I know I'm not alone when I say that I'm clearly observing the growth of a gap between the "religious" and non (or even "anti") "religious." It seems as both sides are growing, they're also growing farther and farther apart.
Last term, I took a class called Religion and Politics, or as I came to call it; "Church Bashing 101." Possibly for the first time, I was among people who were literally belittling what I believed. Conversations in this class took tones such as "the uneducated believe," "the conservative believe," or my personal favorite "the narrow-minded believe." I suppose I should consider myself lucky that this was the first instance in my life where people were flashing negative light on such a positive aspect of my life. I think one of the things that bothered me the most was the fact that they were making these grand "observations" as if no Christian would dare to take this class. As if they weren't given the chance to get to know "a real live Christian." We're in the United States people! Christianity is the most claimed religion (notice I didn't say popular or practiced). I was sitting right there. A living, breathing contradiction to almost every adjective they attached to "Christian."
This made me start to wonder, if by just looking at me all someone can observe is the fact that I'm a Christian, what do they think they already know about me? Yes, the Cross is the international sign for Christianity, however, for every person who wears one, it has a slightly different meaning. This is what it means to me.
To me, my Celtic Cross symbolizes that, as deep as my family and heritage runs in my very core, such does my faithful belief in God and Jesus Christ. My Cross is a daily reminder of the sacrifice that the savior I believe in made for me. Wearing a Cross, much like any name or logo, means that I am a representative of the term "Christian." This fact makes wearing a Cross, for me, a call to strivte for moral excellence, as I believe Jesus demonstrated. My Cross means that I am one of an entire People that is called to LOVE others through thoughts, actions, service, and compassion.
Unfortunately, I also feel the need to discuss what my Cross does NOT mean.
My Cross does not mean that I think I'm better than you because I'm Christian and you're "just not saved yet." This assumption has always kind of pissed me off. My necklace is not a pedestal that I place myself on. If anything, it reminds me to be humble.
My Cross does not mean that I agree with everything the "Church" says or decides upon. Funny term, "The Church." It was used primarily when a specific religion or church was also the head of the government. But now, there are over 33,820 denominations under just over 150 subheadings. So which "Church" does everyone mean when they say "The Church?" Even within certain denominations there are major disagreements, so to generalize "The Church" is completely inaccurate.
My Cross Does Not Mean That I Think That Gay People Are Going To Burn In Eternal Damnation! Everyone has their own perception of what God is. Personally, I have a hard time believing in a God that hands out rejections.
My Cross does not mean that I am going to shove the Bible down your throat. First, it's a big book, you would die. Second, to quote somebody (not sure who said it first); "No one ever converted by losing an argument." As a religious studies major, I'll be the first to discuss religion with you, but the last to argue religion with you. There's a difference.
My Cross means that before I know anything about you, I Love you. I believe that you were beautifully, and wonderfully made. I believe that we were put on this Earth to, above all else, Love one another.
My Cross is a symbol, it's a reminder, it's a privilege, it's a standard, its an identifier, it's an invitation...
and it's pretty :)