A couple of months ago, I went with my family to New York City. My husband was participating in a conference and my daughter and I were there to visit the zoo, shop, and see as much artwork as possible. One outing involved what my daughter considered to be a long subway ride. As I had already inflicted several trips by subway upon her (some involving incorrect stops resulting in more subway rides), my daughter was a bit tired by our third day of sightseeing and subway cruising. After several people had exited at a busy stop, my daughter spotted two open seats near the door. She was on her way to the closet seat when a twenty-something, able-bodied couple pushed in front of her to take the seats. We have been to the city several times and are quite used to pushy people, but this time my daughter got just a bit of a quivery upper lip.
I shrugged and tried to tell her with my eyes that this was just what happens in the big city. I also wanted to tell those seat-stealing folks how I felt about them with my eyes. Instead of looking deep into the eyes of the worst offender (young, well-cut dude), my eyes were enchanted by the movement of something shiny. Very shiny. And very gold. And large. Yes, this dude was able-bodied enough to be able to bear the weight of a 6” crucifix. Six inches might not seem like a great deal, but when it is a chunk of heavy swinging metal -- that’s a heck of a lot of cross to wear. Especially for a man who did not ask himself, in front of a tired child, what would Jesus do?
I’m thinking that Jesus would stand while a child sat. Jesus would be aware of his surroundings and would give a damn about the suffering of others, no matter how minor. Jesus wouldn’t sprawl over two subway seats. And I’m assuming this dude is wearing the cross because he is representing Jesus. Could be he’s just making a fashion statement. Whatever. He’s an ass adorned with a cross. A cross that is likely to take out the front teeth of anyone that is in swinging radius.
We stand. We ride. We get off several stops later.
I begin to notice others wearing crosses. While I see many, I’ve yet to see one quite as large.
I noticed three women at the hotel wearing crucifixes. Smaller. More discreet. Yet somehow, just as disturbing as the dude’s. Each one was inset with diamonds. Did these women go into their local jeweler’s and say, “I’d like a diamond necklace. No. Wait. I’d like a symbol of my Savior. No. Wait. Can I combine the two?” Or maybe these necklaces were gifts from their adoring husbands. Did their husbands walk into the jewelry store and request a special something for their pious brides? They certainly wore these pendants with pride. The glint in their eyes seemed to say, “Look upon my chest. There you will see my love for Christ. I know I love him. But I want YOU to know that I love the Lord. I am a lamb of my Savior. I also don’t give a shit about children mining for gold and diamonds in African countries. They are not lambs of the Savior. I am blessed and those children can dig those freakin’ diamonds up for me.”
If you must show innocent bystanders that you are a Christian, forget the bling. Get yourself two rough sticks of wood, lash them together with ragged twine or a bit of shoelace too small for a homeless person to use, and string that around your neck. Make sure it’s pretty darn big. And heavy. You might also want to think about adding some nails and thorns for a bit of discomfort. It would be a bit easier, and far less expensive, to go about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. And nearby children would not have to fear having their teeth knocked out.