Remember WWJD? The parodies of it were memorable that’s for sure. Like most fads, especially Christian ones, the whole thing turned sort of nauseating really quickly, like fish left out too long.
But my gripe wasn’t the idea, which came from the rediscovery of a sort-of archaic book that really was pretty inspirational back in the day. The notion was this: If you’re not sure what to do in a given situation, ask yourself what would Jesus do. That makes sense.
The only problem is most of the people wearing fancy bracelets and spouting WWJD didn’t seem to actually know Jesus all that well, at least judging from their behavior.
Read through the New Testament about Jesus. He was truly only pissed off at one group of people: The religious leaders. He loved the sinners. He thought the cast-offs were fun and interesting and chose to hang out with them. He liked to sit and talk with hookers. He didn’t like the wealthy and elite, and they didn’t like him much either, but still he treated them with compassion. But he had some harsh, harsh words for the religious leaders of the day. Brood of vipers I think he called them.
So ask yourself this. If Jesus were here today, who would he call a brood of vipers? The Fundamentalist Brigade or the Rainbow Coalition? He’d love my gay friends, I know that. WWJD with the gays and addicts and felons and rebels of today? We already know because he did it. He’d love them.
And what would he do if he walked into a Mega Church on Sunday morning? We already know because he did it. Tables would be a flying.
For far too long Jesus has been held hostage by the fundamentalists. They’ve changed his brand. They’ve Americanized it and cleaned it up and made it stand for white, rich, bigoted, elitist and hateful. So a lot of people have learned to despise the Jesus brand without ever knowing about Jesus the man.
More of us who have tried to get know him need to free him from captivity. We need to let people know the powerful political voice of conservative Christians doesn’t speak exclusively for the Jesus we read about in the Bible. They may contribute a verse, but they don’t get to sing the whole song.
I mulled this today as I realize that balance is critical to my hoof-to-head approach to healthy living. I have to spend as much time on my soul as I do on my body and mind. I have to nurture a proper spiritual condition as much as I consider what I eat, or won’t eat. The more I do this, I more I feel the weight of Jesus’ hostage situation and my long years of silence about it.
Jesus is not a brand. And nobody gets the corner on his market, not unless they want a table flying in their face and whip cracking above their head.
Think about that next time you wonder WWJD.