For centuries Christians have been wearing reminders of their faith: crosses, saint medals, icons, and other various symbols. So I do not suppose I can be surprised to find this:
(Image courtesy of mcphee.com)
The Seven Deadly Sins Wristbands sold by Archie McPhee for $13.95 plus shipping. Do we really need to have a silicone bracelet with one of the seven deadly sins on it in bright colors? Probably not, especially when I read the details on the website:
“It started with yellow wristbands before moving on to every color of the
rainbow and every cause under the sun. That’s great for positive,
constructive people, but what about the cynics and smart alecks? Where
are their wristbands? Each of theses Seven deadly sins Wristbands
celebrates a human weakness. Whether you enjoy gluttony, greed or plain
old lust, just slip on one of these rubbery silicon wristbands and show
off your fatal flaw. Fits most adult wrists.”
Why would anyone want to celebrate human weakness or revel in sinfulness? While these sins are not outlined in scripture, they have become part of Christian Tradition through the writings of a monk, Evagrius Ponticus, who penned them in the 4th century, and later revised by Pope Gregory I into the list we see today. It consists of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Our wristbands come in lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, anger, envy, and vanity. Close!
What would Jesus think? I have no doubt he’d be concerned that anyone would desire to make sin into a fashion statement. Not to mention, that Jesus wasn’t big on sin in the first place; it was really painful for him (no pun intended) to witness sin and its ramifications all around him. I think we can safely say that Jesus would declare this WRONG. That being said…
I started to wonder if these wristbands could be redeemed. Is there anything worth considering here? I suddenly envisioned an experiment for a youth group. Suppose each youth took a wristband and put it on while at youth group on Sunday. They wore the band all week long and were tasked with looking for the sin that was on their wristband. Would they find it as pervasive as we fear it has become? Would they suddenly be vigilant and on alert about looking for sin, and would they be more apt to see it if they were looking? I can imagine a very interesting discussion held during youth group the next Sunday. “Where did you see pride? What did it look like and how did it impact the world around you? How did seeing this sin make you feel? And how did you not notice it before?” I can see Jesus appreciating that which makes us open our eyes and work to change the sinfulness of the world, so in that light, I suppose that Jesus would find these bands righteous under the right circumstances, but it is incumbent upon us, as Christians, to use them for purposes other than their original intent. Not impossible to redeem, ironically, just like us.