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Source: (consider it) Thread: Can we go back to a fish?
no prophet's flag is set so...

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Should the cross, a symbol adopted some centuries after Jesus, once Christianity won endorsement in the Roman Empire, be the Christian symbol? It emphasizes the crucifixion doesn't it? To quote a German phrasing "If your mother would be killed by a hammer, would you than put a hammer on your wall to remember your mother?"

Maybe we should go back to a fish? De-emphasize the violence torture death device of the cross. Or a dove, or the cup of wine, loaf of bread. Something else.

What other symbols might replace the crucifix? Which I guess is technically with the dead Jesus hanging on the cross. Which seems quite a bit more in your face and the wrong symbol. Is there something warped about Christianity that the instrument of death is the symbol? How about a symbol of life?

[thread title now less mysterious, more comprehensible with added "to"]

[ 30. April 2017, 06:00: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
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Alan Cresswell

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The paradox of the Christian faith is that an instrument of execution is a symbol of life.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
The paradox of the Christian faith is that an instrument of execution is a symbol of life.

Today, yes it can be. It wasn't for several centuries. Did we warp it?

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Should the cross, a symbol adopted some centuries after Jesus, once Christianity won endorsement in the Roman Empire . . . .

There are references to Christian use of the cross—and particularly use of the sign of the cross (though on the forehead rather than head and torso)—at least 100 years before the Roman Empire endorsed Christianity.

quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Did we warp it?

Somewhat the opposite, I think.

The cross as a symbol is much, much older than Christianity, and was found in some form in most if not all parts of the world. Its very simple form of two intersecting lines make it able to carry lots of meanings. In various uses it's a symbol of the sun, of the world, of the 4 directions, of the intersection of earth and heaven, etc. In slightly modified form, it's the Egyptian ankh, which symbolized life, as did the cross-shaped Greek letter Tau. The related Hebrew tav also symbolized life—in Ezekiel 9, it was the mark placed on the foreheads of the righteous, to mark and protect them as the "executioners" went through Jerusalem.

Given all of that, I suspect it was inevitable that the cross would become a prominent symbol for Christians—one that could take a variety of forms and carry some fairly deep and archetypal meaning.

[ 30. April 2017, 00:26: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]

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The5thMary
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My problem with the crucifix is that we, at least in the U.S.A., have CHOCOLATE crosses at Easter!! Who in Hell dreamed this one up? Okay, I know this is a serious subject but I had to throw this in...because the cross as a symbol doesn't bother me, it keeps me humble. But a chocolate cross is juvenile and sickening.

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Og, King of Bashan

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It seems to me that this is asking the same question as "focus on the teachings" and "was the resurrection a historic event."

You either think that the death and resurrection narratives are a critical part of the story or you don't. And you attitude about the cross acting as a symbol for the whole operation will probably be flavored by that.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by The5thMary:
! Who in Hell dreamed this one up?

Venerable old Hershey's, it would seem.

Without getting too theoretical(or omitting my debt to Harold Bloom), it can be argued that there is a sense in which America is not really a Christian nation. I can't quite imagine a similarly prominent European company manufacturing a chocolate cross; it's more like something you would see in Charlie Hebdo or some such venue, where it would be recognized as a blasphemous putdown.

But across the pond at Hershey's, it's like "Well, crosses and chocolate both go with Easter, so why not put them together?"

The Reader''s Digest Bible might be another example of the cultural phenomenon I'm talking about. Though, admittedly, it bombed.

[ 30. April 2017, 04:07: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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Martin60
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That's not an evolutionary rewind and wind forward I would want, unless it were as a manta ray or whale shark perhaps.

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Jay-Emm
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
[QUOTE]
The Reader''s Digest Bible might be another example of the cultural phenomenon I'm talking about. Though, admittedly, it bombed.

I think there my main problem would be the title (and any implicit messages in the description) and I can't think of a better one really.

After all the BofCommon Prayer, Lectionary and the Psalter kind of due this to much greater extents. And if it does make it easier to carry, it provides slightly greater flexibility to read different bits than the above, with the understanding if you need to check who Salmon's father was wait till you get home.
The issue is of course what you put in that bracket, how much you make it seem unimportant.

I guess technically you *could* do something with a choc cross in potential, as well (any complaints reading a bit hollow with the Eucharist on the same day, and it's a bit wierd to insist Easter isn't a christian festival), but the assumption that it's probably tacky seems much better placed.

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mousethief

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People are commended for "signing themselves with the cross" back in the Didache, if I'm remembering right. It has been a symbol of our faith for about as long as people have been writing about our faith.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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sharkshooter

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The empty cross is a representation of the ressurection: The cross did not defeat Jesus, He is risen.

Of course, a symbol of the empty tomb would also work, but it would be much more difficult to draw.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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cliffdweller
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As an evangelical, I'm keenly aware of the need for "rebranding", the way my tribe has perhaps permanently tarnished a historic name. But I'm failing to see how the cross is anything but an wonderful and apt symbol of the faith-- a provocative invitation to question why this symbol, a symbol of death, becomes the central point of a faith in the notion that "life doesn't have to be like this"? I think it's lasted because it is so effective a summary of what in fact we believe.

otoh:

quote:
Originally posted by The5thMary:
My problem with the crucifix is that we, at least in the U.S.A., have CHOCOLATE crosses at Easter!! Who in Hell dreamed this one up? Okay, I know this is a serious subject but I had to throw this in...because the cross as a symbol doesn't bother me, it keeps me humble. But a chocolate cross is juvenile and sickening.

Yes. This is just one of a number of really questionable uses of the cross-- rock stars making huge crosses encrusted with gaudy gems a trendy fashion accessory with no apparent thought to meaning, etc. Once I was leafing thru a catalogue of mostly tacky-but-innoculous overpriced "nature themed" giftware-- penguin patterned socks, kitten tote bags, flower bedecked t-shirts, that sort of thing. I was caught short when I came across a gold cross with a dolphin on it. Flipper died for your sins??? Egad. [Confused]


Couldn't get the "Reader's Digest Bible" link to work, but assuming it's an "edited" version of the Bible-- in essence, that's what the lectionary and the creeds are about-- summarizing and editing Scripture to it's key essential elements. Of course, the lectionary and creeds arguably have a stronger and more honorable vetting process.

[ 30. April 2017, 15:06: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Is there something warped about Christianity that the instrument of death is the symbol?

It is bizarre when looked at too closely. This offends many Christians, but it shouldn't.

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If it's not here soon, I might be done
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Jay-Emm
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

Couldn't get the "Reader's Digest Bible" link to work, but assuming it's an "edited" version of the Bible-- in essence, that's what the lectionary and the creeds are about-- summarizing and editing Scripture to it's key essential elements. Of course, the lectionary and creeds arguably have a stronger and more honorable vetting process.

As far as I could tell from the link it was edited (beyond that involved in the initial RSV) to keep half the OT and three quarters of the NT.
I don't know what the pattern was, if it excised entire books*, repeated bits, non-flowing bits (e.g. genealogies), or vetting unsound/unPC bits.

*our school gideons are just the NT (&Psalms), a catholic one just has the gospels. I think the WWI Tommies were just given one gospel, and UCCF similarly gave out just one, (and I heard of one person who was given 1&2 Timothy in isolated texts [Big Grin] ). So there is some precedent.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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in the OP -
quote:
Should the cross, a symbol adopted some centuries after Jesus, once Christianity won endorsement in the Roman Empire...
Just as a point of information - the staurogram (the tau-rho figure used as shorthand for the divine name) is found in the earliest manuscripts from the second century. The staurogram is a kind of crucifix.

Yes, of course it is supposed to be in your face. If you were crucified you stayed crucified, and the process was one of excruciating (that word again!) agony. If discussion of electric chairs and hammers opens the mind to realisation of the enormity of the symbol then so much the better. Death means death, to cite a certain politician. Unless...

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HCH
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I think some Protestants would distinguish between the empty cross, empty because Christ has risen, and the crucifix including a Christ figure. Is Christianity defined by his suffering or by his rising?
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Honest Ron Bacardi
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The empty cross is making a rather different point I think. The crucifix is intended to show he truly suffered and died. Both cross and crucifix have figured in earlier times.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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Gramps49
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Are we talking about te Cross or the Fish? When did the fish stop being used as a Christian Symbol? I used it on my calling card back in the 60's.

The fish appears to have been in use by the 2nd century in Christian circles. The only other symbol that had an earlier use was the Chi Rho if my memory of Christian history is right

It was Augustine who liked to use the letters of IXTHYS to spell out:

Iota (i) is the first letter of Iēsous (Ἰησοῦς), Greek for "Jesus".
Chi (ch) is the first letter of Christos (Χριστός), Greek for "anointed."
Theta (th) is the first letter of Theou (Θεοῦ), Greek for "God's", the genitive case of Θεóς, Theos," Greek for "God."
Upsilon (y) is the first letter of (h)yios[7] (Υἱός), Greek for "Son".
Sigma (s) is the first letter of sōtēr (Σωτήρ), Greek for "Savior."

There are other symbols that were also used, that have fallen into disfavor such as an eight-spoked wheel or an anchor?

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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by Jay-Emm:
quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
[QUOTE]
The Reader''s Digest Bible might be another example of the cultural phenomenon I'm talking about. Though, admittedly, it bombed.

I think there my main problem would be the title (and any implicit messages in the description) and I can't think of a better one really.


Well, in pondering the RDB over the years(yes, I do have my peculiar obsessions), it has occured to me that no one usually objects to Stories From The Bible sorta books, where the original narratives are re-written for their target audience, and which don't make a pretense of actually being Bibles.

The RDB probably has a greater claim to being a real Bible than those Uncle Art style books. Which I suppose might be part of the problem. It's too close to the original to claim "Well, it's not meant to be a Bible".


quote:
I guess technically you *could* do something with a choc cross in potential, as well (any complaints reading a bit hollow with the Eucharist on the same day, and it's a bit wierd to insist Easter isn't a christian festival), but the assumption that it's probably tacky seems much better placed.
re: the chocolate cross/Eucharist comparison...

Well, the Eucharist is eaten for a very specific theological reason, ie. it is what Jesus at the Last Supper asked his followers to do. Whereas, if someone eats a chocolate cross, it's not to enact a solemn ritual, but rather just because chocolate is one of the nifty things that you do at Easter, so why not in the form of a cross?

As for anyone arguing that Easter is not really a Christian festival, I guess you could say that's what I was arguing about how it's treated in a lot of places these days, specifically the US, but maybe elsewhere as well. The Christian content is still there, but it's been subsumed into something larger, much in the same way, for example, that certain Theosophists make the biblical figure of Jesus into an Ascended Master, which still technically referring to the same guy that Christians refer to.

Though in the case of the chocolate Jesus, the cultural behemoth is probably less consciously theological than that of Elizabeth Clare Prophet.

[ 01. May 2017, 02:06: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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Nick Tamen

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I have not encountered chocolate crosses (and for that mercy I give thanks). But I do wonder—in concept, at least, are chocolate crosses all that different from hot cross buns?

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
I have not encountered chocolate crosses (and for that mercy I give thanks). But I do wonder—in concept, at least, are chocolate crosses all that different from hot cross buns?

That's a valid question.

I think a point might be, though, that hot cross buns are a food that "point you in the direction" of the cross, by having a reminder of that symbol carved into them. Whereas chocolate crosses, at least as designed by Hershey, point you more in the direction of secular Easter-ish shennanigans(chocolate eggs, bunnies etc), thus situating the symbol in that particular, highly commercialized cultural tendency.

Or maybe it IS just my own squeamishness, being accustomed to seeing hot cross buns, but not to seeing chocolate crosses.

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Lyda*Rose

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The cross is symbolic of just how revolutionary Christianity was from the word go. Contemporary Roman pagans couldn't believe a group of worshipers would glory in their deity's death by the most degrading form of execution at the time. The Christ-cross connection was widely known. So if you wanted to paint a target on your back, wear a cross or put one on your house church. If you didn't want to have the target, doodle little fishies instead.

Our church's Lent study was lead by an African American deacon, who lead the discussion on the cross to the subject of lynchings. Would we feel the same about wearing a symbol of a "lynching tree" as matter-of-factly as we often wear crosses? It wasn't that he was against crosses. (He admitted he has a pretty good collection of his own.) He wanted us to keep to the forefront what Christ's work means to us every day. Some of that work is plainly uplifting and hopeful, but some of it is grizzly and shaming to humanity. It's not one or the other, it is both.

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"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
I have not encountered chocolate crosses (and for that mercy I give thanks). But I do wonder—in concept, at least, are chocolate crosses all that different from hot cross buns?

I don't have any particular aversion to chocolate crosses. Nor hot cross buns, elaborate jewelry worn by rappers or most other uses of crosses in church or secular settings.

Crosses set on fire in someone else's yard as an act of intimidation, on the other hand [Mad]

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Jay-Emm
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
I have not encountered chocolate crosses (and for that mercy I give thanks). But I do wonder—in concept, at least, are chocolate crosses all that different from hot cross buns?

That's a valid question.

I think a point might be, though, that hot cross buns are a food that "point you in the direction" of the cross, by having a reminder of that symbol carved into them. Whereas chocolate crosses, at least as designed by Hershey, point you more in the direction of secular Easter-ish shennanigans(chocolate eggs, bunnies etc), thus situating the symbol in that particular, highly commercialized cultural tendency.

Or maybe it IS just my own squeamishness, being accustomed to seeing hot cross buns, but not to seeing chocolate crosses.

I think it might be, my first thought was vaguely on the second lines (and I think it probably is at least the case). But when I was going to post that as being a clear example (against the R.D*) but then I thought there was a lot of me realised my reasons didn't really match (or as you say not accustomed to seeing them).

*incidently I looked a bit more into the RDB, all the books are there, and nominally it's short bits (I can see how the description of mana, in Numbers 11 is longer than it needs for a first reading)

It's also not as much a tangent as I thought, so here's another question I was thinking this morning. There's quite a few passages where the cross does stuff "He triumphed by the cross over death" type passages. But you could just as easily have "He triumphed over the cross and death" but (except possibly 'hung on a tree' in Peter's speech in Acts) I can't think of any of the top of my head.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
... The Christian content is still there, but it's been subsumed into something larger, much in the same way, for example, that certain Theosophists make the biblical figure of Jesus into an Ascended Master, which still technically referring to the same guy that Christians refer to. ...

No Stetson. Subsumed into something smaller, infinitely smaller.

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rolyn
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In this mainly secular age, where Churches around here are either closed or used as community centres as much as places of worship, some do find carvings of a person nailed to a frame a little distasteful.

A cross is a symbol meaningful to some not others. Sticks in the craw of some and not others. Change it to a smiling fish or an electric chair and you will probably offend a few, doubtful that any gimmicks will bring new sheep to the fold.

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Pangolin Guerre
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Lyda Rose wrote:
some of it is grizzly

That's unbearable.

Now, to return to our regular programming....

I remember reading years ago (can't recall the source - sorry) that the fish was a cryptic reworking of the cross, so adopting the fish doesn't help you escape the cross. Metaphorical significance in that. That's your fish to bear.

[ 01. May 2017, 16:56: Message edited by: Pangolin Guerre ]

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Lyda*Rose

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Pangolin Guerre:
quote:
Lyda Rose wrote:
some of it is grizzly

That's unbearable.

Groan!

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"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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Al Eluia

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
People are commended for "signing themselves with the cross" back in the Didache, if I'm remembering right. It has been a symbol of our faith for about as long as people have been writing about our faith.

Perhaps signing with the sign of the fish would look something like this.

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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
Pangolin Guerre:
quote:
Lyda Rose wrote:
some of it is grizzly

That's unbearable.

Groan!
Yeah, that joke was pretty polarizing.
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rolyn
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..... but nevertheless almost a necessity.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Anselmina
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# 3032

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
To quote a German phrasing "If your mother would be killed by a hammer, would you than put a hammer on your wall to remember your mother?"


If my mother had been the Messiah, came back from the dead as the first-fruits of the Resurrection, and saved the world; yes, I wouldn't have a problem with that.

However, Jesus got there first, and he did it with a cross.

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Enoch
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# 14322

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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
If my mother had been the Messiah, came back from the dead as the first-fruits of the Resurrection, and saved the world; yes, I wouldn't have a problem with that.

However, Jesus got there first, and he did it with a cross.

Well said Anselmina. That aptly and authoritatively answers both the OP and the whole of the rest of this thread. I give it a [Overused]

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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Is this accurate?

It says that a dove, fish, ship, lyre, an anchor and an abbreviation for Christ were early symbols, in additionl to a cross, or perhaps by different groups. It also states that if wasn't until about 400 AD that Christians used a cross with a crucified effigy of Jesus as a symbol.

The crucifixion symbology is interesting with consideration of stigmata, which without the representations of a crucified man with clear wounds, would not have had a model for that physical expression.

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Pangolin Guerre
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quote:
Originally posted by rolyn:
..... but nevertheless almost a necessity.

The misspelling invited a jab. No?

Back to the subject at hand...

I agree with Alan Creswell's 's initial comment, regarding the central paradox of Christianity. The apparent conflict between a shameful, gory, grisly means of execution and a soteriological significance to that shame creates (I hesitate to say this, but...) a creative aporia for faith.

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Gramps49
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# 16378

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The CT (Christianity Today) article is about right. I had previously mentioned the anchor.
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Pangolin Guerre
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
The CT (Christianity Today) article is about right. I had previously mentioned the anchor.

Could you say where that article might be found? Thanks much.
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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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The problem today is that the cross as a symbol has such weight that attempting to remove it has as many or more problems as keeping it.

AFAIR there was a movement by the Moonies to pay churches to take down their crosses. I wonder what happened to that programme.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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The Moonie programme is mentioned on this WP page (final paragraph)

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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fletcher christian

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# 13919

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In early Irish Christianity - as much as we can say anything about it accurately - the two dominant forms of symbol before the dominance of the cross (and especially the high cross) seem to have been the Tau (although technically speaking a cross of a type but with slightly different meaning) and the fish. The early monks were particularly good at linking Christian concepts with pagan stories and the fish slotted into this quite well, especially with regards to salmon. The bell also had a powerful significance but this one is a little lost in the mists of time and may be more to do with the authority of an abbot more than anything else.

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'God is love insaturable, love impossible to describe'
Staretz Silouan

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Stetson
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# 9597

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

AFAIR there was a movement by the Moonies to pay churches to take down their crosses. I wonder what happened to that programme.

I believe that campaign was supposed to work in tandem with Moon's campaign to convince Jews to apologize for killing Jesus, ie. Jews apologize for the deicide, Christians stop reminding Jews about it via the cross, everyone comes together for a big hug and unites under Moon.

The donations Moon made to participating churches(many of them African-American) may have played some role in getting those congressmen to show up for that event in DC, where he duped them into appearing to put a crown on his head.

[ 02. May 2017, 11:11: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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Stetson
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# 9597

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Moonie leader crowned in Senate

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I have the power...Lucifer is lord!

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:


The donations Moon made to participating churches(many of them African-American) may have played some role in getting those congressmen to show up for that event in DC, where he duped them into appearing to put a crown on his head.

I'd love to know how he persuaded those church men to get involved.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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Nick Tamen

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# 15164

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quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
The CT (Christianity Today) article is about right. I had previously mentioned the anchor.

Could you say where that article might be found? Thanks much.
no prophet linked to it a few posts up, in his question "Is this accurate?"

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Pangolin Guerre
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Thank you, NT. Somehow I kept missing the link.
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Anselmina
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# 3032

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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
To quote a German phrasing "If your mother would be killed by a hammer, would you than put a hammer on your wall to remember your mother?"


If my mother had been the Messiah, came back from the dead as the first-fruits of the Resurrection, and saved the world; yes, I wouldn't have a problem with that.

However, Jesus got there first, and he did it with a cross.

<Bad pun warning>

Just to say; if the symbol for Christian salvation had been a hammer, would that mean worship would've been called 'Hammer Time'?

I'll get me coat...

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Nick Tamen

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Too bad the hammer as a religious symbol was already taken.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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It would be a thorny issue to sort out, likely to get people cross.

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Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

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Pigwidgeon

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# 10192

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
It would be a thorny issue to sort out, likely to get people cross.

[Roll Eyes]

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Don't keep calm. Go change the world.

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Stetson
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# 9597

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:


The donations Moon made to participating churches(many of them African-American) may have played some role in getting those congressmen to show up for that event in DC, where he duped them into appearing to put a crown on his head.

I'd love to know how he persuaded those church men to get involved.
Yeah, I dunno. But you can read more about the movement here.

Apparently, one of the churches involved was the Imani Temple African American Catholic Congregation, founded by that defrocked priest who had gotten married by Moon in a mass wedding back in the 90s some time. Obviously, not a really mainstream group.

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