Saturday, December 1, 2007

WWJD Revisited

From Brian McClaren's book, Everything Must Change, I'd like to share a helpful quote from John Meachum, a Newsweek writer who is reviewing Garry Wills's book, What Jesus Meant.

[The popular Christian question “What would Jesus do?” is not an especially useful one, Wills notes, for Jesus did many things we would not, and should not, do. Should Christian believers today, Wills asks, “like Jesus, forbid a man from attending his own father’s funeral…or tell others to hate their parents?...Are they justified in telling others, “I come not imposing peace, I impose not peace but the sword”…? Or “I am come to throw fire on the earth…?” Such moments in the Gospels, Wills writes, “were acts meant to show that he is not just like us, that he has higher rights and powers…[as] a divine mystery walking among men.]

Thoughts?

4 comments:

Floyd Edwards said...

Perhaps Gary Wills needs to do a bit more studying on Bible interpretation and/or language analysis.

David B. Johnson said...

Interestingly, McLaren is known by many to be what we (David and Floyd) have termed a "Red Letter Christian." I think what WIlls is getting at, or at least McLaren, is that WWJD is a more complex question than the popular bracelets indicate. Since I am not the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, or a first-century Jew for that matter, then applying the WWJD ethic to my life becomes a bit difficult. Wills want Christians to read the Gospels in their first century Jewish context and interpret them accordingly before they are applied Also, Wills is reacting against many right-wingers for arguing that Jesus would support their political agenda. To this notion, Wills offers a forceful, "No."

By the way, I think you might like McLaren's book(s), Every Thing Must Change or the Secret Message of Jesus. I have enjoyed them both.

Pete Moss said...

You mean what would Jesus SAY - your examples are all words.

As to what would Jesus DO, it's still a good question. It reminds us all that if we could, it would be a good idea to walk on water instead of drowing or maybe to save others and to turn water into wine to not embarrass the hosts of a wedding.

Tucker said...

Do you mean to tell me that I can't take everything Jesus said literally?