The Crux

“CRUX” is a funny word.

We normally only use it in the phrase “crux of the problem.” Typically not by itself.

This Easter morning I used the word in my journal after reading all four Gospels’ accounts of the crucifixion.

"Resurrection" Photo Courtesy of Luz Adriana Villa A., Flickr
“Resurrection” Photo Courtesy of Luz Adriana Villa A., Flickr

I looked it up:

crux [krʌks]n pl cruxescruces [ˈkruːsiːz]

1. a vital or decisive stage, point, etc. (often in the phrase the crux of the matter)
2. a baffling problem or difficulty
3. (Individual Sports & Recreations / Mountaineering) Mountaineering the most difficult and often decisive part of a climb or pitch
4. (History / Heraldry) a rare word for cross
[from Latin: cross]
What I wrote in my journal:
Help me to realize it is finished. And that what You did at the cross and in Your resurrection is huge. It’s central. It’s the crux.
I thought what I wrote made sense. It’s my journal so it only has to make sense to me. But I got curious: What does it even mean to be the “crux”?

A vital or decisive stage, point, etc.

Is the death and resurrection is a vital and decisive stage or point?

Regardless of your opinion or belief on the matter, it’s clear that the cross is a vital point in the Christian faith and consequently in history. If it wasn’t central to the faith, how would history have been different? It boggles the mind to consider culture–especially western culture–without it.

Further, without it, the faith isn’t really a faith. It’s a collection of teachings that are pretty powerful. A collection of teachings is not a bad thing, but it certainly isn’t world changing.

It would have just been another collection of teachings stuffed in some anthology to torture history of philosophy students.

The only way that it has become a vital point in history is that it has been presented as a central decision point for individuals. Sure some folks went psycho and forced individuals to face the cross, not out of a heart for God, but out of power lust. But we won’t go there right now.

The cross is the “crux of the matter” because they’ve had to make a decision about whether or not it truly solves the problems it claims to have solved.

A baffling problem or difficulty

Paul writes about the issue of the cross: “…but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles..” (1 Cor 1:23)

It makes no sense, really. I saw a Facebook post poking fun at the creepiness of Easter Bunny pictures. The title of the post? “40 Easter Bunny Photos More Terrifying than a Crucified Man Coming Back from the Dead” The idea of the death and resurrection is so loopy that it’s compared (tongue in cheek, I know) to the creepy bunnies throughout history that made many a small child scream in fear.

Not only is it baffling and difficult and a problem. It’s kind of weird. Let’s be honest. If we were blank slates prior to the coming of Jesus but believed in the God of the Jews, would we expect a crucifixion and a resurrection to be God’s solution to the separation of humankind to their Creator?

It’s baffling and it’s difficult and it’s a problem. The problem is this: Does the cross really say that God has a heart and a plan for humans?

Mountaineering the most difficult and often decisive part of a climb or pitch

I didn’t expect this definition. And I almost left it out. But if we believe Miley Cyrus that life is a climb, then perhaps the crucifixion and resurrection is the most difficult and decisive part of that climb.

How will we deal with it when we get to that point of the ascent?

A rare word for cross

I suppose it’s obvious that the word ‘Crucifixion’ shares the same root as ‘Crux’. It, in the end, stems from the Latin for cross.

But this literal meaning isn’t nearly as intriguing as definition options 1-3. The ones that define crux as the key element in a baffling problem–or even the problem itself.

The Crux: A Problem and a Solution?

The question then becomes this: What is the problem? If the cross is the crux of a matter–if it’s a crucial element to a problem, then what is the ‘matter’ or the problem?

The cross is a problem because it requires some kind of a decision. And yes, ignoring it is a decision.

More importantly, the cross as the central point to a problem implies that there’s a problem that the cross attempts to solve.

These days Christians say that the cross is central to solving everything from sin to insignificance to all points in between.

On the other hand, those with less favorable views of the faith consider the cross, not a crux but a crock. And it hasn’t solved problems. It’s been central to causing untold problems.

It’s probably obvious which side of the debate I come down on–how I manage this crux of the mountain climb. But I’m not here to convince anybody.

I’m just sharing some thoughts and encouraging any of the two or three readers who find this blog to ask themselves the question: What problem, if any, does the crucifixion and resurrection attempt to solve? Does it actually deliver the right solution?

Why is ‘Crux’ on this ‘Simplicity’ Blog?

To me, the reason why this issue is relevant to simplicity is this: Simplicity is about living out of focus and understanding the importance of removing clutter.

The cross has the ability to remove clutter. If it solves certain problems, then I can quit searching through millions of optional solutions to those problems. I can live from this ‘decisive point’. My heart, soul, and mind can be decluttered from figuring out solutions. It can focus on applying the solution.

The reason for a blog like this is less about dispensing my wells of wisdom. It’s more about sharing the journey of living out my decision on this particular issue. Sometimes it’ll be as shallow as the importance of knowing where your office supplies should be stored so you can find them. Other times, it’ll be a little more crucial. A day like Easter is a worthy day to dive a bit deeper. So I tried to. 🙂

Happy Easter to you all–whether it’s all about bunnies and eggs to you or whether it’s all about empty tombs (or somewhere in between)!

Get Free Email Updates!

Signup now and receive an email once I publish new content.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.