Recently, long-standing evangelism non-profit Campus Crusade for Christ officially announced its plan to change its name to Cru. I admit the over-priced wine bar with mediocre cheeseboards was the first thing I thought of when I heard the news. But the second thing I thought was, Naturally, that’s what people call it anyway. So I didn’t think anything of it. I wasn’t freaked out because Christ is no longer in the name. For heaven’s sake, Christ himself said, “Be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves;” not, “Subtlety is a sin. Be as obvious and explicit as you can be because that’s how people will know you belong to me.” No. He said, “They will know you are my followers by your love for one another.” But yet again, people only see Christians calling their brothers and sisters names like “coward” and “repulsive” and griping at each other. That’s just great. (You can read more about how Christians are going to the mattresses here on Fox News’s report.)
I agree with Cru: they needed to drop “crusade” from the name. It certainly does recall The Crusades, an awful, dark, embarrassing time in Christianity, or at least medieval Christendom… I’ll let my historian colleagues correct my armchair claims here; but that is all the more to the point: popular perception matters; words have baggage, and it is naive to think we can simply plow through it. I will say, it does make it a bit ironic that crusade is the one word they’re keeping, even if it is a shortened version of it. Nonetheless, Campus Crusade for Christ is a dated (and long) name; hence why people commonly shortened it to Cru even before the official name change.
I agree entirely with Cru vice president Steve Sellers when he said it is “more important that the organization is effective at proclaiming Jesus than it is important to have the name of Jesus in the name of the organization.” The fact that people are chalking this up to succumbing to political correctness is evidence that they care more about the outside than the inside; more about appearances than heart; more about rhetorical positions than actually taking a stand. This kind of attitude common among Christians is sad. It isn’t a witness to the world, as Cru has been and continues to be; and it isn’t worthy of the calling we have received in Christ. It reminds me of how many Christians understand “Christian art.” But that’s another blog post for another day.
Part of thinking through our Christianity includes thinking before reacting, perhaps especially on social networking sites where we feel emboldened by our anonymity amid the mob and where instant gratification is part of the point. It also includes being mindful of passages like Matthew 10 and 1 Peter 3 when quoting Romans 1:16.