Sunday, 8 January 2012

the undergarments of the Lord...

At one time, amongst a particular strand of Christianity, the WWJD? [what would Jesus do?] fad kicked off: Christian bookstores/ resource centres/ bookstalls/ etc. were inundated by sales reps marketing the WWJD? slogan in all manner of gift format.
WWJD? bracelets
WWJD? t-shirts
WWJD? coffee mugs
and even, allegedly, WWJD? boxer shorts... which provided me with the rather unhelpful distraction of bemusedly wondering about the choice of undergarments worn by our Lord. 

The follow up marketing gimmick was another set of initialled products, all displaying 'FROG' - the rather dire acronym for 'fully rely on God'.
No, I don't make these up, I merely pass on this information.
The purpose of these Christian products were, I believe, two-fold:
1/ to aid the wearer to think how one might behave as a follower of Jesus, when faced with various ethical crises to make the 'right' choices 
2/ as an tool for evangelism - wearing the products as a type of witness to your own faith.

I'll gloss over my difficulties with number one [turning these products into a type of  'lucky talisman' as a tool for decision-making, the possibility of creating Jesus in one's own image, etc., using such items as a way of taking any potential joy in life and crushing it dead 'just in case' - Jesus did go to parties, but one would be inclined to think that Jesus was a particularly miserable kill-joy] and move on to number two:
it's all very well having signs and symbols... wearing particular things, using particular gestures and language, but unless those on the 'outside' of the 'club' know what the symbolism is about, I wonder if it is not rather a futile gesture/action/etc.?
On the other hand, one should not downplay mystery and otherness either, as potential conversation starters.
Further, when the WWJD? outfits are teamed up with actions that seem contrary to what some think Jesus might actually do, we have an interesting conundrum.
Perhaps rather than wearing items asking WWJD?, we might just get on with the business of learning to love one another - and wear what Jesus would do on our hearts and through our actions....
to learn to live life in all its abundance, and to share that abundance with others,
to encourage spaces in which life can blossom and flourish, not wither and perish,
to create environments that nurture and nourish and ensure that all are welcome and all have a place at the table...
this, even when we might disagree with one another over theologies, structures, the manner in which we do things,
this even should it mean we might lose our own status and privileges.

Love abundantly,
and sacrificially.
Love to build up, not beat down.

I'm still not quite sure about whether he'd wear boxers, however.

I rather like the pic. below, posted by friend Nad. on facebook...

1 comment:

Mrs Gerbil said...

Like Nad, I've often thought the WWJD should stand for What wouldn't Jesus do?. Never especially like the idea of the cash-in religious merchandise of any flavour.

I also wonder how ethically produced some of these products are? Does strike me a bit hypocritical wearing or using something in Jesus' name where the person producing it has not been given a fair wage and decent conditions., though I won't share what I think he would have worn...