Ready-to-Wear Articles of Popular Religious Culture

Ready-to-Wear Articles of Popular Religious Culture

If you open your jewelry box right now, what would you find? A buried, exquisitely woven indigo and green WWJD wristband, perhaps an out-of-place but still sparkling (and exactly like the one all your friends had) purity ring, or maybe an anachronistically chic saints bracelet made of finest — so you were told — Brazilian wood and given to you by a sweetheart? What’s that? You have all three and some spares in neon colors! You don’t have to tell me, I know you’re not the only one.

In fact, religious ready-to-wear articles are found just about everywhere and they’re not used solely for body adornment. These articles are likely to greet you from across the windshield while you ever-so-patiently sit in traffic — most people are capable of appreciating a funny bumper sticker or taking pleasure in finally recognizing the pattern of the evangelical 3-D fish decal. And let’s not forget that hair clip your sophomore-year best friend never took out.

Moreover, it’s also likely you’ll encounter these articles in the patter of your closest friends and schoolmates — current or otherwise. Of course the Illuminati Antichrist conspiracy is always popping up in uncensored gossip-blog-reader commentary; perhaps the peak being when Kanye admitted membership and Jay-Z, twicely, appeared dashing in a Gucci Jesus is Lord tee.

But beyond the physical environment, religious and philosophical ideas are used as conversational and discoursive adornment as well. Calvinism provides one great example: its remarkable insistence in the fact of predetermination. Though Calvinists sharply distinguish their idea of predetermination from the sociological and philosophical concept of determinism, the two terms’ overlaps give rise to interesting and insightful confusion. Translation: long lasting fuel for late-night conversations in college dorm room common areas and hallways.

Though certain forms of the way these articles are used may seem trivializing, most wearers carry them on their bodies, cars, and minds with sincerity and respect. For these users, trendy religious articles are one more way to express and signal their faith. Put another way, their use is a response to a heavy question posed: What is the Gospel of Christ as you should understand it?

Sam Walters is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles.  Her writing appears in print and online.

Richard A. Manfredi has written about Dan Corner gives his point of view on the once save always saved doctrine. Learn about evangelical outreach, conditional security, eternal security and the antichrist conspiracy.

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