Sign of the Cross

Disclaimer: I am not God. Any judgemental statements are purely a result of my own hypocritical sinful nature. I know not who goes to heaven save me for the grace of God.

That said, I’m looking for some sort of explanation. Why do… um… (heathens? Lite-Christians? Words fail.) wear a cross around their neck? Is it purely a fashion thing? And if so, why is it a fashion thing?

There’s a story this week about a couple, Trevor Blake and Nicola Fitzgerald, who were on a a British Airways flight from England to Jamaica. They drank quite a bit, had sex (twice) in the airplane restroom, then became loud and boisterous and beligerant enoguh to force the plane to be diverted to Bermuda where they were handcuffed.

This post is not so much about them, though, as it is about their picture.Trevor Blake and Nicola Fitzgerald

I’m going to repeat my disclaimer, for what it’s worth. If they want to be an unmarried, drinking, boisterous couple that has sex in public restrooms on an airplane, that’s not my business. But why wear a cross around your neck that reminds us of the sacrifice of my Lord and Savior? Is it really necessary to drag His image through the mud as well?

The Christian faith is clear about many things – we can disagree on doctrine or application, but the basics are clear. Put your faith in Jesus, obey His word. By your words and actions show your faith to others.

I’m pretty sure the heavy drinking, beligerant and threatening behavior, and a bit of fornicating in the bathroom doesn’t match up with the lifestyle Christ calls us to lead. Living a repropate lifestyle and wearing a cross around your neck – what’s that all about?

Is it a fashion statement? Is it a thumbing of the nose at Christ? Why do people wear a cross if they are not following Christ?

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38 thoughts on “Sign of the Cross

  1. Doug, both of those are possibilities. If ignorance, do they believe they are Christians but not know what that means? I was once like that – I knew I was a Christian simply because I knew wasn’t Buddhist, for instance.

    Superstition? Perhaps they think the symbol is saving them from something? Saving them from, perhaps, being caught in the restroom and getting arrested?

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  2. I don’t think you can judge anyone else’s walk with Christ. You have no idea why she wears a cross, or if she is a Christian. Becoming a Christian doesn’t make us perfect, and we are all imperfect in our own ways.

    Why does how she fall short of the mark offend you more than how anyone else falls short?

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  3. I have understood examples of this from many people as a needing a thrill derived from thumbing your nose at the “rules”. Witness Madonna and the latest self-crucifixion. (Crucit-fiction?)

    Perhaps a fear of the jejune? rebellion against tradition? It’s rather sad if this is the meaning behind it.

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  4. Jo, I’ll repeat my disclaimer; what they do is entirely up to them. But it doesn’t take a scholarly theologian to understand that premarital public fornication while being beligerantly under the influence of alcohol is not the type of lifestyle Christ calls us to. And while I cannot judge their walk with Christ, Christians are to hold each other accountable. (I wrote about Christian accountability a few months ago.) My question is, if they’re not a Christian, why are they wearing a cross? And if they are a Christian, why are they engaging in boisterous drunken premarital sex? I don’t care how far “short of the mark” she’s fallen; that doesn’t offend me. Wearing a cross that drags the Lord God’s name through the mud, that does offend me.

    Sean, there may be something to that. If that’s the case, wearing a cross may be more rebellious than a “666” tattoo.

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  5. The place where I got my nose pierced had a picture of Jesus, with some strange jokes around it and some other sort of mockery.

    I wondered why they had to do that? It looks like that woman’s cross isn’t a crucifix, but a cross….which is very prevelant in the “goth” society, and even in other fashion trends.

    It just goes to show how completely depraved we all are and how very much we need a Savior!

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  6. And, before you accuse me of being belligerant, I’m simply confused. It was just in your last post that you said, “Let me ask it in a more personal way. We are not perfect like Jesus, are we? We are tempted and fall into sin, whether it is lust of the eyes, hurt with the tongue, worshipping money and idols, sin of pride, something personal we struggle with as we persevere in our faith. When we sin, is at that moment that we stop believing in God? When we sin, is it at that moment that we stop believing in the bible? No, not at all. Of course we believe. What we have forgotten, though, is the truth of the Word. We forget that sin has consequences. We forget that Jesus paid an incredible price for that sin. When we fall into sin, we don’t become unbelievers. We become un-rememberers. We forget our need for grace. We forget God is watching every move and listening to every thought.”

    So, again, I ask…why is this woman’s sin any different? Is public sin worse than private sin? Or is the issue that no one is worthy to wear the cross?

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  7. Jesus was seen as a sinner and rebel who didn’t follow the rules of the ministers of his time. People find what they want in symbols which is what a cross on a necklace is.

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  8. Hey look, Houston Chronicle visitors. Hey y’all!

    And a link from “Shiftless Mind” – you have a completely different take on it from a perspective of idols. Well worth visiting Shiftless Mind” for a followup.

    Samantha, I agree. I’m not familiar with the “goth” cross. Does it symbolize anything?

    Jo, I think you misunderstand my point. Of course we’re all sinners, and visible sins are no less offensive to God that secret sins, for nothing is coered before the Lord. But there is a huge difference between our inherent sinful nature and the sins we commit and recognize our need to repent and be forgiven, and those sins we gleefully participate in unashamedly. Romans 1:28, “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.” I believe this to mean that we can reject God so much that we can no longer recognize God at work in our lives through intentional, repeated sin. And if you’re at that point in your life where public sex and intoxication are a big part of your life, what’s the point of wearing a cross? Do you see no difference between repentence of sin and frolicking in sin?

    On the other hand, it may be that no one is worthy to wear the cross – check out comment #6 above.

    Gary, that just seems weird to me. While both statements are true, the symbol of cross is more of a symbol of submission, not rebellion.

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  9. But but but I don’t think it’s any less a sin if you feel guilty about doing it.

    Your question was, “Why do people who aren’t Christians wear crosses?” My answer is, “You don’t know they aren’t Christians just because their sins are visibile.”

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  10. John 8:31-32, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Jesus tells us that part of being a Christian is following the teachings of Jesus.

    What is your definition of a Christian? Do you believe repentance and confession should be part of Christian character? Do you believe unrepentant sin marks a character resistant to Christ?

    I don’t care one iota about visible or secret, God knows all. Visible ones are just easier for all to see, both to Christians that are supposed to be following Christ, and non-Christians who look at such behavior as hypocrisy.

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  11. I’m still not seeing your point. You are offended that someone whose sins are visible wears a cross. I’m asking what does visibility have to do with it, since you say there is no different between public and private sin?

    Do you think it’s hypocritical of anyone who sins to wear a cross? Or do people who sin in public also have to repent in public in order for it to count?

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  12. No, I’m not offended someone who’s sins are visible wears a cross. I’ve met alcoholics at the Salvation Army who are struggling with their addiction and proudly wear a cross to remind them they need a savior.

    I’m offended that a reprobate lifestyle, completely unrepentent, portrays my Lord so disrespectfully.

    I have grown close to many people who wear a cross, close enough to be aware of their sins they struggle with. They struggle and they’re repentent. The cross reminds them of their salvation and focuses their words and actions on Christ. I am not offended by them; on the contrary, I try to encourage them in their faith.

    The difference is that they are aware that their words and actions reflect upon Christ. Drunken boisterous public unmarried sex is pretty much covered in Basic Christianity 101, don’t you think?

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  13. Jo: We have been called to glorify GOD in all that we do. If we sin publicly, a true, saved, born again Christian would be convicted of his/her sin, and for the sake of glorifying CHRIST would repent and apologize publicly.

    Michael: I’m not sure what the goth cross symbolizes.

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  14. But you have no idea what is in anyone’s heart. You are judging someone based on a single picture.

    You admit it’s a hypocritical stance. Why are you defending your hypocrisy so adamently?

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  15. Jo,

    Why you are so adamantly bent on defending them? (I’m honestly wondering, not trying to be sarcastic at all).

    We have a King in heaven who demands perfection and holiness from us. He died on a cross to redeem us from our sins. It’s not something that we can take lightly. You are either a Christian or you are not. You can not teeter on the road going to hell and the road leading to heaven.

    You see the point? We have to be very careful that we are not only hearers of the Word, but doers. And while from a simple picture it is impossible to tell the state of that person’s heart, their fruit gives them away.

    The least that we know is that they are not being the sort of witnesses that show Christ.

    Or do you disagree?

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  16. Jo, I did not say I was hypocritical on this issue, and I’m not defending a hypocritical stance. By nature, I and all Christians have a hypocritical nature. If I have a hypocritical stance on this issue, it’s not apparent to me.

    I am called to rebuke a brother and sister in Christ in their sin. I must be careful not to be judgemental while doing so, for I do not know the state of their salvation, and any “plank in my eye” must be removed before I do so. Taking my Lord’s name in vain falls in that category, I believe. If they’re Christians, they need a rebuking for their actions are clearly opposed to the teachings of Christianity. If they’re not Christian, why are they wearing a cross?

    Do you believe followers of Christ should lead hedonistic lifestyles? And if so, what scripture are you basing that on? I know of a few that say the opposite.

    Samantha, your words ring true. Revelation 3:16, Jesus says, “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Jesus has little use for the part-time Christian. He seeks those who seek God with all their heart and soul and mind and body.

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  17. But you’re not rebuking anyone. You can’t rebuke someone you’re not even addressing. You’re not talking to her, you’re talking about her. That puts your “judgemental statements” in the gossip corner, IMO.

    And you still haven’t explained how her sins are any different from anyone else’s.

    I repeat – you asked why non-Christians would wear a cross. I ask how you know whether anyone is a Christian or not, based on a public transgression.

    I do apologize for misreading your disclaimer. I assumed that since you said your judgemental statements were the result of your hypocritical nature you were making a link between your statement and hypocricy.

    The question you haven’t answered is, who does deserve to wear a cross? Is anyone worthy?

    I’m not defending this woman – I don’t know her, or what she’s thinking, or what’s in her heart. No one does. Which is my point.

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  18. But you’re not rebuking anyone. You can’t rebuke someone you’re not even addressing. You’re not talking to her, you’re talking about her. That steers your admitted “judgemental statements” dangerously close to gossip, IMO.

    I do apologize for misreading your disclaimer. I assumed that since you said your judgemental statements were the result of your hypocritical nature you were making a more direct link between your statement and hypocricy. Although now that I re-read it, I’m even more confused. If you know your statements are judgemental, and that they are, in your words, “purely a result of [your] own hypocritical sinful nature”, wouldn’t that be a warning that perhaps those statements are best left unsaid?

    I’m not defending this woman – I don’t know her, or what she’s thinking, or what’s in her heart. No one does. Which is my point.

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  19. Goodness, Jo. Sometime I think we don’t speak the same language. 😛

    While I don’t know what’s in *her* heart (hence the disclaimer), I’m making a link between one exhibiting a hedonistic lifestyles and simultaneously wearing a cross, the symbol of a non-hedonistic lifestyle that follows Christ. And while I question why one such as that would wear a symbol that identifies them as a Christian when there is no evidence, no “fruit of the spirit” evident in their lives, you seem to be defending such a lifestyle (while simultaneously saying you’re not defending such a lifestyle). Which part of drunken boisterous premarital public sex honors Christ? And why would you choose to defend that over the lifestyle Christ would call us to lead?

    They can do anything they want, but when they engage unashamedly in such behavior *and* identify themselves as a Christian, they’re dishonoring Christ.

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  20. I simply don’t agree with your conclusions.

    I agree that the behavior she exhibited wasn’t representative of how Christ wants us to act, and have never defended that behavior.

    I disagree with that being any indication that she is not a Christian, or that there is “no fruit of the spirit evident in their lives”.

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  21. Can we agree to discriminate sinful behaviour?
    The acts mentioned are or or not sinful.

    Now, if they are sinful, then should we not note that they are contrary to Christian theology? Moreover we are asked to tell our brothers that they are acting in a manner contrary to church teachings.

    As for being Christian or not in their heart – that is not for me to decide. However, you cannot have me look the other way to sinful behaviour and note its discordance with doctrine. Otherwise – hey it’s all OK – and that is definitely the way of the secular world. Judge not….does not mean take no note of the sin.

    There is a difference between the sinner and the sin. I’m noting the latter, not judging the former.

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  22. Michael, you haven’t said otherwise, but you’ve said otherthings. Otherthings with which I still disagree. Which is fine; we don’t have to see eye to eye on everything. I still always appreciate your perspective.

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  23. Jo just likes a good dust-up. (as do I).

    So, once more into the breach, friends –

    You call it: “prop” or “not”?

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/showbiz/article-23397596-details/Paris+Hilton%3A+Please+God%2C+save+me+from+jail/article.do

    (Mikey – do me the favor of hotlinking this).

    I gotta go with prop, simply because of the color of the cover. But, to be fair, it may be the “New American Revised Bling Translation” which comes in “discreet” or “rhinestone” bindings.

    The paper back looks read, however. So maybe we are seing a Damascus Road conversion in bad taste.

    What’s your call?

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  24. Sean, based on the lifestyle, it’s prop. I cannot judge her thoughts.

    I can, however, judge her actions that do not render any exhibition of submission to our Lord.

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