Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dude, you're getting an error...

First in a series of silly errors running around in modern Christianity. First up?

21 Days to a Complaint-Free Life: No complaint bracelets.

The website exclaims (with a picture of Oprah Winfrey) "The complaint bracelet has changed the lives of millions of people by helping them to break their addiction of complaining. Over 1 Million people across the world are wearing these complaint-free bracelets and they have been featured on OPRAH, The Today Show and in People magazine. To get your free no-complaint bracelet and to learn more about them please enter your email address below to continue."

Rev. Will Bowen of Christ Church Unity came up with the idea for this while taking a shower. The bracelet come with a pledge to not complain for 21 days. Everyone who has tried this little evangelical wonder has failed repeatedly in each attempt. If you fail, you have to change the bracelet to the other wrist.

Why is this my first "dude, your getting an error" story? Several things come to mind. One, this is an evangelical pastor trying to teach people that they can actually pull this off without telling people that this in no way will improve their standing before God. Second, if you don't catch yourself complaining, you obviously will have falsly claimed to have made it 21 days. Another thing is, if Jesus were to take this challenge he would fail.

Yup. You read me right. When Jesus cast out the money changers from the temple he said two things. He said, "Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’?" That's a complaint, and then he said, "But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’" That's another. Jesus fails the test. But yet, Jesus was without sin. But if Jesus is complaining, isn't that a sin? No, it isn't folk. In fact, if you pray about something that isn't right in your life and you pray to God to fix it for you, that's complaining.

This is such a silly attempt at false piety it's ridiculous.


Chris Sagsveen said...

Hi Matthew!
This is an interesting post. I think it's an easy road for people to assume that if we don't complain, we're good people - which they then associate as good Christians. But if we start saying we're not going to complain, then it opens the door for us to allow anything and everything in the world - otherwise we're likely to be called hypocrites. Say I'm wearing a bracelet, and point out certain social issues I do not agree with because they go against my faith. That's the point I'm accused of being a hypocrite and a bad Christian. I agree with you -"such a silly attempt at false piety" is a statement.

Looking forward to more silly errors.

Matthew said...

Why thankyou :) I have a few here and there that are... well... silly. Just gotta right 'em up's all.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Matthew and Chris,
I totally understand how you can conclude that promoting efforts to reduce complaining by using a no complaint bracelet can be hypocritical and falsely pious.
I choose to look at it another way. I'm inclined to believe that the well meaning Rev. Bowen intended the no complaint bracelet as a vehicle of self awareness revealing the frequency of complaining we do that is at best unproductive and often times detrimental to others and to ourselves. We all know that there is far too much of that kind of complaining going on. I also believe that this sort of complaining is a waste of time and an unloving way to treat our fellow men and women and produces an environment of negativity. This kind of complaining is, to my way of thinking, a sin.
You are right that some kinds of complaining are perfectly acceptable in God's sight because they make others aware of effort needed to rectify wrongs, perfect justice, exercise mercy, and serve the almighty God unselfishly and for the benefit of Christ's true church. Of these I say, take action along with the complaining or better yet simply do what it takes and/or enlist help to accomplish that which is needed.
So if in the midst of a complaint you can truly say that the complaint is as the above description, I think that the complaint, if accompanied by action, is not a sin.
But if for what most likely are the majority of complaints, wasteful or hurtful, the no complaint bracelet is God sent.
"You shall know them by their fruits." Christ said, and certainly the bracelets are making life for and around those who wear them and try to keep their pledge to not complain, a happier and more stress free experience. Sounds like good, healthful fruit to me!!
Micheal Amosson

the big test

Since someone, somewhere, has seen fit to deprive the world of Issues etc and take a huge bite out of confessional Lutheranism at the same time, I will not take up the mantle of working to see that those who did it answer for their actions.
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