Wednesday, July 26, 2006

mia : wwjd

I've been thinking about how the whole WWJD thing peaked and tanked and how maybe that has to do with overexposure and me-tooism. Or maybe it went away as America's Evangelicals embraced their hellbent intention to endorse a political course they and everyone else could see falls well outside what Jesus would do. Sometimes it's just easier to not ask the question isn't it.

Lately it occurs to me that what bothered me about the co-opting of Charles M. Sheldon's idea was how little it really mattered what Jesus would do since it turns out no one ever intended to take it literally, right? Because how would we know? How would we know what Jesus would do? Certainly not what Sheldon's characters came up with in 1896. Those people were practically socialists by the time the book ended. The kind of people who believe the parts of the Bible that even a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King could embrace. Wrongheaded love-your-enemies stuff that cooler minds have determined is totally impractical in these modern times which, bless his heart, Jesus could not possibly have foreseen. In fact, there is scholarly evidence that, were he alive today, Jesus would sit in with the kill-your-enemy-and-degrade-his-infrastructure-to-the-point-that-a-cease-fire-is-unnecessary crowd. You can look that up. It's written between the lines where so much of the more sophisticated Evangelical theology lies. Complex times demand flexible thinking but you didn't hear that from me.

Just to finish the thought, and I'm a little embarrassed about this, I've begun to suspect that the answer to the WWJD conundrum may be less obvious than we hoped, inasmuch as he didn't leave much of a list and nobody cares much for the list he did leave. Maybe – and I'm just thinking out loud here – maybe the only way to figure out what Jesus would do is learning to trust the father – his father, I mean – the way he – Jesus, I mean – trusted the father.

I admit this may not be widely accepted as it creates an awful lot of work and leaves room for what may prove to be unacceptably high risk.

Parading the Ten Commandments on the back of a flatbed may turn out to be a more popular gesture – I'm ready to concede this – though I for one would like to lose the Roman numerals which are decidedly old school and more than a little, you know, European.

Of course, if the alternative is Arabic numerals we know that's not going to fly so . . . Sorry I brought it up.

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