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Sunday, January 22, 2006



I don't think I've heard it called the Labarum before (so that's the new thing I've learnt today). I mentally refer to it as Chi-Rho, since it's just a composite of those two Greek letters and, traditionally, a shorthand for "Christ" (Chi = CH but looks like an X and Rho = R but looks like a P).

I think its history goes back well before Constantine's alleged vision before the battle at Milvian Bridge in 312AD (or thereabouts?) and so, although definitely not of the view that Constantine was the greatest thing ever to happen to the church, wouldn't have a problem seeing it used as a background image.



Wulf - yes many refer to this symbol by the two Greek characters it represents, but to the best of my knowledge it's called the Labarum.

While it may well pre-date Constintine's use of it, for me it still represents the domination of the powerful over the weak. I do however think that this would not be how 99.9% of the people in church on Sunday would have understood this symbol!

The Hippo Critic

I think "Labarum" is a more general term for a banner or emporers flag and is not restricted to Constantine's use of the Chi-Rho monogram specifically. But I'm nitpicking.

The cross is a christian symbol that was daubed on the shields of medievel crusaders perpetrating attrocities in the Holy Land, but you wouldn't say we should remove all crosses from our worship.

And no, regardless of how Constantine used the symbol, it's a monogram for Christ. We are not celebrating the fusion of church and state any more than a picture of a hamburger celebrates the rise of consumerism, materialism and the influence of McDonalds on the eating habits of a nation!

Nowadays you see Chi-rho in many churches - even the Church of Scotland. The Book of Kells has a famous example of the Chi-Rho monogram etc.

I would guess that you're one of the last remaining true "Baptists" in the congregation Brodie. I get the feeling that there are a lot of people like me who find the particularly formulaic "Baptist" denominational elements to our worship increasingly irrelevant at best and unhelpful distractions at worst. Thankfully, we don't get very many reminders that we're actually a "Baptist" church and I would happily drop the term from our title (though not the practice of believers baptism of course).

Having said all that, I think 99.9% of the congregation wouldn't have a clue what the symbol meant at all! But I thought that the whole point of powerpoint background images was to encourage us all in our worship. Since these particular images are having the opposite effect for you at least - I hope that whoever deals with these things at church reads this blog and removes them. It's not as if there's a paucity of alternatives to choose from! And in that same spirit of encouragement perhaps you have some images you'd like to share with the congregation?


hearing what people have said above and in emails to me it would appear that I'm getting my knickers in a twist on this one.

Hippo critic with regrads to background images we never used them with song words at the 8. If i had the space / money for equipment & time then i'd have three screens next to each other. The center one for the words and the side two for visuals.


Hello there - coming out of the lurking shadows!

I've always seen the symbol as the first letters of Christ's name - and was unaware of the constantinian conection. I can see how you would get frustrated by that tho.

As a side digression - we had a background in Church which completely distracted me and my husband during worship. It was a pic of a middle aged man, in a suit, seventies specs, hands waving, eyes closed in worship..... with the most ENORMOUS handlebar moustache I have EVER seen!!!
The wonders of God's creation, indeed!


Knickers in a twist.....Hey Brodie, its years since Ive seen you but I can just picture you saying all that about the Labarum!! (had to check the spelling there...)well Im not sure what to say but that maybe you should be DARN grateful that your church is engaging in reflective / new types of worship :-) Saying that I remember clearly the worship of Greenbelt '92 when there were women dancing in bikinies on stage with serious amounts of dodgy symbols going on (not sure which was more disturbing...) so I can kinda sympathise too....:-) anyway just thought I'd say hi as I probably havent seen you since '99???? love to you and yours...

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