Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Campus Crusade for Christ starts working out, loses weight, changes name.

To get an unbiased scoop of today's story, go here.

To get an idea to what caused me to write this, go here.

What you need to know: The leading Christian Evangelical network for college students, "Campus Crusade for Christ" has changed it's name to, "Cru."

The reason being that the word crusade has a pitiful historical resume as thousands have been unjustly murdered in the name of the Christian God during the crusades. For more on the history of this word click here.

The removal of the word Crusade is not what is drawing the fire of many Christians however. Rather, the word "Christ" is gone too....

And this seems to be a really really big deal.

Christians are angry. Outraged even.

 There could even be pitchforks.

The people up in arms about this name change argue that Campus Crusade for Christ's name change to Cru is indicative of the hopelessness of today's age apparently. It seems that the secular monster of the land is at it again, trying to stricken the mention of Christ from any public representation. This is the same monster that is trying to take the Christ out of Christmas and he just won't stop until no one knows what Christianity is anymore! Or so that seems to be the consensus among the Christians against the name change to Cru....

And I couldn't disagree more. While I am certain that they Christians against Cru really have good intentions, and really believe that the name change is proof that we live in such a secular age even Christians are compromising their very name for the sake of acceptance within the secular culture...and they may certainly be right. I may even be a symptom of this secular age.

But I also went away to college for four years, where a big part of Cru's battle is fought. One of those four years I was a confessed agnostic/atheist hybrid. Another year I was almost Jewish. The last two years I became Christian  again. And I can easily say that sadly the most offensive thing about Christianity on secular college campuses is hearing the name Christ preached openly. This isn't Christ's fault though.

I would watch "Christians" stand at the heart of campus and preach with a red-faced hatred that "fags are going to hell" and that everyone who was not Christian would have the same result. These sermons happened monthly from different people. I can't recall a mention of the Holy Ghost or the Cross once. If I were to tell you what Christianity was about based on the campus sermons I heard, I would tell you it was about a God who wanted you to say you were a terrible sinner, and if you did not say you were a sinner he was going to condemn you to an eternal furnace. These loud mouthed fundamentalists were representing Christianity to people who may have never actually read the Bible before. And I'm sure they were all proud to call themselves Christian (unlike Cru apparently).

During my agnostic/atheist days, the campus preachers would make me laugh to myself because their hate confirmed why I wasn't one of them. I liked Judaism because they were never preaching condemnation to the roving masses. They were quiet and unassuming. I liked that. But when I came back to Jesus, walking past the Christian campus preachers was never a pleasant experience. I would bow my head and walk swiftly by, ashamed for my brothers and how they were representing my Jesus. How could I witness to my college peers when Christianity to them meant a God who looks forward to throwing you in hell?

My point is simple....  in a secular environment, Christianity ain't the best brand to display. Like the crusades misrepresented Christianity, I really believe the Bible thumping, hell condemning Christians (who may be the same ones who were upset at Cru for changing their name) give us a bad rep. I'm not saying having conviction is a bad thing. And I am definitely not one of those postmodern, "tolerate all religions" kind of guy. Really, I'm not. Because if there is one thing that irks me more than fire breathing preachers in the middle of campus, it's "tolerant secular liberals" who only are intolerant to Christianity.

All I am simply saying is that when it comes to being a campus evangelical group, having a name called Campus Crusade for Christ or "Cru," I whole-heartily would tell people that for today, Cru will get the message across much better. We can stick up for our Christian title and in the process offend many people away from ever giving us a chance to tell them about the Good News, or we can not put our faith in the names of our organizations, and hope that secular people will see the Christianity in us and through our words instead of in name alone...

Paul did this on Mars Hill. He was subtle with his message. He started off preaching in the context of the Greek culture and then introduced Jesus.  Hell wasn't the first word for Paul. And sadly many Christians have made hell the first thing that comes to a lost soul's mind when they hear "Christian."

And while it's sad that Christianity can't be all public like it used to, is today's situation not more similar to the context that Christianity was first born in, where persecution of Christianity abounded and thus Christians had to be creative on how to get their message to spread a midst a predominately secular society?

"Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."      I Corinthians 9:19-23


Anonymous said...

So basically we are ashamed of proclaiming Christ. Do you think the Apostles avoided using Jesus' name? No. They proclaimed him because they had faith in him.

Wesley Cunha said...

As some Cru staff said: We've changed our name, not our message.

Anonymous said...

It seems that given the track record that Campus Crusade for Christ has in proclaiming the name of Christ globally we should assume the best and trust that they are not lying about the reasons for the name change.