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WWJD Post-9/11?

Contemplating presidential and congressional actions post-9/11 and especially in regard to Iraq, I myself am inclined to start wearing my WWJD bracelet again, maybe even purchasing a T-shirt and WWJD coffee mug—if I could just find them.

The WWJD marketing craze began in 1989 with a youth group in Holland, Mich. They found their inspiration in a novel penned by Charles Sheldon in 1896. The author depicted a church group who pledged for one year to premise every decision with the query, “What would Jesus do?” Both fictionally and then actually for millions of readers, according to the official WWJD Web site, this turned out to be a life-changing question.
For millions of other Christians since 1989, when “witness wear” manufacturers and marketers took over where the Michigan youth group left off, WWJD has at least left a huge impression. Surely many life decisions have been changed for the better, and probably more than a few lives have been changed significantly as well—all on account of a simple acronym and the question for which it stands.
So now I am left to wonder, in the midst of a bloody “war on terrorism” post-9/11 and in the face of potential war with <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Iraq, where is WWJD when we need it most?
Not having seen for many months even one of the purportedly 14 million WWJD bracelets in circulation, I hypothesized that the fad had faded. Then I did a quick telephone poll of our Kansas City area Christian bookstores to check my hypothesis and anecdotal evidence against their reported sales trends and stocking of WWJD paraphernalia.
The first manager polled, at Abounding Grace bookstore, responded with his own question: “What is this ‘WWJD’ you’re talking about?” Upon my jogging of his memory, he found a couple WWJD bracelets remaining in his inventory. 
Lifeway, Herald and Banner, and two other Christian retail establishments further confirmed the hypothesis: WWJD is out, the fad has faded, and has since at least 9/11 if not before.
What’s still in, in terms of sales, profits and influence, are Christian products pertaining to The Prayer of Jabez.  Post-9/11, this scares me. The last thing religious nationalists, either here or in other militaristic nations, need right now are divine rights to an Old Testament prayer for God’s blessing on expansionist efforts to “enlarge my border” or “territory” (1 Chr 4:10).
Unless the ancient “Prayer of Jabez” is utilized in the admirably nonmilitaristic, nonconsumeristic, nonindividualistic manner of columnist Ben Leslie, it would seem to provide fuel for the fire of current national and international militarism.
Given a choice between Christian slogans and the fads they foster, might we do better, especially now, with a wholehearted return to WWJD?
Contemplating presidential and congressional actions post-9/11 and especially in regard to Iraq, I myself am inclined to start wearing my WWJD bracelet again, maybe even purchasing a T-shirt and WWJD coffee mug—if I could just find them.
Tarris Rosell is associate professor of pastoral care and practice of ministry at Central Baptist Theological Seminary.
Read Jim Ball’s column, What Would Jesus Drive?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />