Affirmation Blankets
Religion & Liberty Online

Affirmation Blankets

Just when you thought America’s Rogerian culture of prostrated self-worship couldn’t get anymore nauseating….

‘I boldly ask for what I want!’

….Enter, the Affirmation Blanket.

I am almost reluctant to give these people more publicity, but this is way too funny to pass up. Some of my favorite lines are, “I am perfect just the way I am,” (found on the “Serenity” blanket), “Success and prosperity follow me everywhere I go” (from the “Joy” blanket — because we all know success and prosperity constitute the deepest joy a human being can experience), “I am a magnet for ease and grace” (from the “Peace” selection), and “My courage makes me brave” (on the “Courage” fleece).

In all seriousness, though, what is wrong with a society of individuals who require constant reassurance of their own adequacy…and from a piece of cloth, of all things? I can anticipate how someone might compare an affirmation blanket to the harmlessly cliche, folksy pieces of Christianese “inspiration art” that decorate religious homes — things like, “Life is fragile, handle with prayer” or the ubiquitous, “I’m not perfect, just forgiven.”

Tacky as these can be, at least they point to something outside the self. A dependence on Providence and an awareness of personal inadequacy used to characterize a healthy spiritual life, and a proper outlook on life in general. But with the rise of Oprah, Dr. Phil, and the Western self-esteem industry, it is now far more culturally acceptable to indulge in public self-admiration — however undeserved — than it is to acknowledge God in times of both weakness and success. (This reminds me of Jeremy Jerschina’s story, posted a week or two ago…)

Anthony Bradley

Anthony Bradley, Ph.D. is Professor of Religious Studies at The King's College in New York City and serves as a Research Fellow at the Acton Institute. Dr. Bradley lectures at colleges, universities, business organizations, conferences, and churches throughout the U.S. and abroad. His books include: Liberating Black Theology: The Bible and the Black Experience in America (2010),  Black and Tired: Essays on Race, Politics, Culture, and International Development (2011),  The Political Economy of Liberation: Thomas Sowell and James Cone of the Black Experience (2012), Keep Your Head Up: America's New Black Christian Leaders, Social Consciousness, and the Cosby Conversation (2012), Aliens in the Promised Land:  Why Minority Leadership Is Overlooked in White Christian Churches and Institutions (forthcoming, 2013). Dr. Bradley's writings on religious and cultural issues have been published in a variety of journals, including: the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Detroit News, and World Magazine. Dr. Bradley is called upon by members of the broadcast media for comment on current issues and has appeared C-SPAN, NPR, CNN/Headline News, and Fox News, among others. He studies and writes on issues of race in America, hip hop, youth culture, issues among African Americans, the American family, welfare, education, and modern slavery. From 2005-2009, Dr. Bradley was Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO where he also directed the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute.   Dr. Bradley holds Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from Clemson University, a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Westminster Theological Seminary.  Dr. Bradley also holds an M.A. in Ethics and Society at Fordham University.