Today I was looking at the barren cross at church and I wondered which symbol today, in 2012 is more powerful: The Cross or the Nike Swish? The Swish has a a lot going for it. Take a pair of soft shoes, call them running shoes, colour them exotically, add the Swish and people will line up all night and riot for them. I laugh at that, I cluck condescendingly, but I will pay triple the price for a T shirt for the addition of the Swish. Of course there is a bit of a dark side to the Swish: Making shoes and garments is a low paying job and we in the West have for the most part farmed that out to the poorest of the poor in the East. So do I worship the Swish? I would say no, but my actions perhaps speak for themselves.
The Cross has a rougher go. I have never lined up for the Cross. I do not venerate it. I can criticize the Cross for past abuses, scandals, and mistakes. Wars and murders have been committed under the banner of the Cross. But the main thing I do is take the Cross for granted. I think that the Cross will always be there. I think that I can look at the Cross anytime I want. But I know that is not in a good chunk of the world this is not the case.
I guess my ideal Cross is my private cross. No one can see it except for me. It is big enough to have be an instrument of torture and death. I can see nail holes but I don't know if it is real or an illusion. It bugs me, it confuses me, it frustrates me that there are no answers.
So the Swish or the Cross? The Swish is easy and fun, the Cross is neither. So do I take the easy road, the soft and gentle way? I think not ... it is Lent after all and that is enough of a thing to learn on the fifth day.