About the #pX Hashtag

While browsing through my friends’ updates on Twitter, I was struck by the lack of a hashtag to aggregate all the smart and provocative content that Christian liberals were creating. After checking with a few influential Twitterers to make sure there wasn’t already a tag, I proposed the #pX hashtag.

(If you’re new to Twitter and need help figuring out what those hashtags are all about, check out this Mashable post.)

Why #pX?

I wanted to emulate other successful tags – they’re short, semantically memorable, and still meaningful. In this case, I wanted to play off the overlap with political progressives, who primarily use the #p2 hashtag. It stands for “Progressives 2.0”, and has an active userbase due to greater promotion and a shorter length. Other rival tags like #topprog and #rebelleft are still used by smaller communities on Twitter, but they lack the broad appeal of #p2.

So I set out to include the two basic aspects of this community – politically progressive and Christian. I started thinking about different representations and symbols that Christian groups have created for themselves over time, and came across the Wikipedia page for the Chi-Ro symbol – a P overlaid with an X, representing the first letters of “Christ” in Greek. This was one of the earliest christograms – that is, a combination of letters representing the name of Jesus Christ.

Chi-Ro symbol

Chi-Ro symbol

The #XP tag was already in irregular use, mostly to refer to the aging Windows operating system. I was surprised when my searching revealed that #pX was available, so I quickly added the tag to popular hashtag repositories like What The Hashtag, Hashtag.org, and tagdef, among others.

Not only had I come across a hashtag that was symbolically meaningful, but it worked on a basic semantic level, too – using the traditional Greek letter Chi (X) to represent Christ (as in Xmas or any number of other common short names), pX is just a nice abbreviation for progressive Christian.

While capitalization technically isn’t recognized by Twitter or associated services, I used the traditional capitalization of the Lord’s name to show respect, and to reflect the relative importance of Christ to our political leanings.

Liberal Christians or Christian Liberals?

Like several of the other primary users of the #pX hashtag, I consider myself to be a Christian liberal rather than a liberal Christian. The difference, to me, is that my Christianity forms the basis for my political liberalism, informing and guiding it in a certain way. I don’t necessarily subscribe to liberal theology – something that doesn’t chart very easily on a typical left-right political scale anyway. And I wanted this hashtag to help create an open community of Christians who care deeply about peace, social justice, and a whole host of related issues.

#pX is about what we, as Christians living within a political system, can do with that political system to create a more just environment for all of God’s children. While theological issues will inevitably be discussed, the focus of the #pX community is on the political side of things – who has the power, how it is being used, and how it should be used.

You can join the conversation by adding #pX to your tweets. To follow the conversation, check the Twitter search page for #pX, or create in search in your favorite Twitter client.