The Old Rugged Cross

This column was published on April 2, 2007 on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum. It also formed the core of my sermon on April 1. On April 5, 2007 this piece was picked up by a newspaper in the Cayman Islands.  Who knew?

About this time last year I was approached by a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses at a bus stop. The bus was late, giving us plenty of time to talk, and eventually the conversation drifted to the subject of the cross I was wearing around my neck.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, it turns out, don’t like the symbol of the cross. For one thing, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe Jesus was crucified. They believe he was impaled on a stake, and this is an important distinction in their theology. But beyond the proper translation of the Biblical Greek word stauroo (“impale” to them, “crucify” to me), my conversational partners were concerned that I would wear the image of the device upon which I believe my savoir had died. (“My mother gave me this necklace” was not a satisfactory answer). Continue reading