Friday, February 18, 2011
Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me
Baldwin, PA is a highly populated area that now has a new addition to its local structure. A Pennsylvania construction worker, Mr. Behr has erected a 24-foot cross on his front lawn which falls in violation of the local ordinance. Behr states that this structure is a “display of his devotion.” However, in order to continue this display he must apply for a permit which he did not do before constructing it. The reactions throughout the community vary greatly. While there are neighbors that are in favor of his actions there are a number of people who believe that he is going about this in the wrong way. Rev. Robert Walkup expresses his concern for Behr’s motives in constructing the cross and states that “To live a moral life, we live with others.”
This issue here is whether it is right for Behr to violate local laws in order to express his devotion to God. Is this an accurate depiction of Christlike behavior? What is Behr’s motivation in erecting this cross? According to Crab, his behavior is in reaction to some underlying assumption that he holds about gaining significance or security. Therefore, in order to better understand why Behr chose to go through with the construction prior to seeking out a permit, one must first address what assumptions are motivating this goal.
It is always good to make a public proclamation of your faith; however, one must be extremely careful about their motivation for doing so. Just as Jesus spoke of the Pharisees who were praying publicly for social gain, we must make sure that in overtly expressing our devotion we are doing so purely for the purpose of strengthening our relationship with God. Furthermore, when expressing our devotion we must ensure that we are accurately reflecting the love of Christ and following His statues. To erect a 24-foot cross which impedes on one’s neighbors is not necessarily displaying the loving character of Christ. Not to mention the fact that in doing so you are choosing to disobey the law. Romans 13:1-7 speaks extensively about obeying the governing authorities, for their authority has been established by God, without which they would have none. Prior to performing any overt expression of faith an individual must address their motivations for doing so, the character they are expressing in doing so, and whether they are obeying the statutes that God has set forth for His followers.