Recently some relatives of mine erected a cross on their property. My reaction the first time I saw it was a disgusted sigh. Soon after someone tried to cut it down. Everyone is shocked — SHOCKED — I tell you. They can’t imagine why anyone would want to do that. I get it. Here’s what I would have told them if I hadn’t minded having a confrontation around the firepit and if I thought that they could have comprehended it.
It isn’t that Christians are being persecuted.
It isn’t that people hate Jesus.
When I see that, it is huge waving neon sign to tell me that the people involved are ignorant. Here’s why.
This isn’t a statement of their own piety even though they are practicing Christians.
- A stranger approached them about putting it up on their property. It wasn’t their idea.
- If it was for the benefit of their faith, I would think that they would put it somewhere that they could see it. There is a line of trees between their house and the cross.
- It is angled so it isn’t square to the road as it passes by it, but so it is square in the line of sight as drivers come around a curve and over a hill. This cross is meant to be seen best by people approaching in a car. It is meant to confront strangers.
- It is 15 freakin’ feet tall and painted white so you don’t miss it.
My second thought when I first saw it was, “Damn, that’s belligerent.” They wouldn’t understand unless the people across the road put up a 15 foot tall pentagram or statue of Ganesh or the Koran. They’d be the first people to be grumpy about people shoving things in their faces.
They can’t understand why everyone is so quick to take offense at things. Sorry, but that was deliberately meant to confront people. It was meant to offend so they could be up in arms about people getting offended. I don’t think all this went through my relatives’ heads but I’m fairly sure that is the agenda of some random person who knocks on doors of people with an empty field on a busy road.
With all that being said, I don’t think it was right to try to chop it down. You should be able to do whatever fool thing you want on your own property. I think of things like outrageously large crosses as being like Confederate flags on pickup trucks in the North. It is nice that the idiots are labeling themselves as such so I don’t stumble upon them unaware.
One passage from the Bible always comes to my mind in situations like this.
“Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2So, when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5”And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7
Matthew 6: 1-7