Girls Write Out
Friday, April 02, 2010

Happy Good Friday! It always seems weird saying that, as I remember sitting somberly in church for three hours on this day, listening to the priest talk in some foreign language (strong Irish accent) and wondering when we could leave. One time, an older woman passed out in the three hour service, and I remember as a kid thinking, lucky her, she gets to leave.

Yes, I was a warped child. Not much has changed. Except Easter is my favorite holiday. I love how no matter what the weather is like during the week, the sun always seems to shine here in California on Easter to remind us JESUS IS RISEN!!

Which brings me to a family argument, I'd like you to weigh in on. I grew up Catholic and one of the things I love about Catholicism is the "scary" attributes of God. Meaning, they don't sugarcoat what happened to Jesus. Even as a child, you are faced with the stations of the cross at any Catholic church. I have a hard time with the Evangelical view of Jesus as my friend, and I don't like that my kids haven't learned to properly respect the church building (as we go to church in a century-old school theater.) But here's the argument:

I have a Crucifix on the kitchen wall. This drives my husband crazy because he finds it to be idolatry. I put the palm from palm Sunday behind it, like I always did as a child, and now it's more of an eye catcher. I fail to see the difference between the Cross and the Crucifix, but the image bugs hubby as he grew up Methodist. So what do you think, should I take down my Crucifix since it bugs hubby? Or should he respect that it's my symbol for what Good Friday and ultimately Easter Sunday means?
posted at 12:14 PM  
  Comments (13)
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At 3:31 PM, Blogger Peggy Blann Phifer said...

I hesitate to weigh in on this as I don't want to step on any toes. But . . . I grew up Methodist too. Both my maternal and paternal grandfathers were ministers. But that's neither here nor there.

About the crucifix, I don't equate it with idolatry. It is symbolic, just the same as a plain cross. The difference is . . . the crucifix leaves Christ forever on the cross. But He isn't. He Is Risen. Thus the Protestant's bare, plain cross.

I'm not saying it's either right or wrong but thinking maybe that difference is what's bothering your hubby. What if you put a plain cross next to the crucifix displaying the "before" and "after" of Christ's death and ressurection. Maybe that would be a symbolism he could accept.

Just a thought on compromise. :)

Have a Blessed Easter Sunday

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Ruthie said...

I was a Presbyterian who thought that the crucifix and statues were all idolatrous (spell?) and should be avoided at all costs. However, six years ago I became a Catholic and discovered the richness of the reminders of Jesus' sacrifice and suffering just for us. So whenever I see a crucifix I thank Him for loving me so much to willingly go through torture and death for me. Looking at an empty cross, while a great symbol of the risen Christ, seems rather that...empty. It's easy to forget what an enormous gift Jesus' crucifixion was when we don't have anything in front of us to remind us. That's probaby why, Kristin, you love Easter so much...He died for you and rose again so that you could one day be with Him. What a glorious thought!

Happy Easter!!

At 9:40 AM, Blogger Alison said...

I think the danger is in the potential of it to become an 'idol.' That's a big issue I have with a lot of the Catholic traditions;they are just that, traditions and nothing more to a lot of people (not all.) They just repeat things because that's what they've always done. It's too much religion for me and not enough of Jesus. It just makes people feel good. Personally I don't need a physical reminder of what Jesus did, I remember it everytime I have the unique privilege of coming before Him and everytime He pours His mercy and grace out on me, a sinner. I say take it down lol It's serving as more of a stumbling block at this point than anything else. ;)

At 2:05 PM, Blogger EJ said...

I agree with what some of the others have said - I grew up Baptist and was also taught that the crucifix leaves Christ forever on the cross - which is wrong, because he was buried & then is risen. Would you be comfortable replacing the crucifix with a plain cross?

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

We are Baptist now, but I still prefer the Crucifix. It reminds me of the Sacrifice. I like that the Catholics don't shy away from the ugliness of what Jesus had to do, and I think that's why Mel Gibson was able to bring us his movie. It's funny as a kid, I did the same things over and over again, never thinking much of it, but now those words are etched in my mind and I'm grateful. He suffered, died and was buried. On the third day He rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures...He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and His kingdom will have no end.

At 8:10 AM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

This discussion brings back memories from when I was a child, walking through a store with my mother and seeing a display of crosses and crucifixes. I asked her some question about them and I remember her saying something along the lines of what EJ said, that it leaves Jesus on the cross. While that answer may work well for a child asking why we don’t do something, unless we base what we do on the Word of God, anything we say about this would be nothing more than tradition or personal preference. One of the arguments for not having a crucifix is the commandment not to make a likeness of anything (Exodus 20:4). Given the number of images the Lord later commanded to be constructed, see no way to take this other than to say that it is specific against creating images to represent people or things we worship. If it were just any man on a cross, it might not be an issue, but the fact that we look at it and say that it is Jesus on the cross makes the commandment relevant to the issue. So, the short answer is that I agree with your husband.

However, if we are going to apply that argument to the crucifix, we have to apply it to the manger scene as well. And maybe it isn’t an issue as long as you aren’t bowing down to it or voicing your prayers to it. It is, after all, just a chunk of metal or plastic or wood that could have easily been thrown into the fire or made into a piece of furniture instead.

Not that I have any business getting into the middle of a family argument, but I can’t help but wonder if Ephesians 5:24 is not more relevant to the question you asked. Since the husband should be the spiritual leader of the home, if your husband sees the crucifix as being an idol, that should be reason enough to take it down, regardless of what the rest of the Bible has to say about it.

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Jaime said...

I agree that the crucifixion should be displayed in all its violent ugliness. The physical pain coupled with the Spiritual agony Christ suffered renders me speechless (as it should) ... as for a crucifix, maybe compromise :) Hang it there for the week leading up to Easter, Good Friday and into Saturday then on Sunday AM before every one rises, hang an empty cross for the memory of Christ's victory over it all. :)

... of course, i'm weighing in on all this a little late ... :)

At 5:31 PM, Blogger Leslie said...

I'm going to comment and then read other people's comments.

I think that if it doesn't hurt you for it not to be there (i.e. if you took it down you wouldn't miss it) then you should out of respect for your husband as the spiritual head of your household. If you would miss it; then you need to have a talk about it - maybe there would be another location that it wouldn't bother him (as much).

I was raised Baptist and was taught that "Crucifix's are for Catholics" Actually I was taught even wearing a cross necklace was sinful! (yes, you read that right). As an adult I've learned and realized that a lot of times certain "theologies" that come out of protestant churches have to do with the original conflict between Catholics and Protestants.

I don't agree with much of Catholic belief systems - I do agree that we don't think as much about what Christ actually suffered as we should and that actually seeing the image can be a strong reminder.

Do I think its idolatry? Well that means you'd actually be worshipping it - and you aren't (I hope).

At 9:18 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

I read this to my 21-year old daughter and her response was, "now, if he walks in the kitchen and catches her bowing down to it, then he needs to worry". From what I've learned about you in the couple years I've been reading this blog - I figured you'd get a chuckle out of that. In any case, I grew up Catholic and likewise, miss some of the reverence and awe I grew up with. I understand the argument from both sides: remembrance of Christ's suffering for our sins versus focus on the resurrection, without which Christianity is meaningless. My suggestion would be to ask hubby how serious this issue is for him on the spiritually important scale of 1-10. If it's above a 5, then take it down out of respect for him (see if there is someplace else it wouldn't bother him). If it's under a 6, then see if he can agree to not comment on it further, considering it a gift to you and your heritage. I would think he should know you well enough by now to know that you are not worshiping the thing.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Well, it's in the kitchen, so he can come in and be grateful if there's dinner on the table, and clean underwear on the floor (near the laundry room.) He might be closer to worshiping in there than me. LOL He told me he doesn't even notice it, so we're good. It was from my Nana's funeral, my dad gave it to me, so he knows that there's a lot wrapped up in that Crucifix, people I'm thankful for, a history I'm grateful for and the reminder that sin ain't pretty. : ) And Andrea, I did love your daughter's response. LOL

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

I have a collection of crosses from different places and cultures. They are all mounted on a cork board which sits inside the china cabinet in my living room. Despite the fact that I am a Protestant, I like both crosses and the icons the Orthodox churches use: It's interesting to me how different cultures and groups depict such an important thing as Jesus' death on the cross.

My two cents worth? I'd say keep it because it holds meaning for you, but put in a place where you can see it but it isn't so obvious to your husband. :)

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Pam S. said...

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Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

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Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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