Monday, January 17, 2011

A plus for the Cross

At the end of an email message, it is common for my colleagues to use different abbreviations (e.g., "B." or "af") or symbols (e.g., "-Shane"). In turn, I have begun to use my own symbol at the end of some message. Sometimes, I may use a plus sign. That is, I might sign my messages as "+ Phil."

It would be interesting to know whether my colleagues have noticed this symbol and what they think about it.

Perhaps they perceive it is as a normal variation on the common practice of using a symbol. "Hmmm, this is interesting. Most people use a dash or a squiggly in that spot. But he is using a plus."

Or perhaps they chalk it up as another idiosyncracy. "Hunh, he posts riddles on his hallway board and keeps a cylinder of oatmeal at his desk. He is a quirky guy. Using a plus must be another quirk."

Or maybe they consider it a little more deeply and perceive it as an assertion of optimism. "Well, he always seems to be trying to be chipper and he has a nerdy sense of humor. Perhaps using a plus sign is his way of encouraging 'positive' attitudes."

But how many people see the plus sign as a form of the Christian cross? "I know that he tries to be a faithful Christian. I have seen those little spiritual pictures on his wall. Maybe the plus sign is like a cross for him. Wow, I wonder if it could be."

In much of my personal correspondence outside of work, I close messages with "Christ's peace be with you" or "God bless you with a great day." Can this plus sign in my emails in the office be a subtle way of bringing the glory of the Cross to it?

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