|courtesy Bad Vestments blog
The problem with trendy vestments, and any other attempt to make the faith ‘relevant’ is that it is immediately out of date. Like the new car that depreciates as soon as you drive if off the lot–you’re immediately a loser.
Who really cares if the vestment, or your religion for that matter, is ‘relevant’? People who want life to be ‘relevant’ don’t want it to be religious because they’ve already concluded that religion isn’t relevant or they would have been religious, and I respect them for their honesty.
What I mean is this: if you want to change the world, occupy Wall Street or save the polar bears or bring in a new economic order or equality for gays or help feed poor children or be nicer to old people or feed the hungry or house the homeless or any other good and wonderful thing–you don’t really need religion to do it. Just get on and be a nice, good, helpful change the world kind of person.
If I were a ‘good atheist’ intent on changing the world, I’d sort of resent the religious people trying to crash my party. I’d say, “You’re supposed to be about saving souls from hell and forgiveness and the blood of Jesus and casting out demons and transubstantiation and all that stuff aren’t you? Why don’t you mind your own business and butt out?”
Let’s face it, real religion–that has to do with a transaction with the supernatural, the transformation of souls into glorious eternal beings and their action in the world–that’s not immediately ‘relevant’ for most people, so when religious people try to get relevant they end up being neither religious nor relevant. That’s why goofy vestments like the one above pretty well illustrate the vapidity of such an enterprise.
On the other hand, of course, real religion that is timeless and simply tells and tries to live the old, old story of God’s mysterious, redemptive love for mankind will continue to touch lives, transform people and transform the world and end up being totally relevant.
So, to stand things on their head, if you want to be irrelevant try to be relevant. If you want to be relevant aim to be irrelevantly religious and you’ll end up being relevant despite yourself.