Comment: on wearing crosses and carrying them

Here's my question, and it's really one of emphasis: is all this noise being made about the right to wear a cross threatening to overwhelm any signal about the call to carry one?

Here's what the Bible says directly about the issue of the 'religious freedom' to wear a cross necklace to work:


Your screen hasn't broken – that is a blank space.  That's not because the Bible has nothing to say in the debate, it's just that it doesn't ask the questions in the same way. (That is, it asks big questions about things like rights, individualism and community, duty and preference, what diligent work looks like and so on – and they're all addressed across the whole of the Bible, not just in fortune-cookie snippets).

Now, here's something that is in there and is pretty direct.  It's how Jesus chooses to end the sentence 'if anyone wants to follow me' (if anyone wants to be a Christian, basically, so kind of important you'd think):

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9.23, ESV)

For all the lawyers out there, that cross is a metaphorical one, by the way.  I'm not about to defend Christians' right to haul life-size Roman execution devices into their offices.

Carrying one's cross in this context, as I'm sure you don't need me to point out, gives a vivid picture of 'killing off' self-centredness.  It's about banishing selfishness every day (crucifixion would be done outside the city walls) and letting in love for God and love for others in its place.

Whatever happens with the verdict about wearing a cross to work, there absolutely cannot be a law against a Christian carrying this kind of cross at work.  For one thing, that truly would deny people 'religious freedom' by shutting down an essential expression of being a follower of Jesus.  Secondly, it should be a law that no-one would even want to bring in – everyone can surely agree that if our society starts legislating against people living selflessly, we really have lost it.  And lastly, it literally wouldn't be possible to make that law.  We have no way of objectively testing someone's motivations; for better or worse, definitive knowledge of whether or not you're living selflessly is literally between you and God. 

That means, dear fellow Christians, that we are totally free to practice the essential faith expression of selfless living all day, every day, no matter where we work (actually, for full disclosure: I suppose there's a risk you could eventually lose your job for under-performance if that job relies on selfish exploitation of others…)

As Paul puts it in Galatians 5: 'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.'

So, please, can we have some more talk of carrying crosses to go with all this wearing chat?

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