Chapel Without a Cross?

I’m not a Methodist, so I don’t claim to understand how their system of colleges works, but this does seem odd: Claremont School of Theology contemplates removing the cross from its chapel:

… As part of this “hospitality,” Claremont has chosen to share its own chapel with the Jains, Buddhists, and Muslims. But it is challenging for leaders in these non-Christian religions to conduct their services in a space prominently featuring a cross, which represents a gospel which they reject. So the seminary is now considering ostensibly how to accommodate non-Christian sensitivities. The Claremont official claimed that perhaps “the best way to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and take up our cross may be to take down the cross” from the seminary chapel, lest it violate Claremont’s bedrock commitment to religious pluralism.

Note: the article quoted is not (and does not pretend to be) a neutral perspective. For all I know, that site ( is a bunch of cranks. Lord knows the mainline denominations have their critics, perhaps as many within as without.

Still, Claremont has responded:

When this discussion is reduced to “taking down the cross,” it misses the point. The Christian cross is and will continue to be a part of CST’s worship space; but the goal is to be able to easily rearrange the space for use by other traditions.

To me, that sounds like the cross will come down, at least when the facility is being used by adherents of other religions. I suppose that could be hospitality. Paul preached in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. On the other hand, he did so because he didn’t want to compete in the synagogue with those who spoke against the Way.

One Future for the Church

I admit I haven’t followed the UMC Conference as closely as I probably ought to have. I’m still learning, well, pretty much everything about the United Methodist side of Jewel Lake Parish, and denominational activities aren’t at the top of my list. Still, it’s something I have some interest in, so I tried to pay at least a little attention to news about the conference.

Here is a video that was shown as part of the GC2012 Connectional Table Presentation:

(The program is about three quarters of an hour, so unless you’re really interested, I’d recommend you scrub forward and watch the two minutes that begin at 40:15. Or you can go directly there by clicking this link.)

The video is concerned especially with the future of the UMC, or one possible future for the UMC, but it could be about the PC(USA) just as well.

That doesn’t have to be the future of the church, but for two many congregations, it will be. God is doing amazing things in the world—not just overseas, but in our country as well. But God won’t force it on us. If we refuse to be part of it, God will use other churches. So the question for us, and really every church, is whether or not we are willing to move forward into God’s great adventure.