February 16, 2007
by: jovial_cynic
During the WWJD ("What Would Jesus Do?") craze of the late 90's, I was irritated by the commercial feel of the Christian slogan, and the way the Christian market attempted to get an edge on cool, as though trends were a good way to deliver the gospel. I couldn't go anywhere without seeing a bracelet or bead-necklace or bumper sticker with WWJD on it, and all I could think about is the dollars being dumped into the marketing campaign. Money spent on stickers when there were still hungry people on the streets in my own town.

The actual WWJD message itself was interesting, because it was used to justify legalism -- "Would Jesus smoke? Would Jesus ride a Harley? Would Jesus look for tax loopholes?" And if Christian kids couldn't answer yes to those questions, they were pressured into avoiding those activities because they were clearly sinful. And really -- that's absurd. Jesus wouldn't eat pork, on account of being Jewish... does that mean that Christians shouldn't eat pork?

The problem is that the WWJD message was rarely taught with the context of His ministry. If you recall the text in the gospels, Jesus spent a great deal of time feeding people, He hung out with drunks and prostitutes, He healed the sick, and He ultimately sacrificed His life for the sake of sinners. He was hung on a cross with common criminals, and all the while, He loved his captors and His crucified company, even to the point of promising eternal life to the repentant criminal cricified with Him.

When I read about a "Christian" pediatrician refusing to treat a child with an ear infection because the parents have tattoos, I feel like the message of Christ was interpreted incorrectly. The question of "What Would Jesus Do" somehow got translated into "don't give medical treatment to people with tattoos, piercings, or other things I find distasteful."

A family is turned away by a local pediatrician, they say because of the way they look.
The doctor said he is just following his beliefs, creating a Christian atmosphere for his patients.
For Dr. Gary Merrill of Christian Medical Services, that means no tattoos, body piercings, and a host of other requirements—all standards Merrill has set based upon his Christian faith.
He said if they don't like his beliefs, they can find another doctor. (emphasis mine)

I have a hard time believing that Christ would hold out his hand to a known prostitute caught in the act, and love her... and at the same time, refuse to help a child because the child's mother had some visible tattoos. Clearly something was lost in the meaning.

WWJD indeed.
np category: religion


Kristen said:
This is ludicrous! Preposterous! Argh.
February 16, 2007

jovial_cynic said:
It's much more common than you realize, I think. It's terrible, but it's not shocking to me anymore -- it's a reflection of a prevalent mindset that is in every church: Legalism. Legalism is easy. It's a handy way to make yourself feel like you're spiritual -- you just have to look at a person's outward appearance and compare it to yourself. It's not the way God does things... but it's easy.
February 16, 2007

wonder said:
Hmm... I didn't know rural central florida was such an anomaly.

Most 'christian environments' i've found myself in lately has included some heavily-tattooed & pierced individuals... but maybe that's just the preacher's kids punk band....

April 09, 2007

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