, 10 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
For early Christians, the cross was the ultimate symbol of trauma—not only because it was the instrument of the state used to torture & kill Jesus, but because it was an instrument still being used to torture and kill them... (painting by Janet McKenzie @ArtistKingdom)
What could be more traumatic, more shameful, in our vernacular—“more triggering,” than the image of the cross? And yet the power of the cross from the very beginning of the Christian story is this:
the oppressed took the very means of terror out of the hands of the oppressor & subverted it, transfigured it, & transmuted it into a sign of defiant, hard-edged hope. If this doesn’t sound scandalous to you, you aren’t paying attention.
To use a symbol of such violence in public worship could rightly be seen as crass, almost crude. For people on the underside of the empire, the cross was not an abstraction—the cross was the shape of their trauma.
And yet, what manner of agency is this—what kind of power is this?—that the oppressed stole the language & iconography of the empire, emptied it of the meaning assigned by the empire, and made it mean what they wanted to mean?
Instead of running from the emblem of their terror, they reclaimed it, took it out of Rome’s hands, & turned the symbol of their oppression into a symbol of revolution against their oppressors. Caesar doesn’t get to tell us what the cross means.
Caesar doesn’t get to tell us what our past means. Caesar doesn’t get to tell us what our trauma means. I wonder what images of terror have been used against you, that God might be calling you to transfigure?
They used your story against you, your pain against you…maybe even the Bible against you. Will you let them tell you what these words signify, & tremble when you hear them?
Or will you take their own words, turn them inside out, subvert them—& allow yourself to become something far more terrible, than the terrible things they said about you? If you thought the cross was a sign of piety, you were only half right.
The cross is not what compliance looks like, but defiance.

The cross is a middle finger to every oppressor, that says you don’t get to tell me what my story means.
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Jonathan Martin
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!