Wearing Your Religion


He was about to give the man at the front desk a piece of his mind. He had some of the worst customer service experience in a long time, after all, these people had overcharged his credit card two months in a row. The fitness club manager was a shady character who wore warm up suits and gold chains and spoke words like “your health is the most important thing to us.”  My friend stood at the front desk getting the run around on why the charge discrepancy. As his righteous indignation grew into plain anger, and the level of his voice began to raise he suddenly stopped dead on his tracks.

I stood to the side of him watching the whole exchange go down. Secretly, I was looking forward to the show down between Dickie and the smarmy manager. But it didn’t happen. Dickie, stopped talking and said, “I’ll deal with this later,” and walked away.

I made my way into the club and found him a few minutes later. “What happened? Why didn’t you finish the conversation.” In my mind I was thinking, “I had front-row seats to see you take down Mr. Smarmy.” His reply was not what I expected. He looked my in the eyes and said, “I couldn’t do it. I have Jesus on my back.” The look on my face must have given my bewilderment away because without saying anything else, Dickie turned around and pointed to the large letters resembling an old Coca Cola logo: JESUS CHRIST stamped all over his shirt.

That happened several years ago, but I have never forgotten that conversation: “I’ve got Jesus on my back.” Even before the WWJD bracelets became popular, I always thought of Dickie’s sudden realization that he was wearing his religion, literally.

Since then I have always struggled with the question, “how much differently would I act if I had Jesus on my back constantly?” What would my conduct be if the words “Jesus Follower” were branded on me for all to see?  So, maybe it’s a t-shirt, a rubber bracelet, or even a tattoo, but from time to time, I believe we Christians need a visual reminder that Jesus not only has our back, but He’s on it.

What do you think of wearing a reminder of your faith? Is that a cop out or a legitimate help tool?

  • Jason Gordon

    I think “wearing your religion” as a reminder is ok. But as a fashion accessory, I vote no. People wear crosses and don’t believe in Jesus. That’s just wrong.

  • I think the story is one of doing the right thing. However, I for one am not big on people broadcasting their faith. Wearing a cross or star of david I think is an awesome hting to do. But it should be personal. If you want to think as a mantra WWJD, fantastic. But you should do the rght thing because you live your life that way, not because you are worried about what others will think of you because they see your shirt. After all, you can only have so many t-shirts 🙂 . I applaud Dickie for how he handled the situation. I often quote one of my favorite coaches and leaders John Wooden. " You do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do." There could be not bigger man of faith. People knew of his convictions. But could you imagine him wearing a t-shirt with a statement on his back. Nope. He lived his live and treated people based on his faith. That spoke much louder than billboard.

    • Great quote. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Got to love Bible.com:

    'Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

    For details and commentary – go here: http://bible.cc/romans/13-14.htm)

    Great post Maurilio – this one sticks!

  • That's powerful.

    Something similar happened to me last year but I was the angry guy. Someone cut me off pretty bad on the road and I got angry, sped up beside them and was just about to give them one of those "look over and mouth something" kind of deals but then I remembered that I have an "I am Christ's Church" magnet on the back of my truck (magnet for a campaign our church, named "Christ's Church" did). Needless to say, I slowed my roll and it put perspective back into place real quick.

    The bad part to this is that there are a lot of people who wear the symbol on their back or who tout a fish on their bumper but then don't act different. Symbols only matter if we live out the life they represent. If not then we just add to the hypocrisy.

    For me, I like reminders. Sometimes I need them. It's like driving a company work truck versus our own car. We tend to do things a little different when there is a sense of accountability for who we represent.

  • Joseph

    If wearing something is a legitimate help then I am okay with it.

    I think it all depends where you are in your journey and for some that journey might require a little nudge or reminder here and there.

    What I do not agree with is those who "wear" their faith and use it as a weapon of sorts. I have seen on occasion people condemning, arguing or putting down those not of faith all why wearing the Proud Member of the 1st Church on Main shirts. That is when I have an issue with it.

    One last thought here…..Sometimes wearing your religion or advertising your church on a shirt, leads to great conversation and possibly someone coming to visit that might have not done so prior. Just a thought.

  • jeff

    Thanks Maurilio, great post! I think Jesus' call is for inward transformation. Until we are so "transformed" that we can give up our right to ourselves and live a life of grace and love can we find true freedom in Christ. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that is counter to that notion. " Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light". It's not what on the chest but in it that counts.

  • Bryan Young

    I’ve never been big on wearing anything outwardly religious and flashy. A cross would be the extent of it for me.

    I think if I were in Dickie’s shoes, I would have let him have it anyway. Gracefully and tactfully. Honestly, if he was intentionally ripping y’all off, he likely was ripping others off and I doubt Jesus would stand for that.

    It’s something different I think when you flip a bird out your car window with a fish symbol on your back bumper at someone that cut you off that probably didn’t even know what they did.

  • I know there are several christians who believe that wearing one of those slogan stealing shirts, wearing WWJD bracelets or slapping fish or bumper stickers feel that just throwing it out there willy-nilly or Gospel Crop-Dusting will cause someone to stop and re-examine themselves, I personally feel it demeans the Gospel. Whenever I find a tract in a bathroom I remove it. ("So, how was that bowel movement? Can I interest you in Jesus?")

    Christ was all about relationships. We need to be Jesus with skin on. Unless I missed the verse about "Go forth into the world and advertise the Lord your God" "Let your "slogans" shine before man…"

    I just don't believe we should let our "slogan wear" take the place of reaching out and getting to know people.

    • Bret, you know Christians have made a lot of money from bad t-shirts.

  • I recently got a tattoo on the inside of my left wrist because it's the best reminder I could come up with. Few other people notice it, but it sure helps me control my thoughts. My "CAN DO" reminds me that Jesus has my back, and that I just need to stay focused on Him.

    Great post. I've found myself coming back more and more from Twitter. Count me as a new subscriber.

    • Thanks for joining the conversation Kendra. Love your tattoo idea. I've been thinking about getting one myself.

  • Candace

    I’m with Bret.

    Jesus connected w people, affecting them deep from within; he let that take center. As u know, he wasn’t much for outside show of any kind, even wearing a martyred look while fasting.

    However, one caveat: if u hv something that works subtly as a great conversation starter, great!

  • Perspective is so important. What once was an accessory suddenly becomes an important distinctive and life message.

  • Excellent post! It certainly hit me between the eyes & the legs! It definitely has me thinking….are there, or were there things I would've done differently if I was wearing a Jesus t-shirt, or had a Jesus bumper sticker? I reckon so. Thanks for the slap in the face & waking me up.


  • This is why my dad would never get any Christian bumper stickers for his car; and in hindsight that was probably a good call.

  • Great story, Maurilio. As Daniel noted, it's easy for people to lose their cool when driving. Perhaps we should consider a HWJD bracelet – How Would Jesus Drive?

    I don't usually leave links with my comments, but this recent post ties in so well:: http://larryhehn.com/2010/pardon-me-your-ichthus-


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