“I love taking public transit to work because I am surrounded with ‘normal’ people – those who are not followers of Jesus. They are the majority – especially in my city.
One time a women in her young twenties boarded the train dressed in black from head to toe and sat right in front of me facing sideways. She looked as through she might work in one of the large towers in the city center. Her style was like ‘professional Goth’. As she was getting settled I was able to see a tattoo on her left cheek. It was an upside down cross.
’I notice your tattoo. Where did you get it done?’ I asked.
She looked directly into my eyes pondering. Was I being judgmental or condemning? She answered with the name of an artist nine blocks from our church.
’I guess if you are going to get a tattoo on your face, you would want to have the right artist’ I answered. ‘My son gets his done by an artist in Calgary. What’s the meaning of your tattoo?’
Laughing, she responded, ‘It is my way of giving the finger to organized religion.’
’Well, it is a very appropriate tattoo for this week,’ I responded.
’Why is that?’
’Because the Pope announced he is resigning and he actually sits on a chair that has an upside down cross engraved on it’.
’He does? Unreal!’ She was really mystified. ‘Why would the Pope have that on his chair?’
’Out of respect for you, I want you to know I am a minister. I work at First Baptist downtown.’ She was flummoxed, her head now fully cocked to one side.
’I know that organized religion can be incredibly frustrating for people to understand and even experience. But the Pope has your symbol on his chair because it reminds us of Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples. Peter was crucified on a cross like Jesus but upside down. He was killed because he refused to renounce his faith in Jesus. He didn’t feel himself worthy to be crucified like Jesus and asked to be hung upside down. That’s why the cross on the Pope’s chair. The church was founded by this man – Peter’.
With a softer bewildered look she began to gather her things together for the stop. My morning friend did not seem anxious to run away. Had our commute allowed, we might have talked more’.
Rev. Dr. Carson Pue is recognized as a leader of leaders. He is known globally through his mentoring of Christian leaders through Arrow Leadership and as the best selling author of Mentoring Leaders: Wisdom for Developing Calling, Character and Competency. Known as a keynote speaker for his masterful storytelling and innovative leadership style, Carson equips others with remarkable and fascinating untold stories behind what it takes to be a Christian and a leader. Carson now serves as Special Assistant to the President at Trinity Western University, and runs Quadrant Leadership Inc. doing executive coaching and mentoring.
From Good News Is For Sharing (2017, Revised Edition, Leighton Ford Ministries)
You can order the book here.