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Disheveled Theologian: Beware the polyester doctrine!

I recently bought a new scarf. This isn’t unusual for me. Not that I’m buying scarves all the time, but I do wear scarves virtually all the time. Except when I’m doing the dishes or gardening or going to yoga class. So like once or twice I week I don’t wear them. For like an hour at a time.

I wanted the scarf to be long, and I wanted it to be something I could wear in the summer, i.e. lightweight, and it would be nice if it would go with a gray dress I bought last fall. Without too much searching, I found a long scarf with varying shades of gray and a nice pink cherry blossom motif. I laughed that the description said it would be “a suitable gift for your girlfriend, mother, partner, coworker ...” with no mention of your wife. I guess it’s a good thing I was buying it for myself rather than hinting to Colin that he should buy it for me.

When the scarf arrived I was perfectly content. It was pretty, it was long, it matched the gray I wanted it to match. It felt nice to the touch.

Then I wrapped it around my neck for the first time and caught sight of the tag. I dislike tags on scarves so I quickly grabbed some scissors, grasped the tag and lowered the scissors into place. It was then that I saw the first words of the tag, “100% silk”.

“Huh,” I thought, “I didn’t think it cost enough to be 100% silk, isn’t that nice?”

I then read the rest of the tag: “feeling polyester.”

Excuse me?

Yep. That’s what it said. “100% silk feeling polyester.”

In other words, my scarf is 100% polyester but by golly, it feels like 100% silk.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

Though I also felt a little cheated. Up until seconds prior to reading the tag, I hadn’t given any thought to what it was made of. In fact, given the price of it — only $5.99 — I would certainly not have thought it was 100% silk. But then I saw the tag, claiming it to be 100% silk, and suddenly its value rose in my mind only to immediately plummet after finding out that it just feels like silk and that it is, in fact, manmade.

Silk feeling polyester.


I suppose I could go in a lot of directions with this now. I could discuss marketing. I could discuss lying. But what it really made me think about was real vs. fake.

When I was a child, I was allergic to chocolate. In an attempt to appease my desire for the allergy-producing food, my mom sometimes bought me candy bars made with carob instead of chocolate. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of eating carob, but allow me to assure you that it is a dubious pleasure indeed. It’s gross. Or at least that’s how I remember it. It was fake chocolate. No fooling anyone.

We are surrounded by fake products all the time, be it leather, pearls, rugs, Twitter handles, or designer purses. Sometimes we are fooled by the ersatz merchandise, and sometimes we are not. What we need to be is savvy. Shrewd. Wise enough to not fall for their tricks.

Wise enough to recognize truth from lies. To know God’s reality and not be taken in by the false things which are said about him every day.

Yes, the Word of God can be hard to swallow sometimes. But it’s far better than falling for 100% feel-good polyester doctrine.

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 NIV