Sunday, October 9, 2011

Those WWJD Bracelets

I was in high school when those "WWJD" bracelets really became a trend. "WWJD" is, of course, "What Would Jesus Do?"

I have to admit that I never liked them. At first, it was because I thought they were too self-consciously pious, too self-righteous. They didn't seem, to me, to be asking; they proclaimed that the wearer was religious and they implied something holier-than-thou about them, that they knew all the answers and would preach at the slightest provocation.

I still don't like those bracelets, though I'm not as judgmental about them these days. Rather, I dislike them because even when the reminder is given with the best intentions, it's all too often much too easy to justify our own biases with Jesus' name as an excuse. "What would Jesus do?" becomes "What do I think Jesus would do?" Eventually, that can become, "Jesus would do what I'm doing, because I'm right," and that way lies the self-righteousness that turned me off of organized religion for so long.

The fact is, though we can guess what Jesus might have done in any given situation, we don't really know.  So, whether or not it works, in order to avoid that sort of self-righteousness, I prefer to take my cue from one of my favourite anthems, composed by Maurice DurflĂ©:

"Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est."

Where there is charity and love, there is God.

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