personal experience. That’s her choice, but it’s not an orthodox Christian one. In fact, it completely undermines Christian theology since it makes the meaning of the cross irrelevant.

          • WingedBeast

            Then, there is no one “orthodox”, because “accepted as true” is done by the person. By your definition, there’s only “orthodox to”.

            Essentially, you’re saying that the people who agreed with you for 2000 years agreed with you. And, that is particularly meaningless.

          • Iron Mike

            Wrong again. “Accepted as true” as a statement of faith among Orthodox Christian churches is not a personal choice. It is an institutional choice to which followers agree or else they are not followers. It’s not about those who agreed with ME for 2,000 years, but me who agreed with them. Hence your argument is with them, not me. 🙂

            In the Catholic tradition in particular, the teaching authority of the church is the Magisterium who determines what is orthodox Christian teaching. Other orthodox Christian traditions may have different teaching authorities, but share a common agreement on fundamental Christian doctrine, especially ones as fundamental as Christ’s teaching on the meaning of the cross.

          • WingedBeast

            And, you’re saying that (you can’t be possibly mistaken that they’re saying that) there is no Christianity without using the cross as a symbol?

            If they (they not being Christ any more than you) were to honestly believe such a thing, they would be honestly either mistaken or believing that the teachings of Jesus are so weak as to rest entirely upon a symbol.

          • Iron Mike

            The mere fact you ask such a question betrays your lack of understanding of fundamental Christian doctrine. There is no Christ without his cross. Period. I am not mistaken in that understanding of Christian Theology. That is true because the cross is more than a piece of jewelry. What matters is what it symbolizes because the power is not in the symbol itself, but in its meaning. It reveals the nature of God and discipleship to Christ. The significance and meaning of the cross is so central to Christian Theology, that Christianity would not exist today without it.

            So it really does not matter to me personally whether the thoughtless pastor disavows the meaning of the cross or declines to wear it as jewelry. Her personal choice of meanings is irrelevant to its true meaning. It simply means she ceases to be Christian.

          • WingedBeast

            “What matters is what it symbolizes because the power is not in the symbol itself, but in its meaning.”

            Good, that’s what I’ve been arguing. The symbol isn’t the power. Therefore, the symbol can be changed for something else, if one comes to the reasoned conclusion that something else better achieves the communication of that meaning.

            If it is the meaning that is central to Christianity, then the symbol doesn’t matter so much that dropping the symbol means dropping Christianity.

            It is only the case that dropping the symbol means dropping Christianity if the symbol is more important than the meaning.

          • Iron Mike

            “The symbol isn’t the power. Therefore, the symbol can be changed for something else, if one comes to the reasoned conclusion that something else better achieves the communication of that meaning.”

            Wrong again. Just because the power of a symbol is in its meaning, does not mean the symbol is fungible. Christ chose a shocking image of the Roman cross of crucifixion as a symbol for a reason. It illustrated theological truths that could not be explained to his audience another way. That is still true today. When Christ chooses a symbol and defines its meaning, his followers do not have the authority to redefine it.

          • WingedBeast

            Christ chose a particular image in a particular time for a particular reason. And, context can change. The poster isn’t saying that she’s changing the definition. The use by Christians (though not ones you’d call “true Christians”) in support of Trump and in support of hate crimes has done that.

            Are you of the belief that the symbol matters more than the meaning? Because, that symbol expressly does not shock, anymore. It doesn’t bring unease, it hides that which should cause good people revolt.

            It convinces people that they’re the good ones, because they’ve sided with the cross, even as they side against Christ’s teachings.

            Much the same as how someone could claim to be the real patriot, for siding with the flag, even as they seek to a white nationalist America, which would run counter to the nature of this nation.

            Does that mean that I’m obligated to wave that same flag? Or, am I allowed to acknowledge that the flag is a thing and the meaning is more important and that a different symbol is needed?

            The power being in the meaning precisely means that the symbol is fungible. It’s an image, a bit of reflected light. To think that it is the end-all and be-all such that one cannot be a Christian without it is to think that it is more important than the meaning.

        • It IS a symbol of death! What do you think when you’re speeding down the highway and you see a cross on the side of the road? It means “someone died here.” There was one for one of my cousins by the side of an Arizona highway . What do you think when you see stone crosses in a cemetery?

          I know that it is supposed to represent victory – the whole atonement story, but it *also* represents death. If you say it doesn’t, you’re talking out of your ass.

          • Iron Mike

            Perhaps you should re-read the article in which the thoughtless pastor characterized the cross as symbolizing “death and conquest” and share where that might be found in the Gospels.

          • Iron Mike

            Still waiting for you or the thoughtless pastor to provide a biblical reference for the cross of Christ as a symbol of “death and conquest”.

          • WingedBeast

            So, you’re saying that all symbology froze once it was in your interpretation of the Bible?

          • Iron Mike

            Again, NOT my interpretation! This is the orthodox interpretation for the last 2,000 years.

          • WingedBeast

            No. Not for the last 2000 years. The cross wasn’t a common Christian symbol until Constantine.

          • Iron Mike

            No. The cross became a symbol Immediately in the teaching of Christ and his apostles. It was a symbol and theological doctrine, long before it became jewelry worn by Christians to show their faith.

          • WingedBeast

            The fish was the more common symbol for longer than that. Even the symbology of Christians has changed. As I said, language is fluid and symbology is just language.

          • Iron Mike

            When the language and symbology are used by Christ for a specific meaning and purpose, they are not “just language”. They are holy and eternal scripture. You might not believe that, but that is a different discussion.

          • WingedBeast

            Do you read Latin or Aramaic or Ancient Hebrew?

            The specific words they used are now dead languages.

            The scripture can be eternal and holy even as the words are just words.

          • Iron Mike

            Actually, I have Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and Hebrew translations. They are widely available online.

          • WingedBeast

            You have the translations. But, when you talk to me, you’re not using the words used by Paul or Peter or Jesus. That either means you can’t communicate anything of what they defined or that words are just these transitory things that we use and you can use different words when language changes, and different symbols when symbology changes.

          • Iron Mike

            Unless we both speak one or more of these “dead languages” neither of us is communicating. But that does not preclude us from leveraging English translations of ancient writings. And it does not mean their meaning is lost or changes. There are Theologians who make this their life’s work and peer reviewed for accuracy. One of the gifts of the dead sea scrolls was that it provided an amazing cross-check with other scriptures and translations found to be entirely consistent.

          • WingedBeast

            Let me remind you, I’m not the one arguing that the meaning is lost when a particular symbol isn’t used. I’m the one arguing that the words and symbols are just sounds and images, means to the meaning that can be changed as conditions change what it takes to get to that meaning.

          • Iron Mike

            Okay, let me remind you the words and symbols of Christ have a meaning defined by Christ. They are infallible, universal, and eternal.

          • WingedBeast

            You’re saying the words and symbols, themselves, are infallible. No, they don’t have agency, cannot make decisions at all, let alone correct or incorrect ones.

            And, they’re not universal, because not everybody recognizes and responds to the symbols the same way.

            And, yes, they have changed. Even in your own thinking, they changed when Jesus made a specific use.

            The very concept of words, not the meanings the words are used to communicate but the sounds and images themselves, being eternal and universal is just a failure to comprehend what language is.

          • Iron Mike

            I’m saying that when symbols are given by an infallible God, they are infallible. They do not lose their infallibility because fallible human being attempt to corrupt them. Nice try.

          • WingedBeast

            By that logic, since man was made by an infallible God, man cannot be corrupted by the actions of man, either. See how that works out?

          • Iron Mike

            Nope–that’s theologically flawed. Man was made by an infallible God–man was not made infallible. In fact, man was given free will and the ability to reject Him. We are physical beings and an infinite God uses physical symbols to communicate with physical beings. God using a physical symbol–the cross of Christ–to teach fundamental, infallible spiritual truths. See how that works?

          • WingedBeast

            Then, my point is made. Being made by God doesn’t make something infallible. Therefore, God can use something transitory, such as a symbol, knowing that cultural context will change its meaning, and a wise Christian can be aware of that and change symbols as needed. Therefore, the abandonment of one symbol is not the abandonment of Christianity.

          • Iron Mike

            Tortured reasoning at best to compare a fallible human being to a divinely taught theological doctrine. If you accept the premise that God is omnipotent and infallible, then you cannot simultaneously argue that God is incapable of creating infallible, immutable doctrine of the cross.

          • WingedBeast

            I didn’t compare fallible human being to a divinely taught theological doctrine. I compared fallible human being to a symbol. And, I did so to show that your premise, that being created by God made the creation infallible, is false.

            Note, also, that I did not claim that God is incapable of creating something infallible or immutable. I merely claim that God did not create an infallible or immutable symbol.

            You keep on making this switch, from the symbol to the doctrine and the teaching and the value. The symbol is not the doctrine. The symbol is not the teaching. The symbol is a shape, an image, nothing more.

            If it is your contention that God created a doctrine that the cross can only ever have one meaning, then you are saying that God is proven, by simple fact of the cross having other meanings, wrong.

          • Iron Mike

            Of course you did. “Being made by God doesn’t make something infallible.” An infallible God chose the symbol of the cross and used it to make a divine, infallible theological truth understandable to fallible human beings. The symbol and its meaning are established by God and inseparable. If fallible human beings with free will, choose to assign meanings other than God intended (and His intent was provided by His Son 2,000 years ago), it does not make God wrong—it is the error of fallible human beings.

            “Therefore, God can use something transitory, such as a symbol, knowing that cultural context will change its meaning, and a wise Christian can be aware of that and change symbols as needed.”

            That’s full of assertions without evidence, starting with your assumption that because God “can” do something, that he has in fact “done” so, when there is no evidence other than your divine revelation. In fact, if your assertion is true, then perhaps you could quote Jesus in the gospels saying that his immortal signs were fungible and open to new meaning with the whims of contemporary mortal man. In fact, Rev 22:18 is clear, “I testify to everyone who hears the words of prophecy in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.

            LOL. I hope you have a good health plan 🙂

          • WingedBeast

            That is a plain statement of fact. Being made by God doesn’t make something infallible, otherwise, human beings would be infallible.

            “The symbol and its meaning are established by God and inseparable.”

            So, David, who was chosen to be King of Israel, is still King of Israel? No. Does the fact that he isn’t currently King of Israel mean that God was wrong? No.

            Obvious conclusion, God can establish something for a given time and context. That means that God can employ the cross as symbol in one context without requiring that meaning in that context be objective, universal, or unchanging across all cultural contexts. (In fact, to do so would be to do the logically impossible, since language is inherently subjective.)

          • Iron Mike

            More Theological buffoonery! Being made by God doesn’t make something infallible, otherwise, human beings would be infallible. So you are suggesting God is either not omnipotent or not infallible. If He is omnipotent, He is certainly capable of choosing to make something fallible or infallible. The fact God created man with free will and gave him the ability to choose good or evil is evidence of His power to do so. Likewise, Jesus’ teaching about the cross and its meaning are clear and there is no latitude given for contemporary re-interpretation of His symbols and their theological meaning. Language is not inherently subjective, but infinity capable of being manipulated, as you consistently demonstrate. Christ’s meaning of the cross has been clear for 2,000 years.

            Exactly where in the bible does it say that God make David “personally” “King of Israel” forever? In fact, it is his Davidic “lineage” that makes Jesus King of Israel forever since Jesus was of David’s linage and it is Jesus who reigns forever. Furthermore, Israel refers theologically to all God’s chosen people, not those people living within the geographic boundaries of a dusty country in the middle east.

            But your consistent argument seems to be what God “can” do, means God has “done”. The reality is God “can” do anything—but chooses what “He” will do, with or without your concurrence. You’ve presented no evidence that God has ordained a new interpretation of the cross, unless the thoughtless pastor is claiming a divine revelation contrary to the bible.

          • WingedBeast

            “So you are suggesting God is either not omnipotent or not infallible.”

            I am not. I am suggesting that God can make something that isn’t infallible. That being the case “God made it” does not naturally lead to “it is infallible”.

            To suggest that means that God *cannot* make something that is infallible would assume that God cared to make the symbol infallible. That is not a shared premise.

            As my example of King David points out, God has the power to intend that something be what he intends only for a finite amount of time. God has no need to attach himself so fully to one symbol.

            And, to be clear, I never said that God intended King David to be King forever. Neither have you supported the claim that God intended the cross to be a symbol that only means one thing to all people in all times regardless of cultural context. That was my point. You are relying upon self-serving assumptions, specifically so that you can create a theology wherein whether or not one is legitimately a Christian has nothing to do with following Jesus’s commands to love God, love your neighbor as yourself, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, tend the sick, etc., but entirely to do with whether or not one employs this particular symbol.

          • Iron Mike

            “God made it” does not naturally lead to “it is infallible”. True. Nor does it preclude God’s ability to make something “infallible” such as His use of a symbol to make clear an enduring spiritual truth.

            God *cannot* make something that is infallible would assume that God cared to make the symbol infallible. That is not a shared premise. Good, because it’s not a premise that I offered either. God made human beings fallible and is omnipotent—He is capable of making a thing fallible or infallible according to his will. So it is His will that you are challenging, not His power. You seem to be eliminating the possibility that God has the will to make something infallible and immutable–especially a symbol of a central doctrine about the nature of God. If you are limiting God’s power, then your god is not omnipotent. If you are dictating his will beyond what He has provided through Christ, then you making yourself superior to God.

            You are relying upon self-serving assumptions, specifically so that you can create a theology… I don’t have to create a theology. I only have to be faithful to the theology Christ has already created. The orthodox theology of the cross as a symbol and doctrine has remained constant for 2,000 years. And if you think anyone is suggesting that adherence to that theological truth takes precedence over “Jesus’s commands to love God, love your neighbor as yourself, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, tend the sick, etc.”, then you are refuting an argument that no one, including me is making. In fact, I am arguing the opposite. The theology of the cross is so central to Christianity, that all other doctrines flow from it. The theology of the cross empowers us to love God, love our neighbor, feed the hungry and all the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Without the cross and its meaning, you’re nothing more than a social worker.

            You cannot have a theology of the cross….without a cross. The Theology of the Cross is meaningless with a fish, or a football, or whatever. When you choose to redefine the cross to mean other than what Christ intended, then you are discarding the theology that he has attached to it. it’s really that simple.

            Neither have you supported the claim that God intended the cross to be a symbol that only means one thing to all people in all times regardless of cultural context. Since it is you challenging the orthodox teaching of the last 2,000 years, I suggest the burden of proof is on you to challenge God’s intent. I am willing to accept God’s intent as written. Apparently, you and the thoughtless pastor are not.

          • WingedBeast

            “True. Nor does it preclude God’s ability to make something “infallible” such as His use of a symbol to make clear an enduring spiritual truth.”

            Now, you simply have to do two things.

            1. Provide any support, whatsoever, for the claim that God wanted to do such a thing.
            2. Acknowledging that the objectivity of symbology is not a shared premise, make the case that such an intent would not be logically self-contradictory (like a square circle).

            “So it is His will that you are challenging, not His power. You seem to be eliminating the possibility that God has the will to make something infallible and immutable”

            Again, nope.

            Don’t retreat into generalities about omnipotence and try to make this into an insult or belittling of God. My argument is that there is a lack of support for the claim that God decided to make this symbol, itself, infallibly mean the same thing to everybody everywhere regardless of cultural context.

            I don’t have to say that God lacks the power to make anything infallible in order to make that claim. I don’t have to say God “lacks the will” (which is a rewording of “never chooses to do so”, but in a way that tries to make it look like I’m insulting God).

            I simply have to make the claim that, of the choices God made, you have not supported to claim that God chose this.

            “I don’t have to create a theology. I only have to be faithful to the theology Christ has already created.”

            Unless you’re wrong about what that is and are engaging in confirmation bias, which is what I’m accusing you of.

            “And if you think anyone is suggesting that adherence to that theological truth takes precedence over “Jesus’s commands to love God, love your neighbor as yourself, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, tend the sick, etc.”, then you are refuting an argument that no one, including me is making. In fact, I am arguing the opposite.”

            But, you’re not. You’re arguing that someone who, in the interest of loving their neighbor like themselves, cannot be a Christian because they don’t use that symbol. She is making a choice, by her best judgment, on how to best do as Jesus wants of her, and coming to the conclusion that those two most important commandments require that she no longer use that symbol. And, you’re arguing that makes her no longer a Christian.

            “The theology of the cross is so central to Christianity, that all other doctrines flow from it.”

            Let me ask you this. Would Jesus be any less your savior if his death had been on the rack? Or via beheading? Or via stoning? Or even from something not imposed upon him by humans, such as having fallen from a great height?

            If the answer is “no”, then the theology does *not* follow from the means of Christ’s death, but from the teachings and the death&resurrection itself.

            “You cannot have a theology of the cross….without a cross.”

            Really? Does the lack of use of that symbol cause some kind of time-paradox to make it so that Jesus didn’t die and come back?

            “Since it is you challenging the orthodox teaching of the last 2,000 years, I suggest the burden of proof is on you to challenge God’s intent. I am willing to accept God’s intent as written. Apparently, you and the thoughtless pastor are not.”

            1. Orthodox teaching of a specific church is *not* God’s intent as written. That is the fallible mortals having a thought, and not even all of Christian mortals at that. You haven’t supported the notion that your claim was God’s intent. All you’ve done is made the claim and made a logical fallacy.

            2. The fact that there are many people for whom the cross does *not* mean that means that, were God to have intended for the cross to mean only that one thing to all people regardless of cultural context, God would necessarily have to have failed. Therefore, since God is infallible, it is logical to conclude that God did not desire such a thing.

          • Iron Mike

            You are making a sweeping generalization about words and symbols in general. The problem with making universal generalizations is they are proven universally wrong by means of a single exception.

            I am making a definitive statement about a specific symbol and words, given by an infallible source, whose meaning has been consistent for 2,000 years. My exception disproves your generalization.

          • WingedBeast

            And, I’m not just making a generalization, here. This is something inherent to the nature of words and symbols. They shift, they change, they’re not set in stone, they’re set in each mind that uses and/or recognizes them.

            Even assuming that the Bible isn’t a collection of stories all written by mortals, the words and symbols are just words and symbols. An infallible being can use what is exactly the right word or symbol at the given context for those listening at the time and then those symbols can change and said being can have communicated values well enough that, hopefully, someone like yourself, upon seeing someone trying to disambigulate their faith from racism and xenophobia, wouldn’t prioritize that symbol over the meaning it was once used to communicate.

          • Iron Mike

            Of course I am using the words of Paul, Peter, and Jesus—-I am just not using their language. We have the ability to translate not just words, but their meanings in the historical context in which they were written. That’s known as the historical-critical method. http://www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com/article/opr/t94/e883

          • WingedBeast

            If you’re not using their language, you’re not using their words, but you are, hopefully, achieving the same meaning. That means that the words can be changed as change is required.

          • Dragoness Eclectic

            …which you are blatantly not using. I hang out in /r/AcademicBiblical, a subreddit devoted to Critical Biblical Scholarship, and no credible academic regards the Bible as consistent, infallible, or even particularly accurate.

            Also, your position on the cross is wading hip-deep in the heresy and sin of idolatry. You’re worshipping the cross itself, and bemoaning as a heretic someone who doesn’t cross-worship, but prefers a different symbol to represent her Christian faith.

          • Iron Mike

            I would hope that someone claiming a theological academic authority could distinguish the difference between worshipping a symbol and an argument defending the orthodox meaning for that symbol, especially when the meaning is defined by Christ himself.

            Throughout my studies, one definition of Theology was consistently emphasized–Theology is faith seeking understanding. When read holistically and through the eyes of faith, the bible is salvation history and remarkably integrated and consistent from Genesis to Revelation. Perhaps you are studying the bible merely as literature and if so, I can see how you might miss the consistency and infallibility of divine scripture.

            That aside, this is about more than the thoughtless pastor preferring a different symbol. The author claims that the cross no longer means what Christ intended and now is a symbol of “death, conquest, and oppression”. Ironically, she is returning to the original secular meaning of the cross before Christ himself redefined it with his sacrifice, death, and resurrection.

            The cross and Christ are irrevocably linked in Christian Theology and one cannot redefine the cross without redefining Christ. That’s a basic Christian theological doctrine that most orthodox biblical scholars would agree. Those who would not agree are either not biblical scholars or not orthodox Christians. Which one applies to you? Here’s a nice summary of the orthodox meaning of the cross which the thoughtless pastor has disavowed. https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-13-meaning-cross-1-peter-224-25

          • Dragoness Eclectic

            Wootzy Mike, that’s twice you’ve lied about what I wrote. Do you have trouble reading, trouble comprehending what you read, or are you just arguing mendaciously? I’m feeling a bit combative, so:

            I read this entire thread before commenting, and you’re consistently misunderstanding people who disagree with you, and consistently disregard their attempts to explain themselves when you obviously misrepresent them. Or are you misunderstanding them? It appears to me that your mind is so firmly locked into apologetic mode that you refuse to read and understand what others are saying, because if it’s not in lockstep agreement with your own narrow definition of Orthodoxy, it must be wrong and therefore not worth paying attention to.

            Newsflash! Your particular denomination is not the be-all and end-all of Christianity, and you are not the arbiter of all Christian dogma. Wearing a cross symbol is not a requirement for salvation in any mainstream denomination that I have ever heard of.

          • Iron Mike

            Newsflash! My particular faith tradition cannot be a denomination, because it is authentic and original. All other Christian traditions which grew from it are denominations and sometimes nothing more than cheap copies with empty theology, like those who seek to redefine the teachings of Christ to suit contemporary whims.

            “Wearing a cross symbol is not a requirement for salvation in any mainstream denomination that I have ever heard of.”

            Me either–we agree on that point.

            But disavowing the cross itself because of some misguided interpretation of its meaning as “death, conquest, and oppression” is also not found in any mainstream denomination. In fact, it is by the thoughtless pastor’s own admission a “personal” interpretation. The flaw in that reasoning is that orthodox Christianity does not include “personal interpretations” of Christian doctrine. It has a creed–a statement of belief and those who call themselves Christians voluntarily accept it or choose another faith. Not both—well, unless you are the thoughtless pastor and her merry band of pagans, atheists, wiccans, and whatevers.

          • Dragoness Eclectic

            My particular faith tradition cannot be a denomination, because it is authentic and original. All other Christian traditions which grew from it are denominations and sometimes nothing more than cheap copies with empty theology, like those who seek to redefine the teachings of Christ to suit contemporary whims.

            That’s a weird non sequiter and shows a rather poor grasp on semantics. Unless your “faith tradition” is “every branch of Christianity practiced simultaneously”, it’s a denomination. Redefining standard terms as a launchpad for boasting about your righteousness is rather poor form. You’re coming across as that pharisee who prays loudly in the marketplace about how holy he is.

            Not both—well, unless you are the thoughtless pastor and her merry band of pagans, atheists, wiccans, and whatevers.

            Who are you talking about? There’s no one named ‘thoughtless pastor’ or any ‘whatevers’ here. I do not acknowledge your insulting, unilateral renaming of people, Mikey. Treat others as you would wish to be treated, it works better.

            Now here’s a development you may not expect: I don’t feel the same way about the cross-as-a-symbol that our host does. However, we each have to deal with our spiritual crises and doubts our own way, and I can understand why someone would feel that way in the modern climate. It’s also easy for me to not worry about whether I should wear a cross or not, because I don’t wear religious jewelry. If I did, I’d wear a crucifix, not a cross.

          • Iron Mike

            It’s not about semantics. You simply fail to understand the definition of “denomination”.

            de·nom·i·na·tion
            /dəˌnäməˈnāSH(ə)n/
            noun
            noun: denomination; plural noun: denominations
            1. a recognized autonomous branch of the Christian Church. synonyms:
            religious group, sect, cult, movement, body, branch, persuasion, order, school; church “a Christian denomination”

            Every branch has an origin. Like it or not, the Catholic Church is the faith tradition from which every Christian tradition originates. It is therefore not a branch–not a denomination, but the roots and basis of all Christianity. It is the faith tradition that traces its roots to the 12 apostles and compiled the bible from which all other Christian bibles “evolved”.

          • Iron Mike

            Words are never just words. Words have meaning and meaning matters. If you ever pursued a formal theological education, you might be introduced to the Historical-Critical method used by biblical scholars to discern the meaning of words in ancient languages.

          • WingedBeast

            Words have uses. Their meanings aren’t set in stone, but set in minds.

          • Does everything have to be in the Bible for you to respect it?

            You’re typing your responses on a machine that was never referenced in the Bible. I guess you have to throw out your computer / phone / all modern technology and all knowledge gleaned since Bible times now.

            I’ll be missing you.

    • Vucodlak

      Yeah. It’s always a “one nutcase,” isn’t it? It’s one nutcase sending out more than a dozen mail bombs to Trump’s political enemies. It’s one nutcase murdering 11 innocent people while screaming about this caravan Trump won’t shut up about. It’s one nutcase who tries to get into a black church and, failing that, goes to a nearby grocery store and guns down two black people. It’s one nutcase who marches in Charlottesville with torches chanting “Jews will not replace us…” well, one nutcase times several hundred.

      And yes, there was a “Trump” when Hitler, Mao, and Stalin committed their atrocities. Not the Trump that afflicts the world now, but the same kind of hateful, petty, prideful fools all the same. That’s how we recognize what Trump is, what he represents, and the danger he poses- we’ve seen his kind before.

      • Barros Serrano

        same demons, eh?

      • Chari McCauley

        And yes, there was a “Trump” when Hitler, Mao, and Stalin committed their atrocities. Not the Trump that afflicts the world now, but the same kind of hateful, petty, prideful fools all the same. That’s how we recognize what Trump is, what he represents, and the danger he poses- we’ve seen his kind before.

        Yes, you are right, I stand corrected. It’s the reason Christ was politically assassinated by crucifixion. He threatened the wealth and their power by suggesting that EVERY child deserved to have the gifts His Father had put on this planet. Even the Angels who became infected with hubris are being corrected. Hubris will not enter The Rebuilt Heaven and Earth.

    • Barros Serrano

      What an ignorant diatribe.

      The renunciation was of the wearing of the Cross, not of Christianity.

      And it’s not about 11 Jews in Pittsburgh. It’s about the MILLIONS tortured and killed by “Christianity” since Constantine. it’s about the bigotry and abuse I have suffered at the hands of “Christians” whose ideas I dared to challenge. It’s about Trumpolini’s appeal to a “Christian Right” which is neither.

      TRUMPOLINI is the current evil, so we’ll worry about Hitler and Gacy later when things calm down, ok…

      As long as people claiming to be “Christians” are supporting this Orange Fascist, don’t think Christianity is immune from criticism. Christians also supported Franco, Pinochet, etc…

      • Reese

        To some Christians, the two are inseparable, the Cross and the Faith.

        • Barros Serrano

          hindYes they are indeed. The point made in the article is that the fish was a better symbol, at least in the opinion of the author. Me, I’m not Christian so I have no dog in this fight, so to speak.

          But I think you’d agree that the symbol of the Cross means nothing by itself, that your Faith really is about redemption, the Grace of God, the Sacrifice of the Lamb and so on.

          That’s what I learned growing up Methodist, and the Cross was pretty much taken for granted and not much discussed.

          People have joked that if Jesus returned to earth today, the churches would subsequently be festooned with an electric chair.

          If we look at the symbols of the various religions, Dharma (Hinduism) uses the symbols for “om”, which is logical, as that is considered to be the closest a human can come to reproducing the sound of the universe, or the voice of God. Islam uses the crescent and star which come from the Arab pagan antecedents. Judaism, the Star of David, really a modified swastika (ironically). Christianity uses an instrument of torture-execution. If Wiccans followed that pattern, they’d use the burning stake as a symbol, I suppose.

          I’m not passing judgment on any of these. If you respond to the Cross, that’s fine. People use symbols and icons to focus their attention on spiritual matters. If the Cross does that for you, then that is great. Seeing a representation of Shiva or Krishna does it for me.

          Any Christian who really follows the teachings of Jesus, notably about how to treat our fellow humans, is fine with me and I won’t quibble about theology or symbols.

          • Reese

            How interesting. I grew up Methodist, too. Then was a non-attending believer in my 20’s, then an Episcopalian (in deference to my wife) until that denomination took the liberal poison pill in the early 2000s, returned to the Methodist Church, but have suspended membership and giving due the cancer of liberalism which now metastasizes in that denomination. Still a believer, and for me, the Cross is the symbol of the death and resurrection which insures eternal life. That is the whole point, to me. Obviously not to you. The fish is a wonderful symbol of life here and now, represents to me the mandate for charity, sharing, and such, but not eternal life. Like you, I don’t quibble about symbols or beliefs of others. My refusal to accept the homo-sexual revolution in the UMC is about the morality of the society in which we live here on this planet. I will let the Lord judge whether that fits with His design.

            Anyway, I have enjoyed the banter and look forward to more. Meanwhile, I wish you and yours a fun weekend while I take leave for the golf course and an afternoon round with friends and adult beverages. Life is good!

          • Barros Serrano

            I was affected by my Methodist upbringing in positive ways. Largely in learning that Jesus had taught that we treat each other well. I returned to the Methodist Church intermittently in the past few years, not because I believe their doctrine, but simply because I liked the tone of the preaching and the people there were nice.

            Your avoidance of any Church which abandons its historical bigotry is odd… the Church improves, and you are offended? Makes me wonder, what is your stake in preserving misogyny? Feeling threatened?

            Yeah I agree symbols are what we make of them, and if one is useful for concentrating one’s thoughts, then it’s good, whether Cross or Fish or an image of a Saint or whatever.

            Your obsession with homosexuality is also odd. THAT is the crux of morality in our times? How about all the racism, pointless wars, the slaughter in Syria and Yemen, the U$A-complicit evil govts ruling Central America, and so on? Really the morality of how people are made to suffer by other people is far more important to me than worrying about with whom they have sex. Just not important.

            Liberal = freedom
            Conservative = neo-feudalism, corporate hegemony, l’ancien régime, preserving anachronistic bigotry

            That applies to the churches as well as to politics and society generally.
            Conse

          • Homosexuality is the big bug-bear of the “traditional” American Christian-right because the people who harp on it find it easy to avoid the “sin.” Well, except maybe certain preachers who are caught in the shadows with rent-boys, but most people who whine about it do so because it’s something they can “totally definitely feel righteous over” because it’s a “sin” they’ll never be tempted into, being naturally straight – or otherwise. I used to follow the Evangelical line on this and decrying other “sexual sin” and found it an easy way to feel righteous. Turns out I’m an asexual. I found it easy to “avoid temptation” because, well… my brain doesn’t even work in terms of overreaching sexual attraction. (I didn’t find out there was a term for it until I spent a lot of time on the Internet). I learned that I wasn’t particularly righteous for remaining virginal into my adult years, I was just a bit of a freak. (But I am happy being so).

            Decrying the sins and perceived “sins” of others that you know you’ll never commit or will be unlikely to commit because your danglies just don’t get the feelies over seeing “forbidden fruit” is kind of like feeling like a hero for sitting on your couch and eating Cheetos. It takes no effort to be “righteous.” This is why this kind of righteousness is so popular.

            I personally cannot say I do any better from an Indpendent and of-late-liberal-leaning end. The war crimes in Yemen make me look at my hands and hate being an American / wish I had more power in the system. I don’t to activism – I just complain on the Internet. The most “heroism” I experience is in video games. I like writing and write stuff with themes and morality I like, but I’m not exactly a “known” writer. I do vote, which is more than what can be said for a lot of people, so there’s that. But, I don’t really feel an undue sense of righteous-righteousness for my life, either. I am aware that I am a mostly-useless bitch. Snarking on the Internet is sport for me and I’m not particularly righteous.

          • Reese

            I really don’t care who has sex with who (or whom, or even what). My values, from my momma and papa and that old time religion say that strange stuff is wrong. I’ll let God judge them, but my concern is to not leg
            itimize all that in our society.

            Now, on you liberals, here’s the example that proves something: liberals can spout immeasurable righteous indignation over the killing of innocent people, as well we all should, but have no problem with the killing of the unborn. Eleven innocent Jews died last Saturday. More innocent babies died than that while I was playing golf this afternoon. And every day, many more. Liberals have no problem with that which tells me all I need to know.

          • Aw, great, the old hammer for people who only have a hammer.

            And, for the record, some liberals DO have a problem with it. Pro-Life Democrats exist. Pro-Life Independents exist. And though I am not an atheist, I have *gasp!* met Pro-Life American atheists.

            As for the other side of it…
            Fun fact: There is an obscure section in the Old Testament that (endorses!) abortion, though in a specific case. My usual blog-hangout discusses it here: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2018/02/03/bible-commands-abortion-part-1/

            (I’d urge you to stay away from the comments section if you know what’s good for you. If you don’t, well… I know that the regulars in the comments section there will EAT you).

          • Barros Serrano

            If you don’t care who has sex, then you wouldn’t be trying to work toward keeping gay people oppressed. Not “legitimized”… what that means is continue to discriminate against them. So you DO care who has sex with whom, be honest. You say let God judge them, yet here you are judging them.

            That is a hackneyed weak argument, about abortion. First, my belief is that the soul enters the body after the 1st trimestre, so 1st trimester abortions do not kill a human individual.

            Golf courses are ecological disasters. By participating in that boring elite sport of the RICH, you are committing significant environmental damage. And the people you have to hang out with to play… yuk.

            I prefer real people, not arrogant elite rich white bigots.

          • If Wiccans used an execution symbol… it would more likely be the Noose. If I have read my history right, there was much more in the way of hanging of “witches” than stake-burning. (Stake-burning happened for general “heretics” in Europe as well as hanging. In America, hanging was used).

          • Barros Serrano

            Yes, the noose would serve as well. The Christian Church often made sure to torture the heretics or witches before executing them in public. For Jesus the instruments of torture were a scourge (truly horrible whipping device) and a crown of thorns in addition to the crucifixion itself.

            I like the symbol of the UMC which includes a flame behind the Cross, which has more direct relationship to the significance of their deity, Jesus.

            Symbols representing the nature of deities or spiritual forces are the ones I like: the Hindu Om, the Old European triskel and swastika, sun symbols, 4 directions, and so on.

        • Chari McCauley

          So, you will raise your hand to die as willingly as The Lord did?

          • Reese

            Well, I did raise it once and swear to protect and defend the Constitution. So, if it came to that, I have had some practice…

          • Chari McCauley

            Well, that is not exactly dying to save the life of people who hate you for wanting the whole planet to live peacefully and cooperatively, but….ok.

    • plungingforward

      “Seems a very weak commitment to the Cross, to me.”

      Seems a very weak /understanding/ of the cross, to me. Do you honestly think ‘take up your cross and follow me’ means /wearing a pin,/ sir? That removing a symbol is a rejection of “the cross”? I dare say your faith and mine are very different.

      Also, you brought up Trump. You may wish to take a moment to reflect on why.

    • Iron Mike

      Very well said! In context of the Thoughtless Pastor’s body of writing that is anti-Trump, her article and your observations are spot-on. A rejection of the cross is a rejection of Christ. The two are inseparable for Orthodox Christianity.

      • Maya Bohnhoff

        Since Christ got no vote in the cross becoming the symbol of His faith, how can it be that rejecting the symbol—or rather what it has come to stand for in the eyes of some zealots—is to reject Christ?

        What of someone who rejects the teachings of Christ? Most especially, the two commandments He said repeatedly were the most great and the conjoined commandments upon which He said all others depended?

        • Iron Mike

          Actually, Christ absolutely got a vote on the cross becoming a symbol of faith. It was his free choice to die on a cross. And it was Christ who admonished his followers to take up their own cross and follow Him. What if someone rejects the teachings of Christ? That’s fine—but they cannot also at the same time to claim to be his disciple.

          “…whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” (Matt 10:38) Rejecting the cross as a Christian symbol is a rejection of Christ of whose sacrifice, death, and resurrection the cross symbolizes.

    • Maya Bohnhoff

      She’s not renouncing her Christianity or Christ. She is renouncing a popular form of “Christianity” that has elevated violence done for purposes the believer feels are “Christian” above Christ’s commandment to love all of our fellow human beings, even those we feel we have just reason to despise, even those we take to be our enemies.

      She is, in essence, striving to return to the Faith of Christ rather than a parody of it designed by human beings.

      • Iron Mike

        Not true at all. Christ himself used the cross as a symbol of the sacrifice required of all of us who call ourselves Christian. Returning to the faith of Christ is to embrace the cross, not to reject it.

        • Chari McCauley

          However, They Father and Son prefer MERCY not sacrifice.
          Love is greater than judgement!

    • Chari McCauley

      So, the murder of 11 innocent Jews by one nut-case social misfit is enough to make the “Thoughtful Pastor” renounce her Christianity?

      That’s NOT what she wrote. Read it again.

      There was no Trump when we murdered the Father’s Son, either.

  • Christopher Bacon

    Have long believed that Christianity took a wrong turn when it took up an instrument of torture and death as it’s symbol in preference to the fish, a symbol of life and nourishment.

    • TinnyWhistler

      I like the fish. “Ichthys” is an acronym in Greek for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior” and if I’m remembering correctly was at one point more popular than the cross as a symbol for the faith. It’s a shame that the symbol of Jesus’ life was switched out for the one of his deat

      • I can’t remember which comedian I heard say “If Jesus comes back in his Second Coming and sees all these people wearing crosses, what is he going to think?” – I mean, wearing a symbol of his execution. Thinking about it makes me want to writing-construct a world where people wear little nooses as a symbol of their faith because of a significant martyr. The allegory would probably be too blatant, though.

        Not that I don’t like crosses – just as a shape… but I haven’t worn one in a long time. (Not even the “anime character’s weapon” one that I have among anime-geeks, something that is really…doubly inappropriate for regular public wear now that I think about it).

        • Iron Mike

          If your chosen theologian is a comedian, then it explains your lack of understanding of the cross. It is not a piece of jewelry. It is not a symbol of death–it is a symbol of Christ’s victory over sin and death. It is the promise that we too share in that victory when we do as Jesus commands, take up our own crosses, and follow him.

          • Maya Bohnhoff

            Can you argue that those who harm and even kill others in the name of Christianity have not misappropriated the cross and made it a symbol of death? That is the substance of the article and what the writer has turned her back on—”that type of Christianity” (which, it could be argued, is not Christianity at all)—not the teachings of Christ.

            While it should be assumed that a Christian is someone who believes in the divine mission of Christ and His authority, and who strives to live by His teachings, that is not the case. Many people professing to be Christians entertain thoughts and perform acts completely contradictory to His most central teaching—that we love God and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. It goes beyond asking, with a certain young legal scholar, “But who is my neighbor?” There has been a very public upsurge, in some sectors of Christianity, of people who have already rewritten the Parable of the Good Samaritan to paint the fearful and intolerant priest and Levite Christ describes as being the heroes of the story.

          • Iron Mike

            What I would argue is that if your Christian faith requires you to hurt others, then you’re doing it wrong. That failure does not lessen the true significance of the cross. It reveals the failures of those who misappropriate it. And who ARE these people who have harmed and killed other in the name of Christianity? How has their claim been validated in the teachings of Christ? It hasn’t! That does not represent a failure of the cross, only a failure of those who have not embraced it as Christ taught. Unfortunately, that includes our thoughtless pastor.

          • If you persist in calling the Thoughtful Pastor “thoughtless pastor” I am not going to listen to anything you say. You (and others that are using the term) have basically discredited yourself entirely in my eyes just for that attack.

          • Iron Mike

            Frankly, “thoughtless” is not an attack. It is an accurate description of someone claiming to be a Christian pastor whose understanding of orthodox Christianity is so shallow that she fails to understand Christ’s own teaching about the significance of the cross. Her choice to disavow the cross in sympathy for those who were not victimized by Christians, has become a common strawman among the political Left. It is arrogant, self-righteous, self-indulgent, and tarnishes the history and faith of millions of Christians. It undermines the Gospel of Jesus Christ and as a “pastor” she is accountable for the damage she causes. “It would be better for [her] to have a millstone hung around [her] neck and to be thrown into the sea than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” (Matt 18:6)

          • Oh, please. If rejecting “advertising” a symbol one sees as having had its meaning changed in modern times in favor of more life-affirming and ancient symbols is “rejecting the whole message,” then I am a Collared Peccary.

            *Sniff, sniff* Nope, still don’t smell like one. Maybe if I stop bathing for a month…

            If you think that this… *this* constitutes a “Christian” rejecting Christ while still wearing the name… I… have some people I can point you out to. While I hate to bring trolls to their page, have you ever browsed Patheos and looked at “Radical Christian Millienial?” I’ve read them a few times. They have interesting things to say now and again, but, by their own reckoning, they are not theist at all. They don’t believe in the Resurrection and they don’t even believe in a God. He still persists in calling himself “Christian” and trying to claim that “true Christianity” belongs to atheists such as himself because he “follows Jesus” (as a philosophical figure). People like him utterly baffle me. I wonder why they don’t just have done with it and call themselves atheists who happen to like a few bits of the Bible. It’s not hard. Seriously, go read that guy’s page if you want to be “shocked and appalled” by “false-Christianity.” If you haven’t seen people like that, then you’re just a babe out of the womb when it comes to Internet-theology.

            “I believe in core Christian theology but dislike advertising a certain symbol that’s become more associated with death than redemption over the centuries in favor of the old “fisher of men” symbol?” – a rejection of Christ I think NOT! I think it’s a full embracing of what He actually stands for.

            Heck… why aren’t we wearing little empty tombs around our necks? I mean, that would be the greater symbol, wouldn’t it? A little too hard to do, artistically… I mean, a little gold cave-tomb with a stone rolled away would look from a distance like someone’s wearing a pile of golden poo or a pile of rocks…and would just be confusing.

            I’ve heard that if you wear a cross in Japan, you’ll be seen more as a Goth or borderline evil because of how crosses are associated in Japanese culture and history: Even though the country is aware of Christianity now, it is a minority religion, whereas in their history, crosses were usually used as torture gibbots prior to someone’s execution. I imagine that if I went to Japan and wanted to advertise my Christian status, that wearing a fish would be a much better cultural broach because the culture specifically DOES “Medieval Torture Rack” when they see a cross.

            Symbols abound, my friend. Just be glad that I’m not getting into the symbolism of various mythical animals. Did you know that unicorns, phoenixes and even gryphons have been, at various times, symbols of Christ?

          • Chari McCauley

            Bet you’d think my belief is weird. The Triforce btw, is a hint.

          • Eh. I don’t know. I’m Queen Weird, myself.

          • Chari McCauley

            Um, The Father and His Son are both older than orthodox anything. Their instruction apply to all. There will be no christians or jews on judgement day only men, women, boys and girls.

          • Iron Mike

            You are obviously ignorant of the definition of “orthodox”.

            or·tho·dox
            /ˈôrTHəˌdäks/
            adjective
            adjective: orthodox; adjective: Orthodox
            1. (of a person or their views, especially religious or political ones, or other beliefs or practices) conforming to what is generally or traditionally accepted as right or true; established and approved.

            I am not offering opinion—merely orthodox Christian teaching. Your argument is with Christ, not me.

          • Dragoness Eclectic

            Just call him Mikey the Wootz. The words have the same meaning as his handle, so I’m sure he won’t mind.

          • Iron Mike

            I don’t mind at all. Feel free to use whatever dismissive pejorative you like. Because if all you have is ad hominem, then you have nothing at all. It diminishes your credibility, not mine. 🙂

          • Dragoness Eclectic

            Pot. Kettle. Black. You’re the one that commented as a guest on someone else’s blog and then proceeded to belittle, misname, and insult your host. Rudeness begets rudeness. You could have simply disagreed and explained gently why, but no, you had to open with insults. That’s the kind of “orthodox Christian” that makes other Christians like the Thoughtful Pastor here not want to wear the cross, because it’s associated overwhelmingly with “Christians” who are intolerant, dogmatic, close-minded, judgmental “pharisees” and Puritans.

            We’re not all like that, but he reputation gets all over those of us who actually want to follow Jesus’s preaching and causes others to assume we’re just hateful jerks, too. I get tired of being mistaken for the next best thing to a neo-Nazi because I am Christian.

          • My “chosen theologian” is not a comedian. I am just repeating what I heard one say once.

            As for refusal to wear crosses around my neck anymore… I just don’t wear jewelry most of the time in general. I also just don’t feel the need to advertise. I go by “Preach the gospel at all times: use words if necessary.” The same with symbols.

            I’ve accepted Christ as my personal savior – long ago, and in spite of everything, I still believe. Don’t you DARE threaten me with Hell.

          • Iron Mike

            I don’t care whether you wear jewelry or not and never once threatened you or anyone else with hell. I do care about those who claim to be Christian, but do not understand the theological significance of Christ’s teaching about the cross and somehow have a mistaken idea that you can be a follower of Christ without accepting it. And that includes our “thoughtless pastor” host.

          • Chari McCauley

            We have to accept the knowledge of death EVERY day; because somebody is always wanting to steal someone else’s share of the gifts The Father gave to ALL of His children. Does His sun not shine over both the good and the bad?

            Also, OTHER people are always speaking FOR The Father. That’s why 4 books of BS were added to the ten (10) simple instructions Father hand-wrote for us; which…may I point out that were broken because of the anger of a human. The same anger that sent Moses into the wilderness, in the first place.

          • Chari McCauley

            Iron Mike has no say, neither do demons, as told to us in Job’s story. Only Father’s Son has earned the right to judge alongside His Parent(s) (Genesis 1:26).

          • We must remember that Mikey is made in God’s image, too. I am not hateful of him… I’m just having a particularly snarky day. I like to bully the bullies sometimes…tit for tat, keep ’em on their toes.

          • Chari McCauley

            Nor do I hate him. But, tough love, is that what we’re talking about? And then there’s The Lord telling us to shake the dust off, and leave the rest to Him.

          • Iron Mike

            I never claimed to have a say and I most certainly do not judge. I merely shared Christ’s teachings on the significance of the cross—a significance the thoughtless pastor rejects and apparently you as well. Sharing the Good News is my responsibility as a Christian. Your accountability for responding is between you and God.

          • Chari McCauley

            I never claimed to have a say and I most certainly do not judge.

            Sure you do. The first step in rehabilitaion of pride is admitting the sin.

            Hubris was rejected from Father’s Home, it will NOT enter the rebuilt Heaven or Earth.

          • Chari McCauley

            No, His resurrection is His victory over death!!!

            That cross was the lengths we will go to keep 30 pieces of silver!

            That WE the people He came to save for His Father, were WILLING to kill Him.

            It would have been SO much better had we allowed Him to teach us; instead we bought His silence both Jew and they had to get Roman permission, cos they can’t just decide to crucify people without Roman permission, for 30 pieces of silver.

            Now, we just kill people outright with our weapons. For 1 silver plated, even piece of silver….

            Hubris will not enter The Rebuilt Heaven and Earth.

          • Stuart Blessman

            Jesus didn’t resurrect on a cross. Jesus didn’t defeat Satan on a cross. Jesus didn’t defeat death on a cross.

          • Iron Mike

            Jesus resurrected from death on a cross. Jesus defeated Satan, death, and sin by death on a cross. And Jesus challenged us to take up our own crosses or we are not worthy to follow him. You are welcome to believe otherwise, but not also legitimately claim to be Christian.

          • Stuart Blessman

            I welcome your Bible verses defending what you just said. Chapter, verse, out of context, esisgesis, whatever you got.

          • Stuart Blessman

            Still waiting.

  • Robert Limb

    I have enormous sympathy for your thoughts, Christy Thomas. A gentleman who breathed “chesed” lived in the appartment building where our chapel is situated . He, too, was called David, he lost all his family in the Shoah, and his faith in God along with them. He never hid his feelings from me – but always made sure that the other co-owners were generous to us as a Christian community.

    I’m not surprised that some do not understand your blog. I am a little surprised, but happily so, that no one has congratulated you for renouncing idolatry, having seen the light about wearing a crucifix.

  • j9l

    My cautionary observation is this; The left has, for the most part, surrendered the American flag to the conservative folk (to the extent that someone wearing a flag motif is often considered a danger by those who are not white, hetero, cis, etc.). If we give up the cross in this way, do we not surrender it to the same hateful folk? I tend to avoid faith-wear, not because of the hatemongers, but because I know I will mess up, probably publicly, while wearing a WWJD shirt or some-such, and will shame the Lord.

    For those who are about to jump on this and give me a ration because I suggested that being scary to that horrid sinful bunch of LGBTQ . . . is a bad thing, don’t bother. I know a sin when I see it. I also know that someone’s alcoholism, or gender identity, or whatever is no more offensive to the Holy God of Creation than my pack of gluttony, tattoos, divorce, judgmental behavior. or what have you; or yours.

    That said, I like the fish (which is why it is one of my tatts)

  • The Hon Alexander Mothershed

    You wore your cross before this terrible tragedy but now you desire to renounce cross? You wore the cross knowing that over 6,000,000 Jews were slaughtered during WW 2, but now you discard the Cross of Christ. I find your argument shallow, unconvincing, and sad.

  • fred5399

    Do not give up the cross. We need Christians willing to follow the ways of Christ. Often Christians get caught up in the quest for power,wealth and ego. Some think they are doing good by forcing thier religion on others. The WWJD is a great idea. Would Jesus kill, threaten, or slam the door in the face of those seeking refuge? Don’t give up the cross in fact keep your heart on it.The Bible is the greatest book Christians own but many don’t read.

    • Chari McCauley

      Wearing a cross doesn’t hide bad behavior. You should not need a piece of jewelry for others to know who your heart belongs to. There is a commandment warning us about engraved symbols and idolizing them, even as works of art.

      • Iron Mike

        Disavowing the cross does not hide strawman arguments or empty sentimentality either.

        • Chari McCauley

          You have NO idea about ny relationship with Father. He took the time to be my Dad too.

          • Iron Mike

            Your relationship with God is irrelevant to me and I’ve offered no comment on it. That is between you and God. But what you don’t get to do is redefine what Christ taught and regurgitate it to others as empty sentimentality without being challenged.

  • Alan

    More and more I’m noticing the most Christlike behavior from non-Christians even as Christians embrace an anti-Christ. It’s actually encouraging in a way to see Jesus’ message embraced, even if not by the people who claim to love him.

    • Chari McCauley

      He knows who is who.

  • Iron Mike

    How sad that your understanding of the cross and Christianity is so shallow. During the times of Roman occupation, the cross was the symbol of oppression and death. Christ’s sacrifice and victory over death and sin, turned this symbol of death into a symbol of hope and eternal life that has inspired generations of Christians for two thousand years. The Nazis of WWII and the deranged anti-Semite who murdered innocents in Pittsburgh did so out of hatred of Jews, not love of Christ. These atrocities were not carried out in the name of Christianity and are antithetical to every tenant of Christ’s teachings and Christian theology. What you are doing is emotive, self-indulgent and sad.

    Without the cross, there is no Christ. As Paul writes, “And if Christ has not been raised, then empty [too] is our preaching; empty, too, your faith. Then we are also false witnesses to God, because we testified against God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised,* your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all. (1 Cor 15: 14-19)

    THIS and only this is the reason we reverence the cross. To reject the symbolism of the cross, is to reject Christ himself.

    • I’ll repeat what I already said and what others have said to those of your ilk on here: Get some damn reading comprehension. She’s not rejecting the theology of a raised Christ. (At least not in this post? I don’t read regularly here, so I might be missing something)… but from what I read here, she’s not rejecting core Christian theology.

      She is simply refusing to wear a symbol anymore – one that *she, personally* thinks turns others off and is associated with death-dealing rather than the life-giving aspects of Christ.

      It’s amazing that so many people tout their love of freedom (judging by your eagle and flag there, symbols associated with American freedoms) get so bent out of shape when someone says they don’t want to wear a piece of jewelry.

      (Hmmm. Does the fact that I no longer wear my engagement ring mean that I am unfaithful to my fiancee’? Nope. It means I have a job in food-service and the band gets in the way / is a sanitation issue). Does the fact that I like wearing jewelry – when I do wear it – that is made from natural materials bother you? The one cross that I do still wear on occasion probably *would* bother you because it’s in the shape of something from an anime’ and is more about flying my geek flag than anything. My freedom, Jack.

      • Illithid

        Just a side comment: yeah, I’ve worked restaurants for about 25 years now, never wore my wedding ring. I tell people I’m so married I don’t need it.

        • Dragoness Eclectic

          My spouse doesn’t wear his wedding ring because he was a Navy electrician, and “live-front panels” and “metal jewelry” Do Not Mix. He got out of the habit of wearing it.

      • Iron Mike

        Repeating inaccuracies does not somehow make them magically become true. The “thoughtless pastor” is rejecting more than just wearing a piece of jewelry. She is clearly rejecting what “she” believes the cross represents, instead of what Christ teaches it represents. In Christian theology, it is Christ who defines the meaning of Christian symbols, not his thoughtless pastor and her misguided sheep.

        • “Repeating inaccuracies does not somehow magically make them become true.”

          Same for you, buddy.

          • Iron Mike

            The difference between us is I am not offering opinion, just Christian Orthodoxy. The sad part is that you and the thoughtless pastor do not recognize it.

          • HAHAHAHHAHAHAAAAAAAAAA!

          • Chari McCauley

            The best part is,…if you don’t like the people standing behind The Lord on judgement day; you are free to join the others who don’t like The Lord’s choice of people.

          • Iron Mike

            It’s not about what or who I like or dislike. It’s about the meaning of things, particularly the teachings and symbols of Christianity. I have done nothing more than defend the authentic teachings of Christ that you and the thoughtless pastor seek to redefine. On judgment day, I will joyfully stand before the Lord as his faithful servant.

    • Chari McCauley

      Rev 18:4.

      • Iron Mike

        Um…okay, good luck with that theology. Personally, I’ll stick to orthodox Christian theology as Christ taught it, not the gospel of Chari.

        • WingedBeast

          But, you’re not doing so. Christ didn’t proclaim that the cross was to mean one thing and only one thing. He used a metaphor, once.

          • Iron Mike

            You are not looking at this in context of the entire new testament, particularly the writings of the Apostle Paul whose writings make the significance of the cross unequivocal.

          • WingedBeast

            And, was Paul speaking in a world where people used the cross to justify genocide?

          • Iron Mike

            Paul was speaking about Christ, not the world.

          • WingedBeast

            I didn’t claim he was talking about the world. But, he was talking within the world. And, that world changes meanings. If the cross had been used to justify genocide prior to that, he wouldn’t have taken on that symbology.

          • Iron Mike

            Not sure where you studied history, but the cross WAS a symbol of genocide and oppression long before Christ and long after. There are STILL people being crucified for the faith today. That does not change the theological significance and meaning of the cross.

          • WingedBeast

            It was an execution device. A torture device. It wasn’t used as a symbol by Rome. It wasn’t used as a symbol of genocide like it has been today.

          • Iron Mike

            Not true. The cross has been a an execution and device of genocide for thousands of years. The Romans were not the first or the last to use it. The very fact that it is the instrument of a cruel death is what makes it such a powerful symbol when Christ uses it in a theological context.

          • WingedBeast

            Used. The Bible isn’t told in present tense. Even working with the assumption that the Bible is fully accurate (a thing even most Christian students of the Bible don’t believe), that was done in a particular time and place.

            Jesus might not change, but the words and the symbols are far more transient than that.

          • Iron Mike

            The bible has meaning in past, present, and future tenses. The bible is fully accurate—-your understanding of it is not fully accurate.

          • WingedBeast

            Language is a changing thing. What used to mean one thing will mean another. What used to describe one thing will describe another.

            And, no, the Bible’s full accuracy isn’t an assumption of Christianity. You’re mistaking your belief with an essential element of reality.

          • Iron Mike

            Yes. In fact, that would have been even MORE appalling and hard to accept for his audience then, than it is for today.

          • Iron Mike

            Paul was speaking in a world where the cross was a means of conducting genocide. So yes, it would have been shocking to his contemporary audience.

    • Chari McCauley

      The Christ is older than the cross. He was willing to be executed by men for the truth His Father told us at the beginning.

      The Christ, btw, would be happier to eliminate all weapons of death. He will remain alive despite all of them. He didn’t need to see the cross, we did.

  • Jocelyn

    I don’t quite understand your reasoning. The man who murdered Jews worshiping in a synagogue, wasn’t he just a nasty anti-Semite, one who held to far right ideology? I’m sorry, did he purport to be a Christian? If not, then are you assuming that based on his skin tone he must be a Christian therefore this was a a Christian on Jewish hate crime? I understand having empathy and compassion for our Jewish brothers and sisters but please do remember that many Christians died in concentration camps as well and targeted because of their faith. True believers in Christ do not going around murdering people.

    • Arbustin

      He quoted John 8:44 in his social media profile and stated that The Jews are the children of Satan. He also wrote “The Lord Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.”

  • Alonzo

    This article is sooo misguided and wrong it is hard to know where to start. So, I will begin with the historical revisionism about Constantine. Thomas does not know her history. Constantine DID NOT, repeat DID NOT take over Christianity. This is the same argument that Jehovah Witnesses use to deny the Trinity. Thomas needs to read the primary documents from the authors of the time and then read reputable Christian history scholars beginning with Philip Schaff, Thomas Oden, Carl Trueman, Douglas Sweeney, and Gregg Allison and not the anti-Christian Edward Gibbon and Progressive Justo Gonzalez and others like them.

    “Christianity has a long, checkered, and generally destructive relationship with Judaism.”

    The above statement is outright false due to it being a hasty generalization. Thomas should cease faulty thinking.

    While she relies on experience as her truth, one truth, God’s, trumps her singular self-serving “truth,” which is not truth but more faulty reasoning.

    I know this post will not change her mind, but others who read this should know that Thomas’s article shows a renunciation of all the Bible teaches about Christ. Will she deny the Apostle Paul’s words also?

    “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and a not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17).

    “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18).

    “But far be it from me to boast n except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14)

    The cross of Christ is paramount in the New Testament, and Jesus made it so. Those who reject the cross also reject the totality of its meaning of the believer being crucified with Christ (Romans 6) toward a new life. Nowhere in the Bible do we find the fish symbol found. Why? It did not represent any teaching related to Christ and our relationship with Him (Galatians 2:20).

    Therefore, for Thomas to renounce the cross, is to renounce the entire teaching about it in favor of man’s philosophy.

    By the way, the emergent and missional church movement also cast aside the cross (Read Hugh Halter).

    • plungingforward

      Did you even read the article? She’s stopped wearing some jewelry. She’s not renouncing the cross of Christ. I’m not big on clobber texting, but if you’re going to do so at least clobber the right thing.

      • Alonzo

        It is apparent that you did not read the article critically, especially at the beginning:

        “No longer will I wear the cross. I will stop identifying with this kind of Christianity.”

        Besides, what is it about what I said about Constantine you did not understand? A large portion of what I wrote dealt with him. So quit shifting the issue.

        • plungingforward

          You busted out a raft of clobber on the wrong issue. Even the quote you just quoted reveals it. I don’t need to midunderstand, agree or disagree with or even address your comments on Constantine to point that out. Making a decision not to wear a cross as a tribal symbol – whether or not you agree or disagree on the particulars of that representation – is an entirely different thing than “turning one’s back on the cross.”

          • Alonzo

            Again, you commit the fallacy of shifting the issue. Any further discussion with you is not worth my time. So go away or I will block you from seeing any more of your unrelated comments,

          • I never addressed my remarks to you. Yours is an intrusion.

            You are aware you’re posting on a public board, right? That other people can see what you write and are invited by default to comment in turn?

            If not let me be the first to welcome you to this wonderful thing called a discussion board, where many folks will gather and have an open chat upon whatever occurs to them, usually prompted by a short article or comment by the owner of the board. Only the owner of the board is permitted to determine who is and is not truly welcome.

          • Dragoness Eclectic

            Reminds me of that particularly dim-witted troll we had over on Slactivist who insisted that only the person he harassedaddressed directly was “allowed” to speak to him, and women weren’t “allowed” to speak to him at all.

          • Chari McCauley

            See, you are afraid. The people who are not afraid will die for Him; not for some order given by some government.

            Similar to The Good Samaritan. Do you think The Lord was killed because of the people WHO LOVED HIM, as opposed to those who liked their money and power more?

            The Good Samaritan saved a man who would have killed him for BEING a Samaritan; it was the people who supposedly supported him for hating Samaritans that would have let him die.

          • Alonzo

            Another shifting the issue and personal attack. Address remarks rather than the person.

          • Alonzo

            Again, you are engaging in accusations (“you are afraid…) as did the previous person I addressed. The rest of your response is a non sequitur. If you insist on irrational responses, I will ignore you. If you insist on continuing to reply with additional faulty logic, I will block you also. Such faulty logic responses are unfruitful.

          • Chari McCauley

            is an entirely different thing than “turning one’s back on the cross.”

            Except, Jesus is still alive; she did not turn her back on Him. Only the weapons that caused US to kill His flesh.

    • Iron Mike

      You got it exactly right. The thoughtless pastor is not writing about about jewelry at all—it’s about what the jewelry represents. Rejection of the meaning of the cross or redefining it’s meaning (symbol of “death and conquest”) differently from Christ’s teaching is a rejection of Christ himself and elevates man’s philosophy over Christ’s eternal truth.

      • Chari McCauley

        No, YOU elevated a man’s instrument of capital punishment when Father said vengence belonged to HIM. And, this man made instrument of death was used to silence His Son.

        • Iron Mike

          No. Christ elevated an instrument of man’s capital punishment and so completely redefined its meaning that it has been a symbol of Christian faith for 2,000 years. This man made instrument of death was used by God to glorify His Son and give Him a voice for all eternity!

  • Bill Powers

    Pastor, since I take your response to be genuine, I am trying to comprehend it. You say, you “can no longer identify with a symbol of oppression that opens the doors of murder and anti-semitism.” It is true that the cross can be seen as a symbol of oppression. I have at times seen it as more than a symbol but a reminder of the hatred of the world and communities against God, the weak and oppressed. But you seem to see it as some kind of inducement to oppression and murder. In doing so, you (and perhaps you mean others) have shifted the perspective from Jesus to that of the oppressors, the crowd that mocks and surrounds Him. As I understand it, the “fish” is really an acrostic. As such, there appears to be only a weak connection with an actual fish and all its elaborated meanings. OTOH, Christ calls us to take up our cross and follow Him. For me the suffering and crucified God is central to my entire attitude toward life and my relationship with Christ. I see Him still suffering and wringing out His Blood for the sake of all. He suffers with us even now and encourages us to go on in the light of His Promises for a what is good, despite the world’s hostility to it. The only possible connection I can see with a violence is to turn on those who would persecute Christ, as surely many Christians have. I can only say that these have not fully embrace of the theology of the Cross. They need to be reminded that Christ rebuked Peter for such a suggestion. These are those that are followers, not of Christ and the Cross, but of power and glory. These need to drink more deeply of this Cup and know what weakness is, and this I do not find in the “fish,” but in the Cross.

  • Patti Annelle Patten

    Today there were Coptic Christians killed by ISIS terrorist. There is more than one group of people or religion that are targeted somewhere on a daily basis, sad but true. I will not begin to tell someone else how to think because I have my own belief system and it is not one that is mentioned here at all but I see a lot of hate in this thread. I might add that a lot of the things that have been said in here is just not fact. For one thing , the man that sent out the pipe bombs was mentally ill and he was a registered Democrat till just recently. I would hardly blame one party or the other for a mentally ill man. I do not think that Bernie Sanders is responsible for the man that shot at Republicans playing ball last year. If the Thoughtful Pastor would like to give up the cross then that is up to the Thoughtful Pastor. Symbols are just that, Symbols. Do not get me wrong, symbols can be powerful and meaningful but we must believe in them for them to have any meaning or power. My personal belief system uses many symbols and many are earth related and are very natural to me so I am one with my symbols. Hopefully there will be a time when we will be more in tune with one another but I will not hold my breath. I will pray for all of you though, even those that I do not agree with. Peace be the journey.

    • Julia Morrison

      There is no factual evidence that he was ever a registered Democrat (https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/cesar-sayoc-party-registration/). Since at least 2016 voting information shows he was a registered Republican. Prior to that, it’s possible he was but there are no facts to support him being registered to any party.

    • Amanda Wilson

      Patti, you are Pagan I am guessing? We Neo Pagans, (Wiccan in my case), also remember our “Holocaust”….the Witch Trials and the 60,000 people burned at the stake because of a FEW Pseudo Christians need to exert their control over as many people as possible.

      Many religions have been used as a way to herd people together and create fear to make them easier to control. I don’t think it’s the “religion’s fault”… ..it’s the human’s idiots fault. One reason I think the Neo Pagan religions are better is because they do not feel a need to control other people. They don’t believe only one path to The Divine. They believe that there are many different paths to the Divine and each one is just as beautiful and important. And as different as people are, so are the many paths we take!

      I don’t think our time is any different than any other in the past,…..if you look back in time. History tends to repeat itself again and again and again. I was Catholic once, until I realized that the Church is full of Guilt created to keep people under control and Pediphiles! Then I looked for another faith,…another way of communicating with the Divine,….and Wicca was my choice. Don’t be fooled into believing that there is only ONE way. That’s ridiculous! Pick another way to love and embrace the wonderful world we live in, and leave the Hellfire and Brimstone behind!

  • Illithid

    You have my deepest sympathy. As an atheist and a bisexual, I’m coming at this from the opposite side: it’s only in recent years that I’ve come to realize how many Christians aren’t hateful bigots. Perhaps this administration, and the encouragement of evil it’s accomplished, will have an upside. Shalom.

  • George Lee

    I think you ridding yourself of the cross is a good idea for you personally, as it seems to me that you never understood it’s meaning anyway.

    • LuckyTN

      When a symbol, the cross, becomes a symbol of oppression and hatred of the other, that transforms the meaning.

      • Iron Mike

        No. When a symbol is misappropriated, it is the responsibility of the faithful to correct the misperception, not abandon the teaching of Christ himself.

        • LuckyTN

          I said nothing about abandoning the faith or teachings of Jesus. The cross represents the empty one and the resurrection of Jesus. I do, however, find it troubling that many of the Christian faith put too much emphasis on the cross and not on the teachings of Christ.

          • Iron Mike

            Indeed. I find it troubling that so many “Christians” and thoughtless pastors place too little emphasis on Christ’s teaching about the cross.

      • Chari McCauley

        It was an instrument of death, used to politically assassinate/silence The Son of The Father Who built this for ALL people, not just for a few to hoard. They gave us a few simple rules toward peace, by cooperating and sharing; not lying to each other, not cheating each other, not stealing money, property, family, life, trust from each other. And, imagine yourself in the skin of the ones being put through intentional pain.

        The Son volunteered to put Himself into our skin, He had to have His Father’s permission, AND preparation to do so.

        • Speaking of symbols, you’ve got a Triforce.

          That is the symbol of a fan of “The Legend of Zelda.”

          Hello, fellow “Zelda” fan!

          • Chari McCauley

            Why yes, yes it is! Thanks for noticing.

  • louisquinze

    It seems to me that the type of thinking that spawns these unspeakable outrages are manifestations of the Anti-Christ. An ego-centric manipulation of what Jesus stood/stands for, an excuse fo thuggery. G-D too is weeping………over the benightedness of the perpetrator as much as his beloveds gunned down.
    The cross to me is a reminder, not of being right, but of being loving, self-transcending, as Jesus was on his cross, the pursuit of Truth, not my own aggrandisement. Of pursuing G-D’s truth in relationship with the deity – that we are all made in the image and likeness of G-D. Being self-referential is the antithesis of this…..and look what happens when someone sees themelf as the centre of the universe……….

  • I can read what you said below but I cannot find any truth in it. It is more like a political rant you see on CNN.

    “In the last couple of years, I’ve watched entirely too much of the US Christian community stand solidly behind an immoral man whose words and actions have incited massive amounts of violence and hatred toward anyone except white male “Christian”

    • In the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. You are not king of the valley, nor of any other thing.

      • Having an opinion and stating it even in the land of the mentally deranged is part of our First amendment right.

        • Who said or implied otherwise?

          • Who. Yes that is the question. Who would write back with examples from fairy tales. Oh! that would be you…

          • The valley of the blind reference is a quote from Desiderius Erasmus’ Adagia.

            You do know who Erasmus was, right?

            …right?

          • guadalupelavaca

            Yes I know. A dear friend of St. Thomas More, and the man who compiled the the greek bible in the 16th century. So why are you, an atheist, culturally appropriating us in supporting your position? Dont you have some “brilliant” atheist you can quote? Stay out of my religion.

          • His Adagia were primarily not religious, and in any case you certainly don’t own him or his sayings. They are the inheritance of humanity, as he himself insisted.

            To act as you have, childishly trying to assert an imagined gatekeeper authority on what products of human ingenuity others may have access to, demonstrates you to be quite ignorant of what Erasmus actually believed via his humanism. Please actually read his works, and then you might comment productively on this topic.

          • guadalupelavaca

            As I said stop culturally appropriating my religion. As an avid atheist dont you have some intellectual non believers you can quote? Or are you compelled to come to Catholic side to find intellectual support for your position?

          • As I said stop culturally appropriating my religion.

            Since I’m not doing that, you have nothing to worry about.

            As an avid atheist dont you have some intellectual non believers you can quote?

            Sure, I could. But I wanted to quote Erasmus. So I quoted Erasmus. Do you only quote people from the tradition you belong to?

            Or are you compelled to come to Catholic side to find intellectual support for your position?

            It’s not a position. I was telling Bob Shiloh off for being his usual nauseating self, and since I didn’t want to presume as a guest by cursing or calling him out directly–that’s not the place of a visitor–I went with an oblique Erasmus quote. It seemed appropriate. You clearly don’t think so, but then again, since this isn’t your blog I’m not sure where I have to care about that beyond the first reading. You’re being ridiculous, trying in a desperate fashion to make fetch happen with your charge of religious appropriation. If you truly are an attorney–and I still have my doubts on that score for many other reasons–you are notably poor at making arguments and crafting assertions. As I noted, the Erasmus quote is not religious in nature, nobody is required to get permission before quoting a religious intellectual any more than when quoting any other, and in any case nobody has to dance to your ridiculous tune. So I won’t.

            Do you have anything actually pertinent to say?

          • guadalupelavaca

            You dont understand cultural appropriation. Typical white male american.

          • Put your back into it. You’ve almost got it!

          • Dragoness Eclectic

            “Cultural appropriation” is an imaginary hob-goblin of idiot Marxist cultural theory, so fuck off.

          • Vucodlak

            Christianity has spread to every corner of the globe and influenced nearly every culture over the past few centuries. Mind you, this is not an endorsement of Christianity, any more than pointing out the ubiquity of Starbucks is an endorsement of coffee. I’m simply pointing out that Christianity is a part of so many cultures that no one group can credibly claim ownership of Real True Christianity (TM) and everything tangentially associated with it, however much some groups might insist on trying.

            Also, many atheists were raised as Christians.

          • My favorite is, “The blind leading the blind.”
            Also, glad to see I am referenced by you in other responses.

            However, if you want to comment further please try to defend the obnoxious blog above if you can.

          • Also, glad to see I am referenced by you in other responses.

            You do manage to be awful in all time zones.

            However, if you want to comment further

            Much like guadalupelavaca, you have no authority to make demands or place conditions upon other people’s comments. I do find it fascinating that you try, though. It’s revealing.

  • Linnea912

    I will still wear the cross- to take it back from those who misrepresent it.

    • I wish I could find a solid way of taking back the American flag and the bald eagle from people who misrepresent them.

      I sleep on flag-print pillows and incorporate flag-motifs into some of my artwork not just because it’s the symbol of my country and its higher ideals, but because I really *like its design.* It has harmonious colors and shapes. And eagles, well, they are magnificent birds and I get excited whenever I see one, whether in a zoo or in the wild.

      Yet, you can’t really wear a lot of those motifs anymore without people thinking that you’re a total, unblinking jingoist.

      I don’t wear flag pins anymore. I wonder how many people on this thread will start accusing me of not being a “real” American now.

      • Guthrum

        Think about the ideals and principles the US flag stands for. The “liberty and justice for all” the ideals and wisdom of Jefferson, Lincoln, the courage of Madison, the leadership of Washington, and the lessons at Valley Forge. That is the thoughts I have when I see the flag. No extremists or anarchists have taken that away. Think of Madison staving off the British.

        • P. McCoy

          Think of Jefferson disparaging Africans: the slaves who fought to free themselves from harsh French slavery in Saint Dominique (later Haiti) to him were “N!ggers that spoke French”. Of course slaves in the British colony to become the United States were simply not “human beings”, however, that didn’t STOP him from raping and fathering offspring upon underage slave Sally Hemmings- if SHE wasn’t human did THAT make HIM a practitioner of BESTIALITY?

          So we honor sexual DEVIANTS on Mt. Rushmore and our currency as well?

          • Guthrum

            These leaders were not perfect but helped bring about an extraordinary type of government that had never been tried.
            Washington: unshakeable courage
            Lincoln: hard determination to save the union.
            Teddy Roosevelt: led the transformation this country into a nation. A leader of many skills and vision.
            Truman: steady strength in a time of crisis

      • Linnea912

        I think of it like this: our flag is the flag of the civil rights movement, the anti-slavery movement, the women’s movement, and of every progressive movement in history.

      • Dragoness Eclectic

        Hey, bald eagles are a great symbol! Remember that bald eagle that wanted to rip the Orange Turd’s face off? I think said bald eagle is a fine representation of the true spirit of America.

        • Ah, yes! That was possibly the most America “American” moment I ever saw!

    • Chari McCauley

      I will still wear the cross- to take it back from those who misrepresent it.

      You mean like the humans who tell you you should be happy to suffer and die, because The Lord did? Like the “gaslighting” those infected by Satan/Hubris will use? What does it mean when they go above and beyond and use a sexual based abuse to ruin your whole life?

      Do those people think that getting you all messed up will save a place for them, in Heaven? Do people REALLY not know that the ten (10) instructions Father wrote are saying? Or, do they think if they pretend they don’t understand it will save them. The Father and The Lord know when people are lying…..

      Do you think that a Father, who wants you to be successful, would show you both what happens when you do or don’t follow His instructions?

      Lucifer was a High Angel, infected with hubris (Satan), a name given to a disease, like Cancer. Do you think Father and The Lord are still trying to save those fallen sons?

      Why didn’t The Lord destroy the demons that went into the swine?

  • Now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder if my underlying reason for posting on this thread at all (when this is not one of my usual blog-reads) is that… this thread reminds me a bit of a short story I wrote a few years ago. It’s one of my posted-for-free online stories because I could use some feedback on it, help to polish it up (and I don’t know of anyplace that would want to publish my weird stuff, anyway).

    The main character was a man who’d been murdered who came back from the dead ten-years later. No explanation given – figuring out the mystery of it drives him. He has no memories of any afterlife, but doesn’t think that it means there’s not one, either, just that he doesn’t remember it. The main theme of the story is memory and how the people in his life mis-remembered him over the years of his absence from life because time changes our brains and who we are in the eyes of others isn’t necessarily who we really are. The story needs some work and could be fleshed out into something longer than it is if I could get some further ideas for it or anyone who likes to read weird things making suggestions.

    Anyway, there is a scene in my story where the character is talking to his sister over his evacuated grave. He is displeased that the family chose to put a cross on his tombstone. This is not because he lost his faith or anything. He is stated as a believer. His reason for not wanting a cross on his stone was that, in reading the cultural climate, he fears that “one day, people will look at this cross and see it the same way we look at swastikas.” He didn’t want his grave vandalized by later generations.

    Take from it what you will. I think I wrote this thing back in 2011, so it has nothing to do with Trump or current politics. It’s just a take on cultural attitude shift I was seeing even back then.

    I don’t want to link to where my story is online because I don’t want trolls and angry ranters who won’t even read the story or engage with its greater memory-themes (such as they are populating here) on my pages. If the Thoughtful Pastor is interested in reading my story, perhaps a PM could be set up.

    • Chari McCauley

      Now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder if my underlying reason for posting on this thread at all (when this is not one of my usual blog-reads) is that…

      Well, maybe there were people that would be happy to have a conversation with you:))) People who needed a point of view nobody but you could give:))

      I know I’m glad you are here. Me, I just read everything.

  • Reese

    Oh,my, seems so much angst over Mr. Trump’s aggressive style. Please, may I help put it in perspective?
    Democrats didn’t care when Madonna said she had thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.
    Democrats didn’t care when Kathy Griffin posed with a mock severed head of President Trump.
    Democrats didn’t care when a Broadway Play depicted the assassination of President Trump.
    Democrats didn’t care when Johnny Depp said, “how long has been since an actor assassinated a President”.
    Democrats didn’t care when Congressman Steve Scalise was shot at a baseball game.
    Democrats didn’t care when Robert De Niro said “somebody needs to take out Trump”.
    Democrats didn’t care when Carole Cook said “Where’s John Wilkes Booth when you need him?”
    Democrats didn’t care when Republican candidate Rudy Peters was attacked by a man with a switchblade.
    Democrats didn’t care when a Republican Party Office was set on fire.
    Democrats didn’t care when Eric Holder said “When they go low, we kick ’em”.
    Democrats didn’t care when Trump family members received suspicious packages in the mail.
    Democrats didn’t care when Secretary of Defense James Mattis received death threats.
    Democrats didn’t care when Maxine Waters said “you get up in their face at the mall, in restaurants, at gas stations and you tell them Republicans they’re not welcomed anywhere”.
    Democrats didn’t care when Sarah Sanders and her family were harassed at a restaurant, instructed to leave and chased down the street.
    Democrats didn’t care when Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was harassed and chased out of a Mexican restaurant.
    Democrats didn’t care when Trump adviser Stephen Miller’s life was threatened and he was chased out of a restaurant.
    Democrats didn’t care when Attorney General Pam Bondi was harassed and chased out of a theatre.
    Democrats didn’t care when two Republican senators: Rob Portman of Ohio and John Boozman of Arkansas were harassed in their own yards and on their own doorsteps.
    Democrats didn’t care when a 71-year-old female staffer for California Rep. Dana Rohrbacher was knocked unconscious by an angry group of liberal protesters.
    Democrats didn’t care when a North Carolina GOP office was firebombed by an angry mob of liberals.
    Democrats didn’t care when Hillary Clinton said “we can’t be civil to Republican until Democrats return to power”.
    For over two years Democrats have encouraged hate, harassment, vandalism, acts of violence and even threats of assassination. But we are the racist white nationalists etc etc.

    • Again, HOW did this theology / sociology post turn into a thread about politics? I’m pretty sure you shot first, Reese. Anyway, I am going to do a rundown rebuttal to this to the best of my limited ability. I am, after all, an Independent, personally – not registered with either the Republican or Democratic party and I’ve voted for both kinds in my lifetime. (My very first Presidential election? I went with Bush).

      Let me forward this with a picture of my neighborhood. My household doesn’t put up political signage. We live in a back apartment. My neighbors put up signs, though. The people next door have all the Democrat signs. The people on the corner (who continually wave a Trump / Pence flag and now have a TP 2020 up) have posted ENORMOUS roadside-style signs for all of the local Republicans on their property. I have not seen my neighbors at war with each other – even though war might be pretty convenient since there’s a cemetery across the street – easy place to dump the bodies. But, no… no one’s sending bombs to each other or having yelling matches. SOMEHOW we’ve all decided to ignore one another and be a happy little neighborhood where everyone can walk their dogs in peace. So, no, not everyone who has a drawn-up side is reactionary.

      Trump came to my neighborhood for a rally during 2016. My man and I walked down to the area to lookie-loo at the various goers and protesters, then we turned around and went back home and I tried a new cookie recipe. Pumpkin cookies were more interesting to me than the pumpkin-hued man.

      Anyway… the rebuttal… hmmm…

      I didn’t hear what Maddona said, but…seriously, who cares what she thinks anymore? She was a diva in the ’80s, but I thought she was passe, having passed her torch to Lady Gaga.
      Democrats did care about what Kathy Griffin did. It was crass and dangerous and she not only got called out on it, she got in a hell of a lot of trouble, if I recall correctly.
      Didn’t hear about any Broadway play. I’m too poor for Broadway. I’m pretty sure that some work of fictionn exists all about assassinating Obama somewhere. I certainly recall seeing effigies at Tea Party protests in photos. All leaders deal with satire and people wanting them dead…it’s why the Secret Service exists to balance out the free speech.
      Depp isn’t going to make good on such an idle rambling and everyone knows it. Also, anyone with half a brain would / should call him out on it. It’s NOT how America does things. We use elections (and sometimes, if necessary, impeachments). If nothing else, assassination creates martyrs: not a good tactic besides being, well, murder. He shouldn’t joke about this.
      Democrats cared plenty when a guy got shot. Were you not paying attention to the news that week?! Everyone cared because it was an awful random shooting (and there was some relief that it wasn’t like, 10 + people dead as such things tend to go these days).
      DeNiro – see answer for Johnny Depp. I personally didn’t hear of this, but I’m sure he got called out on it.
      Carole Cooke – Names not the same, keep playing the game. See above.
      Eek, I didn’t hear about a switchblade attack. I hope the law got on it. I have, however, heard of Republicans stomping on faces of Democrats at protest rallies. Why don’t the Republicans care about that?
      And did the Republicans care when a group tried to pull a fraud on a Democratic candidate’s office in Arizona last week? “Jose” and “Ahmed” (fake names) were caught and forced to take responsibility for their attempted actions.
      Political rhetoric. I know some people who are printing up shirts (I didn’t buy one, didn’t want one) that has an Elephant symbol crossed out with a “No” sign and reads NO TOLERANCE with a little-type “at the polls” at the bottom. This is to be expected in an election year, just like the local trucks in my area that proudly wear their “(Proud) Deplorable” bumper stickers. If your “enemy” is using nasty rhetoric, sometimes you can’t be all nice and “civil.” You have to shout right back. Election years. Have you ever experienced one? Is this new to you? Fresh out of your mom, are you?
      I didn’t hear about the Trumps getting weird stuff in the mail, but I DID hear about some jackanape trying to climb Trump Tower when he was staying in it. He was dealt with by authorities and…everybody cared. Interesting news week.
      Almost everyone in the public eye receives death threats these days. People who speak out against prominent Republicans get them all the damn time. Hell, post a review of a video game online that people don’t like and you’ll get ’em. I haven’t had any as such myself, just people who seem to really want to drive me to suicide… keeping their hands clean and all. People care. Death threats are not the way anyone should handle things and any ones that look remotely serious get the full law treatment. Also, again, Secret Service and the FBI exist.
      There’s a person I know on another board who is like this about gun-rights and gun-carrying. It’s an “existential threat” thing to them, as in “If we don’t tell these open-carry gun-nut jackholes that they are not welcome in a civil society, they’ll fecking kill us.” There is some truth to that, but I have personally argued with this person a little since I have responsible firearm-owning family members. And again, just because some people want to get in other’s faces about it doesn’t mean that most neighborhoods have people with differing signage and passions living side-by-side.
      Restaurants have the right to refuse business to individuals whose presence causes a disruption. Free Market, baby. Better people are up front and honest about it than spitting in the food in the back, I’d think. Plenty of other restaurants happy to serve them, I’m sure. Also, pales in comparison to what went on in the Founding Fathers days – pistol duels at dawn, dumping things in harbors, beating each other with canes in Congress…
      See above. Also, if she’s supporting an openly racist president with openly racist against Mexican policies, why did she think she should be served at a Mexican restaurant? Not everyone takes to being treated like serfs by the powers that be.
      Threatening someone’s life? Going too far. See rant about death threats above. I’m sure more of your “enemy” cared than you paid attention to.
      Same, same. If you disrupt my business, I’ll ask you to leave.
      See the dangers of becoming a public figure. All of them, all sides get this.
      Are you sure they were “liberal” protesters or is that just what Fox News wants you to believe?
      You say “liberals” like they’re some kind of subhuman monolith instead of a broad group made up mostly of sanes, but a few crazies, just like conservatives. I don’t, after all, think you want to go into a public area and shoot up a bunch of people just because you are clearly conservative. Then again, I don’t know you personally.
      Well, the Republicans aren’t exactly civil to Democrats, are they? You just don’t like it when the shoe is on the other foot. Elections are a form of war, my friend. There’s no such thing as a “civil” war.
      Again, tit for tat. Some crazy people espouse crazy things. They’re generally drowned out by the sane people. I’m just not sure that a certain party is “mostly sane” anymore (but I still don’t think my Republican neighbors are going to do anything rash… I hope not).

      • Reese

        It was about politics from the first. Christy has serious “Trump Derangement Syndrome” and she blames him for the environment which made a nut-case shoot innocent people.

        • “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” bah.

          I think you have a case of “Trump Worship Syndrome.”

          (Not listening to you anymore. Brain has filed you as persona non grata).

          • Reese

            Gee, I’m going to miss you, but I’ve had better friends. Anyway, I’ve got Rush, plus my friends at Fox News and all my fellow Wal-Mart shoppers to keep me company and get me through the hard times. I’ll be fine. Really. I’ll be fine…

          • I’ve got no problem with people at Wal-Mart. I shop there sometimes. Get fishing lures from their sporting goods section.

          • Myles

            Poor Putin’s Troll got the blues?

          • Seed of Bismuth

            ha! like Rush is your friend.

        • Dragoness Eclectic

          Democrats didn’t care when Maxine Waters said “you get up in their face at the mall, in restaurants, at gas stations and you tell them
          Republicans they’re not welcomed anywhere”.
          Democrats didn’t care when Sarah Sanders and her family were harassed at a restaurant, instructed to leave and chased down the street.
          Democrats didn’t care when Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was harassed and chased out of a Mexican restaurant.
          Democrats didn’t care when Trump adviser Stephen Miller’s life was threatened and he was chased out of a restaurant.
          Democrats didn’t care when Attorney General Pam Bondi was harassed and chased out of a theatre.
          Democratsdidn’t care when two Republican senators: Rob Portman of Ohio and John Boozman of Arkansas were harassed in their own yards and on their own doorsteps.

          That’s a lie! I absolutely did care–I CHEERED! Neo-Nazis pretending to be respectable need to be called out and held in the public contempt they deserve.

          • Iron Mike

            Glad to see you are living your Christian faith to others with whom you disagree and lovingly heap judgement and damnation upon them consistent with Christ’s teaching.

          • Dragoness Eclectic

            Hey, Wootzy! Glad to see you lying about what I said! Oh wait, I’m not. I abhor dishonest debaters and “Liars for Christ”.

            Did Jesus not drive the moneylenders and vendors out of the Temple, saying, “You have turned my Father’s House into a Den of Thieves!”?

          • Iron Mike

            Wootzy? LOL. Perhaps today Jesus would be driving out eclectic heretics. 🙂

          • Kyle Miller

            Yes, he did say people are going to Hell…

  • Ulf Turkewitsch

    Christie. Sadly you have a totally incorrect understanding of real Christianity. You believe that atrocities done by the likes of leaders of the Third Reich, ( the Nazis of Germany in the 30s and 40s) represented actual Christianity. They most certainly did not. Other evils, such as those done by many of the major branches of the church, were also not done by people who were Christians. It matters not what they said they were. By their fruits shall you know them.

    • No True Scottsman syndrome?

      Seriously, people have been arguging “What did Hitler believe?” ever since Hitler Hitlered. Some claim that he was an atheist. Others claim that he was a Christian. Still others claim that he followed some kind of weird Germanic paganism. People seem to find scraps of evidence for all of the above. The point is that a lot of people, right or wrong, *perceive* the Nazis as acting in the name of a twisted form of Christianity.

      And I know for a fact that a great number of white supremacists in modern America blatantly claim Christianity. I’ve seen investigative interviews of them. The Klu Klux Klan burns crosses as a (their form of) Christian ceremony – the “Cross and the Fire of Christ.” Of course, they apparently believe that God is White and that Christ is for the White Race only and that other races are “lesser” or subhuman, which is why “cross and fire” (in their case, a cross on fire) IS a symbol of their hate.

      Feel free to see them as “not true Christians” if you want. Those on the outside are seeing them as a representation of the faith. You have to out-represent them. The onus is on YOU to do better.

      And part of that is to stop wringing your hands and proclaiming No True Scottsman. EVERY group has to own their bad people.

      • Iron Mike

        So perception is more important than truth? I’ve never read Jesus preaching that in any of the Gospels. I guess that’s the gospel of the thoughtless.

        • Chari McCauley

          Really? Do you think that maybe the education those folks got from other humans prevented them from knowing Who the Man they are going to execute by crucifixion really was? When they decided to put The Only Son born to The Father up on an instrument used for capital punishment, remember the parable? Father thought if He let His Son come here that we would listen; because, we did NOT listen to our own kind, that their perception was off?

          Do you think you would know Father’s Son, if He approached you on the street? He may come to you looking like something you don’t like, will you know Him?

          If He approached you wearing no symbols, would you know Him?

          • Iron Mike

            It is the education that I got that helps me know the Man they crucified. And yes, I would know Him if he approached me on the street. I meet him daily. And more important, He knows me. 🙂

          • Chari McCauley

            And, He knows all of us.
            He and Father see ALL the circumstances. No human has that perception. We see from the ground. THAT is why we are not to be judges, because we DON’T have Their perspective. We STILL have to learn empathy! Eternal torture was NOT The Father’s idea; it was those infected with hubris that came up with that idea. People who think they know MORE than a Father as old as Father. And, He taught His Son to understand that too.

          • Iron Mike

            Okay…well interesting albeit bizarre theological mysticism you got going there, but nothing grounded in any orthodox Christianity. So good luck with that.

          • Chari McCauley

            Father and His Son made this planet John 1:1 They are BOTH older than Christianity.

          • Iron Mike

            Still trying to figure if God made the planet you’re from! LOL.

          • Chari McCauley

            Is that what I said?

      • Kyle Miller

        And yet Hitler banned the Bible and replaced pastors and priests with Nazis who said Nazi stuff. If you disagreed, you went to the camps. But sure, he wasn’t trying to destroy Christianity in total, he was just a weird form of Christianity. You know, the type that wants to get rid of all Christianity…

    • Vucodlak

      My great-grandfather was this minister (it’s a link): Henry Gerecke, Minister to Nazis During Nuremberg Trials, Examined by Tim Townsend In New Book

      You’ll notice that he gave communion to many of the prisoners who he ministered to, all of them members of Nazi high command, while one person in particular (Hermann Goering) he refused it to. I never met him, but I grew up hearing stories about him from my grandfather (who was also there). Chaplain Gerecke took his responsibility as a minister very seriously. While he believed he had a responsibility to minister to anyone in need, he would not give communion to anyone who wasn’t a Christian. Goering wasn’t; he wanted communion “just in case.” My great-grandfather refused, and he got a lot of heat at home for that.

      So don’t tell me that the Nazis weren’t Christians.

    • Cake

      Any time someone goes off on what “real Christians ” do I ask them to eat a Tide Pod as the Book of Mark instructs.
      When will you be eating yours and should we call the ambulance before or after you chew it down?

  • Guthrum

    There is no requirement that any Christian wear a cross, vestments, robes, special hats, collers, or stoles. We often see those in more liturgical type settings. In fact the Bible seems to go against these types of images. But what counts is what is inside and that Christians follow the teachings of Jesus. Most Christians support the Jewish people and Israel.

  • English Dreamer

    I feel much the same way about the American flag. It has been usurped by White supremists and the alt-right, flying it next to Confederate Flags and Swastikas.
    None of these people are “Christians”, rather they are true Satanists. They blaspheme Christ’s name (a HUGE sin), and follow the voice of the evil one.
    Symbols do not make one a Christian nor an American, rather actions, and faith do; Faith that our Lord is a loving God, and faith he will guide his children and Actions in order of what America was based, on freedom of faith and actions of love of all people as Christ himself preached.

    • Myles

      Isaiah 45:7 God is Satan.

  • Kerry Wells

    I experienced Jesus as the consciousness of the Sun

    I wrote an ebook about my experiences that
    is free to download in pdf form, and the ebook is also available on
    blogger, links are below

    link to my free ebook, “Messages from the Sun God, Jesus Christ”

    http://www.mediafire.com/file/riox16d87g86626/Messages_10.pdf/file

    link to the ebook on blogger: https://messagesftsg.blogspot.com/

    blog http://www.jesuschristsungod.com

    • Cake

      Bye Muh BoOk!

  • morbass

    Nazis did not act in the name of the Christian god, millions of Christians died at Nazis hands as well. Have we heard that the synagogue shooter a professed Christian? If he was, all reasonable people can understand he does not represent Christ teachings. Wear the cross proudly in the face of hatred.

    • Myles

      To be a Nazi you had to be christian. “GOT MITT UNS” was the motto.God is with us.

      By-the-way, Hitler declared that he was murdering jewish people for Christ.
      The “cross” is a symbol of two thousand years of murder.

      • Martha Arenas

        German Christianity did not equal Nazism. While the Nazis were willing to use German Christianity to further their own aims, we do not see any heartfelt support or identification with their Protestant ideology. There was even a law passed banning the use of swastikas in churches. The dominant attitude toward Christianity displayed by the Nazi leadership was that of Alfred Rosenberg who maintained that Christianity was a Jewish religion.

        In addition, remember that Hitler replaced of the crucifixes in Catholic schools with pictures of himself. Figuratively claiming himself to be god, Hitler then tried to assassinate the pope.

        “The Bekennende Kirche—the “Confessing Church”—emerged in opposition to the “German Christians.” Its founding document, the Barmen Confession of Faith, declared that the church’s allegiance was to God and scripture, not a worldly Führer. Both the Confessing Church and the “German Christians” remained part of the German Evangelical Church, and the result was a Kirchenkampf, or “church struggle” within German Protestantism—an ongoing debate and struggle for control between those who sought a “nazified” church, those who opposed it, and the so-called “neutral” church leaders whose priority was the avoidance both of church schism and any kind of conflict with the Nazi state.”

        Before you go an claim that I am blinded here is the source:

        https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-german-churches-and-the-nazi-state

      • Kyle Miller

        Blatant lies. Enjoy Hell. He replaced the Bible and replaced pastors and Priests. Wanted to exterminate the entire Church. He believed Jesus was a German. Liar and fiend is what you are.

        • Myles

          Wilful ignorance damages your health.

          • Kyle Miller

            Myles. You are simply talking to yourself. You are willfully ignorant. And I think you misspelled “willful”.

        • Myles

          Wilful ignorance is bad for your mental health.

      • morbass

        Belief in a God does not make one Christian. Also David Korseh and Jim Jones were also acting in the name of Christ, does not make them orthodox Christian. There is no evidence that Hitler ever believed or practiced orthodox Christianity.
        The cross is not a symbol of murder but of LOVE my friend! Christ willingly accepted the cross as atonement for our sins. No greater love than for one to lay down ones life for one’s his friends. Peace.

        • Myles

          To everyone in the world, who is not a christian, the cross is the symbol of your murderous death-cult. Two thousand years of your actions prove just who and what you stand for. Love has no connection.

  • Reese

    There is “spam” and there is “truth”, Ms. Christy. My post was not spam, you can google each of those examples and find the videos. Truth hurts, but it is there if you have the courage and honesty to face it. By the way, can we expect a big “I’m sorry” now that one of the Kavanaugh “victims” has recanted? Really? (Gasp!) You mean a woman would lie? Who knew?

  • April Davidson Hollingsworth

    Me accepting the fact that Jesus was a Jew and preached adherence to the Law was the first step toward my agnosticism. Tread lightly, my friend. Or tread heavily if truth is of ultimate importance.

    • Kyle Miller

      What? Full of lies. Christ was a Jew, but he clearly said he was fulfilling the law and thus had different teachings than the Old Testament.

      • WingedBeast

        Christ clearly said that teaching that those teaching that you could ignore even a bit of the old law would be among the least in heaven.

        • Kyle Miller

          We and he didn’t ignore even a bit of the old law. He fulfilled the law. Obviously Christ’s law is the same meaning and spirit of the old law, but the punishments are different.

          • WingedBeast

            Ah, so you refuse to wear clothing of mixed fabrics? Good.

  • Richard B

    We wear the cross as a sign of who and what we are and that we stand for God’s righteousness; not as a political statement.

    • Myles

      Following a dead man on a stick only indicates that you belong to a death-cult.

      • Kyle Miller

        Yeah. Says the one who worships science and dead scientists.

        • Myles

          I adore truth. That is something no religion is ever acquainted with.

          • Kyle Miller

            Lol. Said the person brainwashed and blindly following liars to Hell.

          • Myles

            Heaven, like Hell, gods, demons and devils exist only in the minds of the mentally ill.

          • Kyle Miller

            Yes, you’re right. They only exist in the mind if the person is mentally ill lol. Anyone who’s not will see that they exist in reality outside of the mind.

  • Tonia White

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    about my feelings for my boyfriend she searched for a spell caster who could help me get my ex boyfriend back to me without my knowledge. I never knew but one day she

    introduced me to him and i got to know him and as time goes on i began to feel the rush of my boyfriend’s presence around me and within 3 days, my boyfriend got back

    together with me. My testimony about how i got my ex back have gone viral in my school and many of my friends have had a contact with this spell caster. I would post

    his email here for those looking for someone to help email is lordnoblespellcaster@hotmail.com or lordnoblespellcaster@gmail.com or you can call or whatspp him on this

    number + 1(817)755-0129 ,,,,.

  • Poking around, I found something related last night – I knew I’d read this a long time ago. It’s a post from an interesting (and popular) blogger from way back in 2009 about the meaning of the cross and (metaphorical) vampires. A good Halloween-season post.

    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2009/09/10/vampires-crosses/

    Some vampires wear the cross of conquest, while recoiling from the cross of sacrifice.

  • Myles

    Two thousand years of hate, intolerance and murder did not make any impression but what happened in Pittsburg finally woke you up, you poor thing.

    • Kyle Miller

      Myles. You’re the hateful person. We died for others. Muslims exterminated anyone who stood in their way.

      • WingedBeast

        Actually, Muslims have died for others and, historically, were better at protecting access to holy sites for Jews and Christians than Christians were.

        • Kyle Miller

          Yeah. ISIS. The Arabian League that fought against Israel, saying they would exterminate all of them. The churches they constantly burned.

          • WingedBeast

            So, the KKK represents Christianity? Because that’s just as valid as ISIS representing Islam.

          • Kyle Miller

            The Arabian League, bro……….. They were literally all of the Arab Muslim countries in the Middle East. They swore to finish Hitler’s Final Solution. Sheesh. And way to say a dumb platitude that anyone can say and think of. Islam is a trillion times worse than Christianity. And no, the KKK doesn’t represent Christianity. They also aren’t like the Arab League.

          • WingedBeast

            The Nazis were Christian, too.

            You’re saying that Muslims aren’t all good. Congratulations, they’re people. But, Christianity doesn’t fare any better under the standard of “can name examples of bad people operating under the same religion”.

          • Kyle Miller

            Oh yeah, the Nazis were Christian, is that why they banned the Bible? Is that why they killed entire races, because Jesus said to in the New Testament? (Obviously he doesn’t).

          • WingedBeast

            Actually, because Martin Luthor said to. And, I did a google hit on that. No, they didn’t ban the Bible. Neither were they universally positive on the church.

            But, here’s the thing. The Christians in Germany weren’t exactly universally against the Nazis. In fact, the Nazis didn’t invent antisemitism, but simply worked with what had been in Christianity from the beginning.

            Christianity doesn’t come out clean in the standard of judgment you apply to Islam.

          • Kyle Miller

            Martin Luther didn’t say to you fool. He said that if a Jew killed a Christian he shouldn’t be forgiven, but ‘slayed’, I.e. given the death penalty. At the time people wouldn’t give them the death penalty. It’s also not scriptural and would be heresy to say what you said he said. And Wikipedia says:

            During the war Alfred Rosenberg formulated a thirty-point program for the National Reich Church, which included:

            The National Reich Church claims exclusive right and control over all Churches.
            The National Church is determined to exterminate foreign Christian faiths imported into Germany in the ill-omened year 800.

            The National Church demands immediate cessation of the publishing and dissemination of the Bible.

            The National Church will clear away from its altars all Crucifixes, Bibles, and pictures of Saints.
            On the altars there must be nothing but “Mein Kampf” and to the left of the altar a sword.[51]

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Nazi_Germany

            Also, where is scripture antisemitic? And by the way, it was written by Jews…

          • WingedBeast

            I didn’t say scripture was antisemitic, I said there was antisemitism in Christianity.

            But, to answer your question, the pharisees were depicted in highly inaccurate caricature. The entire bit about Pilate offering to set someone free due to a Jewish holy day was a means of blaming Jews for the death of Jesus (as opposed to the Romans).

            Passion Plays were consistently used as antisemitic propaganda and to shore up support for pogroms.

            The Nazis didn’t invent antisemitism out of thin air. The culture was soaking in it for the entire history of Christianity.

            You see, you’re laboring under the notion that Christianity is, somehow, pure of the sins of other faiths. It isn’t. You can point to Muslims that do horrible things in the name of Islam and you can point to just as many Christians doing horrible things in the name of their faith.

          • Kyle Miller

            What a joke dude. When did Christian hijackers fly jet airliners at 500 mph into buildings or exterminate entire races? Bro. Islam is a trillion times worse. Everyone knows it. This isn’t a revelation. Mohammad also had a 6 year old wife that he had sex with at age 9. The founder of Islam did that… And he said that war should be waged against the nonbeliever forever. Until they’re gone or they’re Muslims. And what are you? Atheist? Your people have done almost every sin in human history. Especially in the 20th Century. Billions killed in the 20th Century (look it up, like China, Soviet Union, North Korea, etc.) alone. Who are you to say Christianity has done as much as other religions, when we obviously haven’t, and billions have died because of atheists?

          • WingedBeast

            You chose a highly specific act of terrorism. But, if we expand that to terrorism in general, what burning wreckage of a clinic did you miss? How about pogroms and inquisitions and magdeline laundries?

            With regards to genocide, see the aforementioed pogroms. See also extermination of native americans.

            If you want to discuss Islam, there’s criticism to be done, but it requires that you be ready for some more nuance than you have. Pure hate of others isn’t putting any religion that has you as a member in a good light.

          • Kyle Miller

            Probably 80% of what you just said was nonsense. Your motivation is out of hatred for Christians and God, and fear of God.

            Pogroms are something that left wing people (many of who want to kill Jews, such as the UK Labour Party) talk about to destroy Christianity. Many pogroms came from the fact that Jews were seen as having the money, seen as doing usury, and were different, not from scripture. The church condemned the pogroms, etc. And don’t forget what Jewish people did to Christians. The Inquisituons were done by monarchies, not the church for the most part (especially the Spanish Inquisition) and 300 people died in 300 years from that Inquisition. And think about it, you have to go back 500, 600, 1000 years for Christians. Muslims are committing massive genocides right now, not to mention atheists. Muslims are burning down churches so Christianity can’t grow in Indonesia, Egypt, etc.

          • WingedBeast

            Something left wing people talk about to destroy Christianity. Simply bringing up the existence of people, in the name of Christianity, attempting genocide is a plot to destroy Christianity.

            When simply siting the reality is a plot against you, there’s nothing to be said to you.

          • Kyle Miller

            Bro. I’m saying this for you. I don’t care. I want to do other stuff. Also, I notice you haven’t spoken on other things I said.

          • WingedBeast

            Since you don’t care, there’s no reason to go into how someone who paints disagreement as hatred of God has abandoned all credibility. I’ll just say good bye.

          • Kyle Miller

            That’s not what I’m doing. But okay. And sadly, God will say your last sentence to you when you die.

          • WingedBeast

            That’s exactly what you’re doing. In fact, hating and dismissing those who disagree with you is all you’ve done in this comments section.

          • Kyle Miller

            “Dismissing”. Yeah. That’s why you said goodbye.

          • WingedBeast

            You’re the one who said you didn’t care. I was just taking you at your word.

          • Kyle Miller

            Yeah. Okay man. If you keep doing as you are, you’ll end up in Hell, next to all the people you hate. At least I know Christ though and follow him.

          • WingedBeast

            And, Christ leads you to take pleasure in the thought of other people in Hell, such as when you said “Have fun in Hell” to someone for the high crime of not using one particular symbol anymore?

          • Kyle Miller

            Dude you know you just said a lie. You know that I don’t take pleasure in that. Obviously that’s a sarcastic thing “have fun in y or x”. But Christ said there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth there. It’s going to be…well, hell.

          • I may still be a Christian (faith hanging by a thread and I feel…skeevy… having to own you as a “brother” – then again, I never got along with my actual brother, either…) …

            But if there even is a Hell (in the way that you imagine it) and if there’s a Heaven that’s full of people like you – people who turn their back and look away, people who will not stand up to God and DEMAND he do right by humanity by rescuing them / DEMAND that those gates of the New Jerusalem never shut, people who will be CONTENT to know that a portion of humanity suffers forever – much less a Heaven full of people who DELIGHT in it…

            Oh, I’d much rather go to Hell. I’d rather go mourn with those who mourn. I’d rather have solidarity with Humanity.

            Apparently, all I have to do is continue not-wearing-jewelry at all times.

          • WingedBeast

            No, I don’t know it’s a lie. I know how easy it is to feign compassion when delivering a threat.

            I know that you told someone they were going to Hell for the high crime of not using a particular symbol. I know that you’re threatening me with Hell for the high crime of not agreeing with you demonizing people for one of the largest religions in the world.

            I know that such threats are an easy place to go.

            I cannot know that someone who would call the creation of Hell as a place to put someone who disagrees with him doesn’t have so twisted a conscience as to take pleasure in it.

          • Kyle Miller

            That’d be a pretty good argument if Jesus hadn’t said that everyone is destined for Hell without Him. We were already going there.

          • WingedBeast

            That’s biblicaly dicey at best. And, if so, you introduce the problem of Hell, that being that an omnipotent god would have to have made Hell the only alternative to worshiping him, in the case of your beliefs, with use of necessary symbols. Such a god is evil.

          • Kyle Miller

            No. We’re evil. We all are so we need Christ.

          • WingedBeast

            Someone who thinks creating eternal tortyre for everybody who doesn’t worship them is evil. Calling that good doesn’t improve one. The fact that your faith allows your spewed hate doesn’t imrove it.

          • Kyle Miller

            Lol you couldn’t be saying more predictable, mainstream faith hating stuff.

          • WingedBeast

            Not a thing I said was anti-faith. It was just against your uniquely hateful version of Christianity.

          • Nick G

            The Nazis did not ban the Bible, liar.

          • Kyle Miller

            Actually, they had plans to. I read it as a plan that had gone into effect. It hadn’t yet gone into effect. Still, they replaced Priests and pastors and sent them to the concentration camps. And they had plans to…the only reason they couldn’t do them was because they lost. And if any pastor truly preached what Christ said, they were sent to the concentration camp. Hmmm…sounds like a banning of Christ’s words to me.

      • Nick G

        We died for others.

        Truly remarkable that you’re able to post here despite having died for others!

  • Al Cruise

    It’s only the role of “time” that will really changes things. 62 per cent of millenniums do not support the current Republican policies. Even higher percentage for the young folks following behind them. As the conservative white baby boomers die off so will much of their views. History repeatedly gives evidence of this process.

    • Remember, there are baby boomers who are with the millenials in this. I know baby boomers who don’t have the stereotyipical “baby boomer views.”

      • Al Cruise

        I am aware of that. Note I said ” conservative white baby boomers ” to be more clear , “Trump supporting white baby boomers.”

  • Teresa Reitan

    Like you, I am heartsick about Pittsburgh, and I’m not even a Christian! I’m a Pagan, to be specific, a Wiccan. But the massacre at that Pittsburgh synagogue brings back all the horrors of the Holocaust. I was born a year and a half after the camps were opened, and I’m only familiar with the Holocaust through films, but I was friends with a couple who lost most of their relatives on Rosh Hashanah, 1942. I promised myself that if I ever became a movie producer, that I would tell that story in film. Although we worship different deities, my heart is with you.

  • So much evil has been perpetrated under religion. A lot of good too.

  • B.E. Miller

    I stopped identifying as Christian after so many churches failed to condemn the gay hate that comes from other churches.

    I used to be Catholic (and I really miss it) because of Tuam, the Magdalenes, other Catholic run orphanages, and the covering of up abuse. And worse yet, so many Catholics seem to feel that the victims just need to “forgive and move on” and not “take money from the Church.” And the Catholic Church doesn’t seem to be learning, now that they’ve spent more than 2 million on keeping the statue of limitations from being expanded.

    And now there are folks like Vic Cunningham saying that God hates mixing of the races. Or people like Nancy Campbell, Debi Pearl or Lori Alexander saying that women are only ‘saved’ by child-bearing, and should be married. Unmarried women are ‘failing’ God’s plan for their lives.

    Or people like Michael Pearl or Voddie Bauchum who advocate beating children because it’s “Godly”.

    Sigh….

    • Kyle Miller

      Lol. Then you were never a Christian. You’re wrong. The same verse that says homosexuality is wrong also says slave trading is wrong. I’m sure you think both are okay.

    • Iron Mike

      You don’t identify as Christian because of a church. You identify as Christian because of a relationship with Christ. You live that relationship in community and THAT is church.

      • B.E. Miller

        But the Catholic church is a community. And if you take the side of the victims of the church, then you lose that community.

        • Iron Mike

          Yes–the Catholic Church is a community, but that’s where our agreement ends. I don’t think there is such a thing as “victims of the church” because if the church is the “Body of Christ” as Jesus taught, then those who victimize others within the church do not represent Christ or His church.

          We do take the side of victims when we vigorously prosecute offenders and those who conceal crimes. We take the side of victims by putting in safeguards. You notice that abuse reports most often are incidents that took place decades ago. There are reasons for that: psychological screening before entry into the seminary, criminal background checks, fingerprint checks every two years, mandatory reporting laws and policies, safe-environment certification that must be completed every two years.

          What happened in the church was a crime and should never have been tolerated and I for one am glad for the reform that was long overdue. Every church–regardless of denomination is FULL of sinners because human beings are fallible. And yet, the Catholic Church is holy–not because of the holiness of it’s clergy or members, but because Christ is holy. There is no other reason why the Catholic Church has survived 2,000 years of scandal and weakness. It persists because the spirit of God is alive in her and lived daily by faithful sons and daughters of God.

          It is we who are in error when we put our faith in a church instead of our faith in Christ. I do not leave Christ because of Judas.

          • WingedBeast

            That’s just engaging in a “No True Scotsman” fallacy. If the church is a community, it’s all the members of that community, not just the select group of people who are never on the wrong side of an issue.

          • Iron Mike

            Not at all. Membership and especially leadership in a community requires acceptance of doctrine and adherence to a code of conduct. If a clergyman’s violates that sacred trust, he ceases to represent the community. He is not just prosecuted, his formation to a clerical state is considered defective, and he is laicized–removed permanently from a clerical state. His conduct do

          • WingedBeast

            Except, we have a wealth of recent evidence that that does not happen, and not just in the Catholic church. People commit abuses and continue on, often with the help of the leadership efforts to keep victims quiet.

            Now, either you’re very ignorant of a wealth of information about such abuses and church cover-ups and victim-pressuring and victim blaming, such that you’re discussing a fantasy land, or you’re engaging in the fallacy, saying that everywhere that doesn’t happen just doesn’t count.

          • Dragoness Eclectic

            Hahahahaha! Maybe if the Roman Catholic Church had actually done any of this, they wouldn’t be the contemptible servants of Hell they have become. (I will not call it the Whore of Satan, because that is demeaning to sex workers, who get enough abuse as it is… thanks to the oh-so-“Christian” churches over the centuries).

    • Dragoness Eclectic

      I am Christian because of my belief in teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the “hope of the life to come”. I don’t currently belong to any particular denomination, because too many of them have incorporated anti-Christian doctrines that they proclaim as dogma. (Though I am considering ELCA, or Episcopalians, or some Universalist denomination). In particular, I doubt I will ever go back to the Roman Catholic church, short of some divine Sign that the RCC has been “torn down so that not one stone stands upon another” and rebuilt in the Spirit as a Holy Church, rather than the corrupted, defiled Thing it has become with the sanctioning for decades if not centuries of child molestation and abuse, with its institutional, doctrinal misogyny (such contempt for half of God’s own good creation is downright Satanic!), and its general hatred of human nature.

  • Kyle Miller

    Dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. Enjoy Hell. You either don’t care about the Jews that will be killed when Christianity is greatly weakened, or you’re so Unchristian and unintelligent to see that your idiotic and evil, and discriminatory, ideas will lead to both them being killed, and Christianity ceasing to exist. You should be fired and repent. But you won’t, because you think you’re God.

    • Seed of Bismuth

      Dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. Enjoy Hell.

      • “I’ve been there, thank you! I found it quite lovely!” _ Winnifred Sanderson.

  • soter phile

    you said: “I can no longer identify with a symbol of oppression that opens the doors of murder and anti-semitism.”

    Jesus, our Jewish savior, was murdered with this instrument of oppression – the cross.
    Why do you think Christians came to see it as the primary symbol of our faith?

    God took the worst event in history and made it the greatest symbol of hope… (Gen.50:20)
    Why would you stop wearing our constant reminder that God is that powerful & good?

    • WingedBeast

      Because it isn’t that reminder anymore. Times and cultural context have changed. It’s no longer a reminder that God is powerful and good. It’s now, to many, a reminder that “we are powerful and good and other people are evil for not being us”. To others, it’s a reminder of Christians oppressing others. To yet others, it’s a reminder that others have taken the public image of Christianity and done their best to associate it with hatred and murder and xenophobia and family separation.

      • soter phile

        By that logic, no symbol could ever stand the test of time – much less change anyone. All symbols have been misused.

        Seems much better to follow MLK’s lead on this.
        He didn’t ask Southern racists to abandon their faith & view of the Bible.
        He told them to actually read & enact it.

        • WingedBeast

          All symbols are transcient things. And, if you think it’s the symbol and not the meaning communicated, then you’re engaging in magical thinking.

          • soter phile

            semantics. you’re wanting to make a distinction without difference.

            the power of the cross is in the original meaning – hence its place as the primary symbol of the Christian faith.

          • WingedBeast

            There’s an important difference, if the power of the cross, today, is related to a different meaning.

            Sure, you can say it represents sacrifice in the name of serving those with less power. But, in today’s context, it means the a powerful voting block or the reason why someone can support Trump while still claiming to be on the side against hate or the selfrighteousness of people who think they’re humble when they hide their hubris behind a cross.

            Once upon a time more recent than representing sacrifice, it represented an excuse to murder others in pogroms.

          • soter phile

            Yes, yes, contextualization, micro-aggressions, trigger warnings, etc. But it is very myopic to think that will be the new and lasting given.

            the cross has not been misused as a symbol before and yet come roaring back to its original place within the faith. 2 millennia across much more varied landscapes than this current, Western-individualistic moment demonstrate to the contrary.

            so again, the symbol & the meaning communicated… i’ll take the long view.

          • WingedBeast

            You immediately take the very concept of considering an experience from a perspective not your preferred information and poo-poo the entire thought.

            The cross now symbolizes people who do that. It has for centuries.

          • soter phile

            Funny you don’t see yourself through that same lens.
            Your prior responses here directly fit your last remark.
            You are hoist by your own petard.

          • WingedBeast

            Where have I poopooed the concept concept of considering other people’s experience and perspective?

          • soter phile

            “because it isn’t that reminder anymore…”
            “all symbols are transcient [sic] things… you’re engaging in magical thinking.”
            “the cross now symbolizes people who do that. it has for centuries.”

            over 2 billion Christians disagree. i’m not invoking the fallacy of the majority (the number doesn’t make them inherently correct) – just pointing out how many people’s experience you are “poo-pooing” out of hand.

          • WingedBeast

            So, you’re saying that I’m dismissing the powerful by insisting that those who don’t have the privilege of being the dominant religion have valid perspectives on both symbols and the actions of those of that dominant religion.

          • soter phile

            You moved the goalposts by adding the word “powerful”.

            And note well: Christianity is most rapidly growing in Africa, Asia & Latin America… does that fit your pre-existing grid of ‘the powerful’?

          • WingedBeast

            No, I pointed out what you were doing. You were attempting to call me a hypocrite for pointing out that perspectives you don’t acknowledge exist without giving privilege to the perspective of Christians who agree with you. It was the feces of a male bovine mid-copulation and I was pointing that out.

          • soter phile

            Without your (later) addition of “powerful”, your critique was directly self-refuting. Labeling that fact as BS doesn’t make it any less accurate.

            And then there’s the fact that your ‘power’ dynamics critique fails to account for the exceedingly large number of Christians in the world who embrace the cross yet nonetheless are not in positions of power.

          • WingedBeast

            A. That’s not exceedingly large when in comparison to people who embrace other religions despite the price paid for doing so.

            B. Your entire point was ignoring other people’s perspective in the favor of your own, which was obviously already acknowledged by you. So, it isn’t accurate. It’s typical “why don’t you tolerate my intolerance” bs.

          • soter phile

            a) again, you want to move the goalposts. *your* critique was that Christians are the “dominant” & “powerful”. now that I’m pointing out most Christians are not, you want to broaden the topic.

            b) no, i’m not ignoring other people’s perspective; but – unlike you – I’m admitting that the truth is inherently exclusive (of untruth, etc.). you instead want to have your cake & eat it, too (“I’m so tolerant that I can’t tolerate your position”). when that fallacy is pointed out, you choose pejorative labels over a substantive reply.

            “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”
            – GK Chesterton

          • WingedBeast

            a) No. I wasn’t critiquing Christianity or Christians. I was critiquing you and your excuse for eliminating perspectives you don’t care to or want to acknowledge.

            b) It’s amazing how you, personally, have the absolute truth that doesn’t give a shit about the inherent subjectivity of language and symbology or the perspectives of people who aren’t convenient to your truth-claims.

          • soter phile

            a) thanks for making my point. again, you’ve stated your critique in a manner that *precisely* applies to your own comments.

            b) i don’t claim to have the absolute truth. There is one who claims to be Truth. He holds his sheep in his hand… and – for any Christian – when he calls, there’s no “inherent subjectivity of language and symbology.” they come when he calls. Kant, Kierkegaard & Wittgenstein notwithstanding.

            that’s not *my* view – it’s Jesus’ own words (Jn.10:27-29). For Christians, that matters more than anyone else’s views… including my own. In this particular instance, your problem is with Jesus, not me.

          • WingedBeast

            a) Make the case that I am completely ignoring the perspective of yourself, rather than that I am factoring in not only you, but people who are not you.

            b) And, you can be wrong about what the Truth is. You can be wrong about what the Bible means. You can be wrong about all of this. Implicit in your claims is that you cannot be mistaken in your interpretation of the Bible, ever at all, thus making it *you* who’s infallibility you are resting upon.

            It is not Jesus’s perfection you are insisting upon, but your own. The fact that you hide your hubris behind God does not turn it into humility.

          • soter phile

            a) again… interesting that you did not extend that same courtesy to those with whom you disagree. it seems unfathomable to you that I might have factored in differing opinions and *still* come to hold my current position. so you continue to make my point for me.

            b) yes, *I* could be wrong. thankfully, the hope of my faith is not in me – but the objective reality of Truth outside of me. it’s the reason I look to Christ as my savior, and not myself.

            along the same lines, no… I do not believe myself infallible. yet i am equally skeptical of historical-critical folks who seem to deify their own interpretations, despite the clear teachings of the text (not to mention the Bible’s incredible staying power over millennia & various cultures).

            it is precisely Jesus’ perfection which leads me to trust the Scriptures… just as he did. the height of hubris for a Christian would be to claim to follow Jesus yet not submit myself his views. The very thing you interpret as pride is precisely the opposite: confidence in Christ instead of self.

          • WingedBeast

            A) But, you’ve shown not the slightest indication that the experience of others even has interest to you. Your every argument is about discounting that their experience has relevance at all. Your argument is that what is communicated has nothing to do with their experience.

            B) You can be wrong about Jesus’s teaching. That isn’t confidence in Christ, but hiding your refusal to acknowledge your fallibility behind Christ.

          • soter phile

            a) again… again, you’ve stated your critique in way that devastatingly undermines your own position. with minimal knowledge of me, you’ve jumped to conclusions – and then object that you think that’s what i’ve done. the difference is: i’m admitting my view is that Truth is not pluralistic. but for you, it is completely self-refuting.

            b) *I* could be wrong. but i’m not the only one believing the *clear* teaching of the text, as affirmed by not only orthodox Christians for 2000 years, but also many secular and atheistic authors who admit that is clearly what Jesus was claiming (even as they reject his teaching). your desire to concoct a Jesus unknown to the annals of history matches only the last 2 centuries of higher-critical scholarship… who notably *begin* by assuming the text is flawed. that’s a refusal to acknowledge.

          • WingedBeast

            a) If you have taken anybody else’s position into account, show, don’t tell.

            b) What we’re talking about, right now, is whether or not someone can reasonably come to the conclusion that the cross, as a symbol and in today’s context, doesn’t communicate what Christ wants communicated. You don’t have Christ’s word on that.

            Neither do you have Christ’s word on whether or not Genesis is a factual history rather than a fictional story. Neither do you have Christ’s word on any number of things you claim to be clear.

            When you’re declaring that someone else’s considered position is just plain wrong for reasons that don’t require you to put any more consideration in than that Christ is clear (despite the disagreement among two worshipers thereof) in saying what you believe, it’s not Christ you’re worshiping.

            If it were, you’d have to make your case and be ready for the possibility of being wrong. You aren’t doing that. You aren’t appealing to any biblical principle. You’re just saying “this way or the highway” and the fact that you think saying “Christ’s” means you’re not actually presenting *your* way is just your own ignorance at play.

          • soter phile

            a) again… you’re supporting my point. are you not thinking: “hey, would this criticism directly fit his ongoing counter to me?” you are continually perpetuating the stereotype here of your own “i’m so enlightened I don’t see how i’m doing the very thing i’m criticizing” position. did you *show*, or just criticize?

            b) on the contrary, the very discussion of the cross and Christ affirms what i’m saying. you think by appealing to the subjective that the objective reality is lost. i’m saying – from the beginning – the subjective has always been there as a rival… and God nonetheless overcomes. just read the NT: all those guys are idiots… and even their mistakes get used (Gen.50:20; Mt.26:35; 2 Cor.11:30-33).

            as for Genesis, you’re attempting to introduce a red herring… but it is worthy of note that Christ affirms *all* the OT & Law (Mt.5:17-18), and explicitly references Genesis 1 in Mt.19. your claim here (that he didn’t consider it history) bears a greater burden since he references it (and the entire OT) so positively throughout the Gospels.

            and here, again, your wrong assumptions are on display.

            1) i have a post-graduate degree in this field from institutions that are readily identified as progressive and/or secular. i am well aware of the alternate views & the scholarship. i’ve had the arguments in the academy.

            2) i have had the personal conversations ad nauseum. i have been down these paths numerous times. almost *every* single time, it regresses to a discussion of whether one privileges individual experience over Scripture as a basis of authority. on all of these major questions, so-called “final form” criticism/scholarship is rather united on the clear teaching of the text – even among the most liberal scholars. they might discard the passages, but they generally admit the obvious on the major, repeated themes: yes, that’s what it says.

            3) in that regard, if you appeal to adiaphora (indifferent/little things), sure, we can find some ‘gray.’ but, again, this is a red herring in our discussion. here, you are appealing to the exclusivity of Christ (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12; Gal.1:6-9; etc.) – a theme throughout the NT, a fact for which the early church died & uniquely spread Good News (unlike any other), and a teaching which has been pervasive throughout Church history.

            That is not my “ignorance”, as you claim. It’s my awareness of the scholarship, Church history, and the basic content of the Christian faith – both in theology and practice. So, yes, when I hear a repeated, flawed premise on something this important, I call it out directly.

          • WingedBeast

            a) Again, “why don’t you tolerate my intolerance”. And, that’s BS. Particularly in this topic where the matter isn’t whether or not you’re allowed to use the cross, but whether or not another Christian can stop using that symbol while remaining Christian.

            b) So, you’re saying that a major theme of the New Testament is that the cross, as a symbol, is so important that you have to keep using it even if you come to the conclusion that it’s been appropriated by bigots supporting a bigoted President?

            c) Again, we’re not talking about the resurrection or salvation or virgin birth or any of that. We’re talking about Jesus’s position regarding the cross in today’s cultural context. Your position is that Jesus was so clear that it’s impossible for language and symbology to be subjective enough that what was the right symbol to take on in one context is no longer appropriate in another.

          • soter phile

            a) again, “i’m so tolerant i can’t tolerate you.” yes, that is BS, including the attempt to claim some logical & moral high ground while openly asserting a self-refuting argument.

            and, to the cross, the crucifixion IS central to Christian theology (1 Cor.2:2), unlike wearing it as jewelry. the former was my point. i merely called out the tragic loss of the point of the cross to overcome the lie the author was conceding (namely, “the cross has been misused, so I can’t press for reclaiming its proper meaning”) in deciding not to wear it. it’s the underlying teaching which is central.

            b) you want to add “as a symbol.” the NT doesn’t delineate ‘symbol’ from historical fact. it is a biblically central snapshot of God’s burning heart for a broken world. i’m an ardent critic of our president – so i’d stress all the more that he be called out (as well as many misguided, self-styled ‘evangelicals’) for trying to co-opt something that speaks so powerfully to the contrary of so many of his political positions.

            c) the cross was Jesus’ self-selected focus during his life here (e.g., see John’s use of “my hour” throughout, always meaning the cross). it is not the whole of his life, but it is a purposeful snapshot of why he was here – by God’s design. casting aside that central thing is unwise, precisely because it MUST be re-visited in sharing who Jesus is.

            also: no, language *can & will* be misused. but God’s clarity is greater. it doesn’t stop God from calling us to use language – and pointing out that by his Spirit people will understand (1 Cor.2:6-16) that Gospel which is of first importance (1 Cor.15:3-8) and must not be changed (Gal.1:6-9).

            or to put it as Nietzsche did (again, no friend to Christians, but he got this much):
            “Modern men, obtuse to all Christian nomenclature, no longer feel the gruesome superlative that struck a classical taste in the paradoxical formula of ‘god on a cross.’ Never yet and nowhere has there been an equal boldness in inversion, anything as horrible question, and questionable as this formula: it promised a revaluation of all the values of antiquity.”

            If even Nietzsche sees that the cross *means* something that enormous… even in rejecting it… well, as Paul said: “I am unashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of salvation for all who believe, first the Jew and then the Gentile…” (Rom.1:16)
            and note well: he meant ‘Gentile’ much the way you reference “other” uninitiated contexts, and the possibility that they will misunderstand the cross or see false appropriations of it. nonetheless, Paul said: “I resolved while I was with you to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor.2:2).

          • WingedBeast

            a) Of course, the thing the tolerant can’t tolerate is that you refuse to let people be equal members of society in peace. If you’re not doing that, then you have no problem.

            To be clear, Christians are not only tolerated in American society, but still quite privileged. It’s the antisemitism, the anti-Muslim bigotry, the anti-gay bigotry, the racism, etc. that is not tolerated. If you find that so intolerant of you, the problem is you.

            b) Since the meaning, not the symbol, is central, then another Christian making a personal decision regarding the symbol shouldn’t be so much of an issue with you.

            c) We are *talking* about a symbol. That’s the blog-post that you responded to.

            The poster isn’t rejecting or being ashamed of the gospel or of Jesus. It is of those who, in the name of Christianity, have spread and justified hate that she’s ashamed of.

          • soter phile

            a) wrong – your premise is flawed.
            you’re assuming “i’m the tolerant one, not the other person”…

            i) which again demonstrates the very thing you claim to be actively rejecting (self-refuting)

            ii) there is no such thing of “diversity for diversity’s sake” – everyone has a basis for their ‘tolerance.’ your objection is ultimately not to my intolerance, but that *my* tolerance is not based on the same premise as *your* tolerance. we have differing metaphysical bases for tolerance – hence they look different. but you strongly imply i’m the ‘bigot’ for not sharing yours. you might want to check the definition of the word.
            to be clear: my view of tolerance is based on my Lord – who was incredibly tolerant of some things & people, and incredibly intolerant of others (e.g., injustice, false teaching, etc.). for example, he called out some of his fellow Jews for relying on their ethnicity instead of what Abraham taught (Jn.8). is that anti-Semitism? by your definition it would be… and yet Jesus sees that as essential for saving them.

            iii) I’m not seeking for Christians to get more ‘privilege’ (a concept contingent on the current political landscape, which presents a false binary for biblical Christians). that’s why I’m so critical of Trump. but i’m equally critical of current cultural givens that fail basic logic tests (e.g., exclusive belief systems masquerading as ‘tolerance’ while disallowing other exclusive belief systems).

            b) i’ve had much more issue with your views in this thread than the author – though I stand by my criticism. the author is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. reclaiming the symbol is *necessary* for sharing the Gospel. the author’s reasoning for throwing aside the jewelry forgets this necessity.

            c) see ‘b’ & my previous entry. the cross is BOTH a historical fact & a symbol. attempting to separate the two as a Christian forgets the premise of our faith.

            and the author – to the degree that some of those wearing the cross & wrongly articulating *some* aspect of the faith ARE nonetheless part of the body of Christ – is ashamed of Christ’s bride. note well: Christ never is. he instead reclaims his bride (Eph.5:23-31) just as we should in discussing the cross.

          • WingedBeast

            I’m going to pare this down.

            “c) see ‘b’ & my previous entry. the cross is BOTH a historical fact & a symbol. attempting to separate the two as a Christian forgets the premise of our faith.”

            To be to the point, this is your entire objection and it is feces of the male bovine mid-copulation. At this point, you’re worshiping the symbol, itself, as much as what you claim is the only thing it can possibly represent, and that is idolotry.

          • soter phile

            no, that is not my entire objection.
            1) you’re conveniently leaving aside that your argument was self-refuting…
            2) and resorting to pejorative labels for lack of a substantive reply.

            i am not worshipping the symbol, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out. the cross is not the whole, but it is inherent to God’s self-revelation. i do not worship the cross; I worship the God-man who conquered death on the cross (Php.2:6-11… yet *another* place in Scripture that demonstrates the cross is intrinsic to sharing the Good News of who Jesus is).

          • WingedBeast

            1) Just because you claim it so doesn’t make it so.
            2) Idoloatry isn’t a pejorative label, it’s an accurate description of what you’re doing.

            Your choice of biblical quote, for instance, only mentions the cross in so far as it’s how Jesus died. That’s it. It doesn’t say that the cross is a necessary symbol for being Christian. It doesn’t say that the cross must be a symbol of something specific. At best, what you have is the cross being mentioned in passing while something far more important is being discussed.

            Would you worship Jesus less if he died from beheading? If the answer is “no”, then the cross, as an instrument of execution, is incidental. Therefore, as a symbol, it’s just a convenient symbol once upon a time and no longer.

          • soter phile

            1) …which is the same thing that I’ve been saying about your critique since the beginning of this thread.

            2) no, idolatry isn’t a pejorative label – but are you really going to claim “feces of the male bovine mid-copulation” is not?

            I gave you a singular example of the Gospel as presented in Scripture… hence the “yet another” reference. The cross is there. You’d be hard pressed to find a gospel presentation in the Scriptures that doesn’t *assume* it, if not explicitly reference it. again, it’s intrinsic to the Gospel. you can’t tell Jesus story without mentioning the *climactic* week of his life, as he goes to the cross & conquers death in the resurrection.

            if you read thru the Gospel accounts, he’s frequently mentioning “the messiah must suffer & die” or “my hour” (in John). it’s central. it’s why the NT repeats it over & over. it’s why Paul says “I’ve resolved to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified.” It’s of “first importance” (1 Cor.15:3f). It’s how God reconciled us to himself (2 Cor.5:19-21).

            beheading vs crucifixion is a red herring. the cross IS Jesus’ method of death – and hence its historical significance, especially to all of his followers.

            have some misused it throughout history? of course.
            and yet here it remains – a central truth to which Christians return, EVEN after it has been misused. the very permanence of the cross to continue to point Christians back to Christ debunks your claims here. And that’s an empirically verifiable claim – not a “once upon a time and no longer.”

          • WingedBeast

            I will repeat my question, would you worship Jesus any less if he had died by beheading?

            I think you’re replacing the importance that Jesus died with the importance of the means by which he died.

          • soter phile

            Shall I repeat my answer? Because I already answered your question.
            No, I recognize they are inherently intertwined – especially since Jesus made it clear that he laid his life down of his own volition (Jn.10:18).

          • WingedBeast

            So, you’re saying the specific means of death is more important than the willingness, the death, the pain, the salvation, or the resurrection.

            You’re worshiping the cross. Idolatry.

          • soter phile

            How many times do I have to answer the same question & you say back something OTHER than what I said?

            NO. I’m saying… the specific means of death IS what tells us “the willingness, the death, the pain, the salvation & [the nature of] the resurrection.”
            It’s not an either/or. It’s a both/and.

            a) historically: this is the death Jesus chose. you don’t get to entertain counterfactuals. that historical reality is WHY the cross has a central place in the faith (and not an axe/guillotine/electric chair/etc.).
            b) theologically: likewise, the way it happened and the broader meaning are intertwined – necessarily. the particular and the ‘symbol’ are inextricably interwoven. (yes, the cross can be misused, but the best counter to that misuse is the cross itself! certainly not jettisoning it…)
            c) biblically: there is biblical warrant for why this *particular* form of death (Gal.3:13) and why Jesus chose it. it is repeatedly central in proclaiming who he is and what life looks like in following him (Lk.9:23)

            a limited analogy: Jesus also rode a donkey into Jerusalem. A donkey, not a horse. a donkey in particular was prophesied in the OT (Zech.9:9; much like the cross: Ps.22:16). now, consider:
            – were the people worshipping the donkey or Jesus? Jesus.
            – but could it have been any other way, according to the Scriptures? no.
            SUM: it’s not worshipping the donkey, but it couldn’t have been another way.

            the difference here: the cross has greater import than the triumphal entry throughout the rest of the NT… does that mean the NT authors were worshipping the cross – or the one who hung upon it? no, the centrality of the cross in the NT does not mean they worshipped the cross; instead, it rightly acknowledges the pinnacle of God’s self-revelation to a broken world.

            i want the God who revealed himself clearly on the cross.
            idolatry is wanting something other than who God reveals himself to be.

          • WingedBeast

            You’ve got something inconsistent, here.

            On the one hand, you say that the cross is important because of what it communicates. On the other hand, you say that communicating the same exact things, but without the cross, is less valuable than doing so with the cross.

            Because, remember, the poster of this blogpost isn’t denying a duty to love her neighbor as herself. She is finding a conflict between that and using the cross as a symbol. You may disagree with her that there is such a conlfict. But, you and another person are claiming that she cannot legitimately be a Christian while obeying Christ but not using that particular symbol.

            So, there’s a priority being claimed, here. Either what is communicated is more important or the symbol is more important. Your basic premise assumes that the message is less important than the symbol. Otherwise, you could disagree with her conclusion on purely functional grounds, but not consider her any less a Christian.

          • soter phile

            you said: “you and another person are claiming that she cannot legitimately be a Christian while obeying Christ but not using that particular symbol.”
            I said no such thing. I did not say ‘she is not a Christian’. I said she is forgetting that the Gospel cannot be told without the cross. Christians fail all the time – it doesn’t stop us from being Christians. thank God for that: grace – as clearly seen on the cross!

            you said: “either… or… Your basic premise assumes that the message is less important than the symbol.”
            no, i’ve repeatedly told you this is not an either/or but a both/and. they are intertwined – the message and the symbol – in historical fact.

            you said: “Otherwise, you could disagree with her conclusion on purely functional grounds, but not consider her any less a Christian.”
            again, i’m criticizing an unbiblical conviction, not questioning her very faith – unless she permanently jettisons the cross (whereby its critical part of the Gospel is lost), invoking Gal.1:6-9.

          • WingedBeast

            Okay, you’re making less bold a claim than the other person. There’s that much at least.

            But, I still argue that you’re the one with the unbiblical position. The Bible never claims that the symbol of cross is essential to Christianity. In fact, Jesus’s teachings never focus on that. It’s more focused on loving your neighbor than it is on using the cross as a symbol.

          • soter phile

            You need to revisit the Gospels. You’ve selectively ignored Jesus’ repeated megalomaniacal claims pervasive in all his teaching, not least of which is the theme that the messiah “must suffer and die” and be raised three days later… or his focus on “my hour” (the cross) in John. The cross IS a theme of Jesus’ teaching.

            And, again, it’s intrinsic to the Gospels. It’s not just told in all four accounts; it’s the climax. Passion Week. The Cross. The Resurrection. You can’t tell the Gospel without it – and why would you?! As Paul said, these things are of “first importance…” (1 Cor.15:3-8).

            More to the point, substituting “loving your neighbor” is a convenient ploy for re-interpreting Jesus through a pluralistic grid. Note well: he does claim uniquely to be the way – including defining what Love is, as clearly seen at the cross.

            As Paul said: “I resolved while I was with you to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor.2:2). That’s the opening of SAME letter with the famous ‘love’ chapter (1 Cor.13). By your read… that’s just happenstance. But that requires ignoring authorial intent… as does your read on the Gospels as merely pointing at Jesus’ ethics, rather than seeing Who He Is informing those ethics.

            As Luther said: “all of our theology is the cross.”

          • WingedBeast

            You’re referencing the fact that Jesus Christ was crucified.

            But, that’s not the cross being a symbol. There’s a difference. The theology can all be pinned, if you like, on the fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross and was resurrected. (That wouldn’t be the only way of Christian theology, by the way, this is a point of debate among Christians.) But, that doesn’t mean that the theology must be pinned on using the cross as a symbol.

          • soter phile

            Can you tell the Good News of Jesus without the cross?

          • WingedBeast

            Without mentioning the cross at all? It would be possible, but hampered.

            Without employing the cross as a symbol of Christianity? Yes, certainly.

          • soter phile

            “Without mentioning the cross at all? It would be possible, but hampered.”
            that’s disingenuous at best.
            The Gospel writers couldn’t… neither could Paul.

            “Without employing the cross as a symbol of Christianity? Yes, certainly.”
            that’s a false dichotomy – as I have repeatedly said.

          • WingedBeast

            They didn’t try. There would be no reason to try, save in an intellectual exercise. But, it would be possible.

            As for the false dichotomy, it isn’t a false dichotomy, it’s what’s being discussed.

          • soter phile

            Precisely… “No reason to try…” because it’s an essential & climactic part of the story. it’s ridiculous to try to leave it out.

            a false dichotomy makes an either/or out of something that is not merely either/or. in this case – as i’ve pointed out repeatedly – the symbol & the message are intertwined.

          • WingedBeast

            No, “no reason to try” merely means that. There’s also been no reason to try to avoid mentioning Jesus having hair, and that’s not an essential & climactic part of the story. One could communicate all the necessary elements of the death and resurrection, including the pain, the willingness, the salvation, etc, without mentioning the means of the death.

            But, remember, we’re not talking about whether or not the story of Jesus mentions the cross at all, but the use of the cross as a symbol for one’s Christian faith. And, as I said, that is entirely doable communication. So, the idea isn’t to erase the concept of a cross. The idea is that a symbol that has been employed to reference cover for supporting hatred is no longer effective at communicating the love without communicating the hate.

            It’s not that a part of the story is being edited out. It’s that a symbol isn’t being used. The message is still communicable.

          • soter phile

            you said: “that is entirely doable communication.”
            again, not for the NT authors… or the early church… or basically all of Church history.

            you said: “The idea is that a symbol that has been employed to reference cover for supporting hatred is no longer effective at communicating the love without communicating the hate.”

            this is your logical leap. it’s a non-sequitur.
            has it been misused? yes.
            can it no longer be used? absolutely not.
            without *some* level of residual abuse communicated?

            that’s like claiming that the KKK’s cross burnings mean African-American Christians cannot see the cross without thinking of the KKK. i’d invite you to actually ask them that question… especially those who have crosses all over their homes and churches. do not be surprised when it is *that question* – and not the cross itself – which communicates more latent racism than the cross ever does.

            you are giving too much weight to the misuse of the cross and not enough weight to its power to overcome the misuse – which was the entire point of the cross of Jesus. and it’s why you find the cross all over African American churches today – directly disproving your contention.

          • WingedBeast

            It’s not a non-sequitur. It’s what we’re discussing.

            When you focus on the burning cross on a lawn, you’re focusing on something very blatant. But, to non-Christians, it’s not just the blatant racism and bigotry that they see. It’s the covert. It’s the people who will be very nice and say they have a black friend so they’re so not racist, but still take in all the lies about a caravan of refugees.

            And, it’s not like these people know they’re misusing the cross when they reference their Christian faith as to why they’re the good people, even though they’re actively combating people in their search for sanctuary.

            That’s their experience and it is real and it colors how they respond to the cross. As does the insistence of many that they are wrong for responding to the cross as though it represents… well, the very people who are upset about how wrong they are for thinking bad things about people who use the cross to represent them.

            But, this is all a digression from another point. You keep on claiming that the NT authors *couldn’t* communicate the gospel without using the cross as a symbol. There are two important things.

            1. The cross wasn’t that big a symbol of Christianity until Constantine. So, they effectively did.
            2. So what? You’re making this *HUGE* leap from “this one group of people didn’t communicate X without this symbol” to “It was impossible for them to do so” to “it is similarly impossible for ANYBODY to do so”, which is all incredible BS.

          • soter phile

            1) no, the cross was an *historical fact* inherent in all discussions of the Gospel – from the event onward (i.e., LONG prior to Constantine). *you* are the one attempting to draw a (non-existent) hard & fast line between the historical reality and the symbol (how the historical reality functioned in the minds of those who hear about it/see the cross).
            2) again, see #1… which i’ve been repeating throughout. and yes, it is impossible to communicate the Good News of Jesus without the climactic events which make it Good News. That’s why it’s of “first importance…” (1 Cor.15:3-8).

          • WingedBeast

            I’m actually not the one drawing a hard&fast line between historical reality and the symbol. I’m, in fact, pointing out the existence of the perspectives of people that you, if you’re obeying Jesus’s most important directive, are supposed to find it in yourself to care about… at all. And, you’re not. Because, doing so might make the decision to not use this particular symbol potentially legitimate.

            To 2… You seem to think the fact that Jesus died on a cross and that you’re claiming an impossibility (one that I’m going to point out is BS) of describing the death and resurrection without referencing the cross as an impossibility of sharing the faith without using the cross as a symbol.

            Remember, the story of Jesus and him dying on a cross isn’t what’s in discussion here. Neither is the concept of referencing the cross while discussing Christianity. All that’s under discussion is whether or not the blogposter can legitimately not use the cross as a symbol representing the blog-poster’s Christian faith.

          • soter phile

            Caring about people and acquiescing to false views of reality are not the same thing. At no point did Jesus say: love others by jettisoning who I am.

            Think about what you just wrote… “describing the death and resurrection without the cross…” There’s several levels of ridiculousness within that notion. And again, many of the people for whom you want to speak do not agree with you (e.g., African-American Christians).

            you said: “Remember, the story of Jesus and him dying on a cross isn’t what’s in discussion here.”
            this is overtly begging the question. you cannot settle the debate by assuming the very thing under debate is already decided. again, that is YOUR contention; I’m contending the opposite – including and especially when a self-styled Christian throws out the cross.

          • WingedBeast

            It seems that you’re saying that it’s impossible to stop using the cross as a symbol without changing that the cross was the method of death. And, that’s BS. If you’re arguing that one cannot, possibly, stop using the cross as a symbol without denying that the cross was the method of execution of Jesus, that is complete BS.

            And, sure, some people disagree. Now, consider how they are not *all* people and one can, quite reasonably, still disagree with them.

            IOW, you don’t get to use black people as your weapon against disagreement.

          • soter phile

            you said: “…you don’t get to use black people as your weapon of disagreement…”
            a) i didn’t realize you were in a position to dictate the terms of conversation. in this conversation in particular, that seems rather self-refuting.
            b) i’m not using black people as a weapon. i’m pointing out that your logic fails to account for a major and obvious contrary example among marginalized & abused communities. merely saying “that’s BS” not only fails to be a substantive reply, but also only further de-legitimizes the African American experience. again, ironies abound.

            you said: “you’re saying that it’s impossible to stop using the cross as a symbol without changing that the cross was the method of death.”

            **IF** one’s “method of death” were the only thing in question, you *might* have a point. But as i’ve repeatedly pointed out: the cross is intrinsic to the narrative; it’s the climax to which the protagonist/author himself points throughout. to claim that the cross is merely a peripheral and optional facet of the story fails to acknowledge the basic narrative arc, much less the much larger metaphysical claims at stake.

          • WingedBeast

            “a) i didn’t realize you were in a position to dictate the terms of conversation. in this conversation in particular, that seems rather self-refuting.”

            That’s not terms, that’s basic expression of how this works. You don’t get to say “look, there’s black people who agree with me” and have that legitimately get you out of having to acknowledge the people who don’t.

            “b) i’m not using black people as a weapon. i’m pointing out that your logic fails to account for a major and obvious contrary example among marginalized & abused communities.”

            And, if I were claiming that this was the entirety of the experience, that there were no Christians among those communities who use the cross as a symbol, you’d have a point. I’m not, so you don’t.

            I’m claiming that there are communities who have been abused specifically by people weilding that symbol. Those communities include, but are not limited to, Jews, LGBTQ people (yes, I know there are Christians among that group), Muslims, atheists, as well as racial minorities.

            “merely saying “that’s BS” not only fails to be a substantive reply, but also only further de-legitimizes the African American experience. again, ironies abound.”

            I’m not delegitimizing them. I’m pointing out what you’re doing doesn’t work. Effectively, you’re using them to delegitimize anybody who might view things different than you. I know this trick. It goes “see, you care about marginalized groups, so I’ll use one to shut you up”. No, I won’t shut up.

            I’m not arguing that anybody is obligated to stop using the symbol, only that one is not acting in an unChristian or unbiblical manner by not using the symbol.

            But, if you really want to employ this, you shouldn’t say “see, they agree with me”, you should point to some harm done them by not using the cross as a symbol. Because the blogposter’s point is that she sees a harm done others by using the cross as a symbol.

            “**IF** one’s “method of death” were the only thing in question, you *might* have a point. But as i’ve repeatedly pointed out: the cross is intrinsic to the narrative; it’s the climax to which the protagonist/author himself points throughout. to claim that the cross is merely a peripheral and optional facet of the story fails to acknowledge the basic narrative arc, much less the much larger metaphysical claims at stake.”

            Let me be clear, the cross as a method of death or even as intrinsic to the narrative (not universal Christian doctrine by far) aren’t in question. The *only* thing in question is whether or not the blogposter is acting in an unChristian or unbiblical manner by simply refraining from using that symbol.

  • Since I’ve been watching the back and forth about “symbols and their meanings” and participating below, I thought of something pertinent as a way of illustrating the way symbols change according to the context in which they are used.

    Consider for a moment, the Radiation Symbol:

    https://image.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/radiation-symbol-260nw-224219440.jpg

    This is the international symbol for “nuclear radiation.” It actually escapes me who designed it, but it is the worldwide accepted symbol. We think we know it so well. It doesn’t have the credit of “decided by divine fiat” as what is claimed for religious symbols, but it is a universal symbol all the same.

    It’s a modern symbol, not an ancient one, yet ITS MEANING CHANGES WITH CONTEXT.

    Think about it.

    If you see this symbol on a fenced symbol in the desert enclosing a giant cairn of rocks, it’s A WARNING FOR YOU TO KEEP OUT (unless, of course, you want tumors). It is the sign of a nuclear waste containment site and a sign of clear danger.

    However, if you visit a hospital and see this symbol outside of certain rooms, it means that it’s a radiology laboratory of some sort – a place with machines that use radiation. In this way, the radiation symbol, in a way, becomes a sign for diagnostic and healing, but also remains a sign of danger because it means “Only trained technicians and prepped patients are allowed in this room when the equipment is running.” It doesn’t mean quite the same as the above “Run away from here!” sign, since it’s lower-dose radiation turned to a useful purpose by skilled persons.

    Now, think about this symbol when seen outside of a bank vault or a concrete structure that you know was erected circa 1950s – 1960s. Think about this symbol with the word “Shelter” below it. It has a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT meaning than the two examples above. In the case of the Fallout Shelter, this sign means “Come inside here to be PROTECTED FROM the deadly radiation when the bombs fall.”

    The Sign of the Cross also has different meanings in context. Think about it for a moment: When you’re doing addition and using the + sign – that’s a cruciform, but I doubt any of us suddenly bows before their mathematics homework or their calculator going “Oh, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior!” when calculating 2+2.

    Likewise, whenever any of us see a Red Cross truck go by – yes, it began as a Christian / Church-based charity, which is why there is the Red Crescent alternate in parts of the Middle East for the Muslim branch of it, however, when one sees that, one doesn’t automatically think “Christianity” in the modern world anymore. People think “Medical services,” “Disaster Relief” or “Donate Blood.”

    When any of us sees a burning cross on a Black family’s lawn, we don’t think “Oh, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!” we think “Oh, crap! Hate crime!” (Or perhaps for some of you, “Oh, goodie, hate crime! Get those darkies out of my neighborhood!” – I hope you don’t think that for the sake of your soul). A burning cross is CLEAR SIGN OF TERROR.

    Well, unless it’s the Methodist Cross – which is a Cross with a little flame behind it, but that’s hardly a full cross-on-fire.

    Then there’s the fact that I cannot find a clip from “The Simpsons” to illustrate my point further. There’s a scene in one episode of “The Simpsons” in which Marge plants a backyard garden and starts to erect a scarecrow. She gets the struts up – a cross – before bundling the straw and getting some old clothes. As she’s bringing the rest of the materials out, she finds Ned Flanders and his children on her garden plot bowing before the cross and praying because they decided “Oh! A cross! We must worship it!” Marge shoes them away with a rake as if they were crows and proceeds to finish building her scarecrow.

    A lot of people are striking me as being like the Flanders’ right now. Now, I know Ned Flanders is a nice guy and very sexy, but… please, you don’t want to be a Flanders.

    Please, be more thoughtful and consider contexts.

    • Iron Mike

      The difference is the radiation symbol was not one given by Christ to teach important spiritual truths about the nature of God and His plan of salvation. If you draw equivalence between a radiation symbol and the cross, it betrays a lack of understanding of the most fundamental doctrines of Christianity.

  • Scott

    Oh, please! Could you be more pretentious? So this is why you won’t where the cross anymore. Whatever.

  • Scythe

    Wow. It’s amazing in this day and time that we still have people that are so high and mighty, yet so biased. I should mention ignorant as well. If you were truly a Christian, your faith would not have been hit as hard as you say it was by the actions of a madman. Yeah, I am sure whatever demographic you are tailoring this bullshit to has already drank the Kool-Aid, and are saying “Hell yeah”, but to most of us…..it shows a serious lack of integrity and honestly.

    Yes. I am calling you on your bullshit.

    If everything you were as a Christian was summed up by symbol (a cross), then you were never really in the club, so to speak. The message was never about a symbol. Wear it, or not. Many of us could care less if you wear a cross. The message was always about your actions, not reactions.

    Sure, it was wrong, but how do YOU bear any responsibility? You don’t. The fact that your entire belief system was apparently based on a symbol, instead of the message, is very sad. Wear the cross, or do not. Be a Christian or be something else, your choice. I doubt any of us care.

  • Guillermo Martinez

    I support your decision to stop wearing the cross in support of our Jewish brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh.

    As I was reading your essay, an image of men wearing “crosses” as they rampaged through the “Holy Land” in the name of Christ during the crusades came to mind. As a follower of the Christ, I’ve been appalled by the support of many evangelical christians for a political figure (Trump) and political system that has exploited rascism, anti-semitism and misoygny to further a fascist political agenda. Trump and those who support him have some responsiblity for creating an environment conducive to racist, bigoted behavior and violence.

    Trump was elected with the support of the KKK and American Nazi Party. What happened in Pittsburgh is a hideious consequence of putting people of his ilk into positions of power….

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/792ab1a406f3aeeb4f6b4cf1029a7d4dd6cab0b5f188a7f90bee4e8bf83bf886.jpg