“WWJD” Products Need Government Regulation
When I was a pretty new pastor, I told Sunday morning bible class that I thought one day I would go to a Christian bookstore with a whip and start flipping over tables.
My recollection is that was the Sunday I lost two regular bible class attenders that had been faithful in the previous pastor’s class.
Would you believe me if I told you they were also family members?
Now: although Jesus said things like this would happen (Matt. 10:22, 24-25, 34-39; Luke 6:26 ), I’ve learned that He was talking about Christians who are no longer alive. In the case of living Christians–pastors actively pastoring, particularly– we have to pretty much assume that it is his own stupidity that is responsible for offending people in every case.
Particularly in my case. You can safely assume that this was in no way an example of division caused by Christ’s word, but rather one more instance of my lack of “people skills”. That’s pretty much what I assume whenever I have a problem in the congregation, and my assumption usually turns out to be at least part right.
Nonetheless, I really think WWJD bracelets need to start coming with a disclaimer. Or Surgeon General’s warning.
Not that I was wearing a WWJD bracelet, or ever would. But those who do need to know the possible consequences of using WWJD products. These are not harmless substances! The fact that they not only sell them to minors but then allow children to use them is quite shocking when you think about the fact that we don’t even let kids out of car seats until they’re 8 years old in the state of Illinois.
WWJD bracelets are far more dangerous than riding in automobiles, if they’re used incorrectly.
At the very least they should come with visible warnings.
Like “If you’re a pastor, you should ask yourself “WWJD?” Then, whatever the answer is, make sure you don’t do that in church.” (Let any seminarians reading this understand!)
Or, “WARNING: Asking “WWJD?” (and then actually trying to do it) can result in relatives getting upset, being nicknamed ‘Beelzebub’, crowds chanting for your violent death, flogging, crucifixion, and other unpleasantness.”
Luckily people usually know how to use the bracelets and other paraphernalia correctly without being told–that is, as a witnessing tool, so you can tell other people who see it about J and W He WD. That way they too can try to do it. And if not, they will at least know that you regularly think about J and try to do W He WD several times a day.
Also they can be useful to evangelical protestants–or Muslims, for that matter–as a kind of non-mystical “relic”. Yeah, the rubber bracelet isn’t going to magically confer holiness. But the five dollars or whatever gives you an item of clothing that instantly identifies you to insiders as “saved”, since you’re so boldly claiming Jesus in this way. That alone would make it worth the price. But it also has the benefit of aiding your memory that you’re supposed to be imitating Jesus whenever you forget. That is just about guaranteed to produce much that is pleasing to God, this stimulation of your memory. It’s sort of like a hair shirt, only less depressing and morbid. I always find that the main reason I don’t D W J W is that I forget to think about J. Otherwise I usually have no problem figuring out W He WD. Then I figure out what He wants me to D, which is usually be nice, wear a t-shirt with a cool logo that subversively witnesses to Him, and then listen to some praise and worship music and lift up my right hand and close my eyes while singing and driving no more than 5 miles per hour over the speed limit.
Still, there is always the chance that people might actually think they should try to do what Jesus would do.
And that might end up with them saying a lot of unloving things that would turn off the unchurched.
Or even worse, they might really get crazy and end up getting spit on or beat up or killed!
It really would be in the best interests of both saved people and the lost if the US government regulated the dealing of Christian merchandise, especially WWJD bracelets. Things like that –and truthfully, bibles that don’t have explanatory notes–they can be very dangerous. They at least need warnings. If not background checks, registration, and licensing.
Think about it! I’m thinking about starting a petition and seeing if we can convince the US government to start to regulate potentially dangerous Christian consumer products. I bet they’re probably already working on it, though.