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Leopard Print Crosses? October 2, 2014

Posted by michaelnjohns in Uncategorized.
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Today I saw a woman wearing a black shirt

Like this:

Leopard Print Cross T-Shirt

Apparently you can buy this.  I’m just not sure what message you’re conveying.  I saw another version of the shirt, but the cross was inverted.  Again, what’s the message you’re conveying?  I was fascinated to read this article about the psychological messages behind animal print.  But a cross?

I bet even a leopard would run from that.

A cross would normally communicate that a person is a Christ follower.  It could just be simple as that.  The twist of the leopard print could just mean the person wanted something that looked more attractive than the original instrument of torturous death.  Our modern, fashion crosses are painless, made of pretty gold, silver, or wood.  So why not leopard print?  But really.  Why leopard print?

I just don’t think it’s appropriate.  In the modern era, animal print, especially spotted faux-large-feline print, means something that makes it antithetical to its’ use as a cross.  The fashion industry, and jewelers, and anyone else making crosses, it’s not their fault. Not even the music industry.  It’s the consumer, and the question is, where’s your heart if you’re buying this?  If you’re buying it, or using it, and not a Christ-follower, just in my opinion, you’re trivializing a symbol that’s important to a lot of people.  If you’re buying it, or using it, intent on blasphemy, you’re mocking Jesus himself.  It’s expected.  Faithless people have no expectation of Jesus’ literal return as it was promised.  But I look at the number of promises from the Old Testament that were fulfilled and recorded in the New Testament, I have a hard time not expecting Jesus, and soon, based on Second Peter Chapter 3 alone.

There are legends about inverted crosses.  One popular story holds that Peter the Apostle didn’t think he was worthy to die the same way Jesus did, so when sentenced to death by crucifixion upholding Jesus’ prophecy, church legend holds that Peter begged to be crucified upside down.  Another legend holds that an inverted cross is a symbol of Satan.  I would hold that any cross might be, since it was an instrument of torture and death.  But historians also document people being crucified on a big “X” as well.  Maybe that suggests an X can be a symbol of Satan too.  I’m just thinking in a linear way, not meaning to make any kind of statement, except, maybe anything you want to make into a satanic symbol can be one.  On a big X or a cross, upright or upside down, whatever way, the victim ends up dead.  Christ followers, paradoxically, use an upright cross to represent that they are Christ followers.

The world’s comedians have had a field day with this, but one of the most thoughtful reactions, despite the comedy routine’s admixture with blasphemy, reflected that Jesus probably never wants to see another cross, for all eternity.  He may be right.  “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” makes light of a crucifixion death, but the irony of the men singing “always look on the bright side of life” while being crucified always reminds me of a Christ Follower who can sing “Count your many blessings,” while going through the storms that come to everyone’s life.  We might survive the battles against life’s storms, but we still have the battle-scars.  The comfort of faith that knows what’s on the other side of this life doesn’t make this life any less difficult, when it’s difficult.  The writers of the Gospels didn’t report that Jesus sang while he was on the cross, but a close examination of quotes attributed to him while being crucified bear a striking parallel to Psalm 22.  Which would have been a song.  A Bluesy song, but a song.  When Paul was locked up once, after being roughed up,The Text says he was busy praying and singing.  Seems legit. I’ve read that singing helps to lift your heart if you’re down.

But I still don’t think leopard-print crosses cut the sacred mustard.

Leopard-print crosses.  What will the fashion industry do next to trivialize Jesus?  If you’re wearing a cross, I hope it means something more to you than a fashion statement.  I hope to heaven you don’t think it’s sexy.  Michael W Smith did a song about crosses making the fashion trend.  And I’m right there with Mr. Smith.  “It means a lot more than that to me.”

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