Crux: (n) a vital or decisive element (often in the phrase “the crux of the matter”)
Tossed off as a comment by a pundit on any one of a hundred new shows:
“This needs to be taken care of. It is the crux of the matter.”
I don’t know whether the word “crux” is a current one or not. Sometimes I am sympathetic to the younger generation’s unwillingness to adopt language from the past. Other times I want to scream at them to buy a history book or a dictionary.
But I, for one, am very careful about using the word.
Crux is one of those odd terms that is lifted directly from the Latin and placed into our lingo.
In Latin, the word “crux” means cross. And cross is normally associated with one situation and a single individual. It was the form of execution used by the Romans at the behest of the Jewish Council, to kill off Jesus of Nazareth.
So even though the young Nazarene spent his life healing, loving, challenging, organizing and believing, he has become known for the “crux (cross) of his matter.”
A man of peace reflected upon as a criminal hanging on a tree.
So as I look at the climate of our society today—considering the crux of the matter—I wonder what our cross is. What will we be known for?
We certainly want to be recognized for our skill in changing the oil in our car or our delicious recipe for the potato salad we bring to the family reunion each year.
But do we get to choose?
Would Jesus of Nazareth actually have chosen a cross as a symbol of his life?
The crux of America is three-fold:
- We allowed slavery to exist for 350 years and bigotry for another century and a half.
- We stole our country from the Native Americans, who didn’t own it either, but certainly had squatter’s rights.
- What will be the crux of our matter going forward? Will it be world domination or the inability to manage our own affairs with grace and aplomb, stumbling our way off the historical stage?