Friday, November 21, 2014

Broken Cross? Peace out, man!



"Oooh, Gracie, your Mom _______!"

Fill in the blank with whatever- my kids get this a lot.  I've never been like the other girls and we all seemed to grow up in a way congruous to this and so now I am nothing like the other moms.  No matter how much I try, it just doesn't work out.  That's okay.  I've come to terms with it, and I'm used to their opinions and funny kid opinions coming home via my kids, but the other day I was surprised at the new outrage headed out direction- the peace sign sticker on my car had caused a big stink after it had been spotted at pick up.

"Mama, they say you have a broken cross on your car!" 

"______'s grandma reads the WHOLE BIBLE EVERY DAY and she says the Bible says your peace sign sticker is evil."

So I asked my little girl what she thought.  She pondered it for a minute and said "You read the Bible too, and I trust you.  You wouldn't put anything evil on our car."  Atta girl.  Not that I'm infallible; my kids know this more than anyone; but she thought it through for herself and came to a logical conclusion that wasn't swayed by the many opinions of the second grade.

Little did she know that I've had a dog in this fight for a long time.  It started in sixth grade, when I wanted peace sign shoe laces.  My grandmother wouldn't buy them for me.  "It's a broken cross!" she exclaimed.  I'd already learned my lesson to listen when my Nana talked about fashion/spiritual matters.  We'd had an incident earlier that year when I picked out a pair of gold cross earrings to wear to my Dad's wedding.  "No, those are SO GAUDY" she said.  "But it's IN A CHURCH" I countered.

I didn't get the laces or the earrings.

But I did get inspired to find out what the history of the peace sign was.  I didn't use it to signify a broken cross, and that was enough for me to think it was fine to wear...but if that's really what it was, I'd forgo it.  (I did end up finding out what gaudy meant BTW)

It turns out that it's pretty innocuous.

In 1958, British artist Gerald Holtom drew a circle with three lines inside, intending the design to be a symbol for the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC). The design incorporates a circle with the lines within it representing the simplified positions of two semaphore letters (the system of using flags to send information great distances, such as from ship to ship). The letters "N" and "D" were used to represent "nuclear disarmament." (The "N" is formed by a person holding a flag in each hand and then pointing them toward the ground at a 45 degree angle. The "D" is formed by holding one flag straight down and one straight up.)

There are similar images that have various meanings, good and bad. And certainly, people will always find ways to try and corrupt what is good.  But I don't think we need to dig into everything so deeply.  Specifically, the peace sign wasn't intended for evil.  Specifically, I don't like the peace sign because of any mystic meaning.  To me, it is a great representation that everyone can recognize, of one of my favorite characteristics of Christ.

Every day, we make choices that either bring us closer to God or further away from Him.  I don't think the peace sign falls into either of those categories.


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