Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Crossroads and Christians

Whenever we take a particular road back home, Jen and I drive past the The Intersection, a Baptist Church on a street corner close to where we live. There are also both Methodist and Presbyterian churches called The Crossroads in other areas of the city.

This made me think about the symbology of the cross as representative of the Christian faith, which led me to the mythic interpretation of intersections. It's kind of ironic that the supernatural relevance of crossroads now serves as a symbol of being saved, when it's original meaning, having its roots in magic and folklore, indicated the potential for the complete opposite.

The significance of crossroads and intersections as a place where deals with the Devil or other demonic entities can be made is a longstanding tradition. Remember Robert Johnson? Yea, his deal didn't end very well.

What I find intriguing are connections between the symbolic cross and the symbolic crossroad as metonymic extensions of one another. All this makes me miss Religious Studies, my second major in undergrad school. The fine line between symbolic representation, and what different faiths believe had really happened, can drive you screaming up a wall and manifest 360 degree head turns. But I wonder if religious institutions are aware of some of the origins behind their appropriated belief systems. I should just phone up the Baptists and ask them when the next meeting is, and at which intersection. And should I bring a spade and a black cat bone.

Artwork: Jay N Davis: "Devil at the Crossroads"

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