When a Presbyterian pastor finds a pier taking the shape of a cross "offensive," one has to wonder what they are teaching in Presbyterian churches. There has to be a joke for that...
This is exactly what happened in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, when a pier destroyed by Hurricane Sandy was re-designed in the shape of a cross.
The usual suspects were, in a word, cross, at the idea, among them the LGBTQ community, secular residents and apparently Presbyterians.
Former Presbyterian pastor Douglas Grote petitioned state and local officials to put a stop to this grave offense. He feared it was a form of "Christian bullying."
In an op-ed for NJ.com Grote says, "I fear that my faith's lovely cross may soon become as toxic as a Trojan horse for Ocean Grove, Asbury Park and all of New Jersey."
Frankly pastor, the only one making it toxic is you.
So, what is keeping them from stopping this build? It's 100% on private property.
In a breath of fresh air, the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association has not caved to the mewing of those offended by the cross.
While talking with News12, group COO Jamie Jackson explained:
"We make no apology for that—we love the fact that it looks like a cross. This is a religious town founded as such in Ocean Grove and most people are excited, we will be able to have this pier shaped this way for these purposes."
The president of the group also gave an explanation to the "New York Post,"
"Our hope continues to be that people of varying points of view will enjoy the peace of a stroll out over the Atlantic on the new pier," he continued, "The Christian interpretation of the cross is that it is a symbol of God's love and forgiveness. It is disappointing that anyone would seek to block a sacred symbol on private property from public view regardless of whether you interpret the shape as a pier, a plus sign, or cross."
The outcry loses a lot of its position because these plans for the rebuilding of the pier have been available online for three years. As the CMA move forward with the build, they have made it abundantly clear that while this is private property, the pier will be open to the public, for free.
The irony is that Ocean Grove was founded as a Methodist summer camp in 1869. This is how the CMA came to own all the land around the pier to include the beach and boardwalk.
The sobering reality is that there is resistance anywhere people find Jesus. It also shows there are those willing to fight against something as inoffensive as a cross-shaped pier on private land.
Looking at 1 Peter 5:8, this scenario reminds us that the enemy walks the earth, "as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." The CMA is standing firm however, and moving forward with construction of the pier.
James Lasher is a Copy Editor for Charisma Media.
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