Part 3 in a series of 4. In part 1 I asked if our focus on blood and violence has caused us to miss something vital in the Easter story. Part 2 asked if we have mistakenly celebrated the very thing that Christ came to destroy? In part 4 I will ask if we even need a cross (technically).
We may have overdone it with the cross. It is out of proportion. I want to I hear more about the empty tomb (resurrection) and the coming of Holy Spirit (pentecost).
It can seem like , for Protestant Evangelicals, that it is ‘all atonement theory – all the time’.
I have a friend who said “Discipleship is photo-shopping the cross into every picture and angle of my life.” I asked him if the empty tomb wouldn’t be more appropriate. He said that you can’t have one without the other.
So is that what we are doing?
Is ‘the cross’ shorthand for the whole story?
Is it assumed that when we say ‘Cross’ we mean also Resurrection and Pentecost?
That would make me nervous.
Here is my concern: in the resurrection God spoke a new word over the world. I would like to live into that new word and participate with God’s Spirit who was given as a gift and a seal of the promise.
To obsess on the cross and related atonement theories is to live perpetually in the old word and to camp in the final thing that God said about the old situation.
It manifests in odd ways too. When my school, Claremont, was entering into a new venture of a Multi-Faith University, new logos were drawn up for each participating school. One symbol and one color for each represented religion or tradition. It is actually a cool branding that sends a message I can really get behind.
The problem is that we, as the Christian representative, got a red logo with the Cross as our symbol. We couldn’t have gone with the Flame or the Dove or the Bible or anything else? What is the deal with the Cross obsession? Is it really the best representative for what the whole religion is about?
It has also takes on weird colonial connotations which have compromised its essential message.
I’m just a little Crossed-out. It’s too much. It is out of proportion with the other elements of our faith and is used disproportionally to the other symbols we have.
I would like to see us move into God’s new word for the world – and move out of our perpetual lingering in God’s last word over the old world.