The shirt itself in the photo above says it all. I used to like to wear a particular shirt at Cedar Point back before I was married and went over to the park solo a lot. The front of my shirt had an image of a crucifix and said: “The CROSS: it’s about Jesus not jewelry” and on the back it said: “It’s much easier to wear a cross around your neck than it is to carry one on your back.” I always thought it was an insightful and not inciteful way to express the point.
With so many people out in public these days wearing shirts with obscene images or vulgar phrases, I felt like it was an appropriate trade off to display this message about wearing a cross. I would often watch the expressions of folks who read my shirt in the ride queue lines and I noticed a lot of smiles or nods of recognition. I once had a guy fight across a crowd of oncoming park guests in the midway to walk over to me and compliment my shirt while reaching out to shake my hand. I’m sure there may have been some critical reactions as well, but none that I ever recognized in person. That all changed one day.
I’ll never forget the time that I commented about my shirt and the reactions it brought in a forum thread at a fan site for Cedar Point. The group was already talking about different t-shirts that they have seen people wear, so I commented about my shirt evangelization. I don’t believe I was being preachy or condescending in my explanation, but I was absolutely berated in that online community for being critical of vulgarity and obscenity while made to feel hypocritical for what they perceived as self-righteous bragging about shirt evangelization. Go figure. That forum definitely is not the best place to express any religious or political opinions (unless you are an atheist or a far left leaning liberal – in which case anything you say is cheered and hear hear’ed). I learned that same lesson a second time recently when I expressed my non-political motivation for enjoying Chick-fil-A as a dining option at Cedar Point. Wow! Tread carefully when expressing that opinion!
Anyway, I stopped wearing my CROSS shirt many years ago when the collar material got so worn that it began to split apart and the shirt stitching began to unravel. I’ve never seen or found a new version of that same shirt to replace it with. It may be time to find a new shirt that expresses my Catholic values in a non-aggressive way while having an awesome day at the best amusement park in the world.
But a big KUDOS to this park guest for not being shy about sharing his love for Jesus!