Beer Shirts and Bumper Stickers
Once upon a time Christians wore hair shirts. Nowadays I'm considering wearing a beer shirt.
A few weeks ago a DJ answered my e-mail on the air. Yesterday I received my reward: a radio station t-shirt and bumper stickers, a CD, and a Miller Genuine Draft summer survival kit. In case you expect to be stranded on a desert island next summer, don't count on the MGD kit to help you survive: it contains no first aid materials, no food--no beer, even. It does, however, contain a bottle opener and a beer shirt. So, I suppose, if you found yourself stranded on a desert island next summer you'd be able to open a bottle and tear off a portion of your beer shirt to write a message. BYO bottle and pen.
This isn't the only shirt I've been given recently. On my vacation I answered a trivia question correctly and had thrown at me a shirt that says something to the effect of "I Heart Gambling." I'm quickly assembling an entire closet of vice; all I need for the hat trick is a shirt that shouts "Legalize It!"
I'm faced with a dilemma: what do I do with my new wardrobe? I work for a Christian company, as does my wife, and I fully expect that at least some of the people around us would be scandalized by such shirts. So to wear one or the other of them would be to invite trouble on myself. But I won them fair and square! And let's be honest: I've been known to enjoy a beer or two in my lifetime, so to wear the beer shirt at least would be somewhat authentic. (For the record, I categorically don't heart gambling.)
Ancient monks wore hair shirts to remind themselves that they were sinners, and to compel themselves to sin less. I wonder if such a shirt as this would serve a similar purpose: to remind myself (and others around me) that I'm not as cool or as purified and pious or as ascetic as I sometimes purport to be. Maybe it would compel me to live more consistently in the truth.
That, after all, is the value I see in those fish bumper stickers. I doubt that too many people are throwing themselves on the mercy of God because there's a fish crossing the road in front of them. But for me at least, the prospect of driving around with an "I Heart Jesus" bumper sticker causes me to consider just how responsible, deferential and respectful a driver I am. How we adorn ourselves, I think, has some impact on how we conduct ourselves.
Or, maybe it's just a stupid, gaudy t-shirt and I should stop thinking about it and just hand it over to the beer-based Bible study ("the Brew Crew") my friend is running. Summer's almost over, after all, and so far I've survived nicely without it.
Posted by Dave Zimmerman
at September 7, 2006 8:04 AM