A friend at church and I recently had a discussion about wearing crosses as a symbol of our faith. The discussion was around two differing thoughts about wearing a cross:
1. it allows others to know we are christians so they can ask us questions or ask for prayer
2. it is too overt and in people's faces which can make them back away from talking to us
I had never before thought that a cross worn round a neck could be seen as threatening, I'd never had that experience. It got me wondering whether people had perhaps not spoken to me because I was clearly a christian; but I just couldn't believe that was the case. I've only ever had good experiences of people commenting on my cross and asking about my faith; lots of people ask about it - it was made for me by a friend and so is one of a kind.
Why I wear a cross
I have worn a cross on and off throughout my life. I used to put a cross on when I was in need of reassurance, somehow wearing my cross would bring God closer to me through my day, it was a very palpable sense of security.
Then five years ago I made the decision to wear my cross every day; it came to me in prayer one day and just felt like I needed to be more open about my very real faith. It was a decision to share my faith outwardly, and it has happened; I quite often get asked where I got my cross and this will often lead to discussions about faith, God and church.
At the same time I get great comfort from wearing my cross, I know that I hold it when I'm thinking and praying or if I'm upset; much like a holding cross, it allows me to rest in God's presence around me. The cross is close to my heart both emotionally and physically.
How I feel about crosses being banned
There are some organisations who have asked Christians not to wear their crosses, I know British Airways has banned a woman from wearing hers. I find it hard to understand why these organisations have a problem with crosses being worn, surely if there are no health and safety reasons then it should be allowed. For example nurses, doctors and surgeons need to not wear jewellery for infection control, and if you work with animals and young children it might be a risk to your own health to wear a cross which can be grabbed; but if you're allowed to wear jewellery then a cross should not be any different to any other pendant.
And kids at school
Again there are health and safety considerations. I don't allow Rachel to wear her cross at school because I worry that it could get lost or broken or she could get hurt if it got caught up when she's playing. I think this is sensible on health and safety grounds. She always put her cross on at the weekend, but I make her take it off if she's going on to a soft play place. When she's older and can take it on and off on her own then I will let her wear her cross more, if she still wants to.
Rachel was asking for a cross for some months before I found one for her; she said she wanted to show people she loved God and wanted to let God know He was with her always. It is an important symbol to her. I hope that she will be allowed to wear her cross at school when she's older, it is something I will fight on her behalf for if she is told she can't for any reason which is not safety related.
The cross is a symbol of a person's faith, a gentle outward display of a strong inward belief; I can not see it as threatening at all and there is no reason why it would make anyone feel uncomfortable. I never feel threatened by turbans or head scarves or kippah or bindi; they are signs of respect of someone's beliefs and should be celebrated as such.