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“It is typical of American Christianity, as of American culture as a whole, to push the cross out to the margins, because we prefer a more upbeat and triumphalist form of proclamation and practice.  The Great Recession (of 2008) put a crimp in our style for a brief time, but it has no cancelled out the disturbing trends in our culture toward self-centered lives based on consumption, sensation, and  instant gratification- all this coinciding with exponential growth of the gap between the superrich and the strugglign middle class, not to mention the gap beween those barely holding on and the truly poor.  The “word of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1:18) in contrast, calls the Christian community to embrace struggle on behalf of others as they way of discipleship.” The Crucifixion, by F. Rutlededge

The Cross at the center of Christianity has been beautified into jewelry or distanced from our imagination through historical art.  It’s lost its knock out punch of offense and its formative power when we think of it as a cross rather than a crucifix. What was once seen as a shameful and offensive way to die, is pulling Paul to call out that he is NOT ashamed of its gospel news of Jesus.  So do you allow this message of who Christ is, what his shameful death on a cross has done for us, and how he calls us to live following him by taking up our own cross permeate your life?  Join Pastor Mark as he talks about the message of the cross and then claims his desire to be counted as a believer of a cross killed and shamed God.

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