The cross calls us to recognize that the heart of human experience is neither consistency nor chaos, but contradiction. In our century we have been beguiled by the claim of consistency, by the theory that history is moving toward the resolution of all problems, by the false hope that comes from groundless optimism that all works together for good. And then, when this claim has been discredited by tragic events, we have been assaulted by theories of chaos, by prophets of despair who claim that everything can be reduced to the random play of forces beyond all control…. The cross symbolizes that beyond naïve hope and beyond meaningless despair lies a structure of dynamic contradictions in which our lives are caught.
Parker Palmer, The Promise of Paradox