Home > Opinion > From the editor – February 2008

From the editor – February 2008

Much of this issue of Journey is devoted to examining the Gospels and what Jesus said, and might not have said.

All good and interesting stuff, but I kind of like the little craze that spread around the world last decade called “What Would Jesus Do” (WWJD).

Of course there is a very tacky side to it all with not just WWJD wrist bands but also fridge magnets, key rings, bumper stickers, Bible covers, numberplate frames, lapel pins and even pewter dog tags.

You can check it all out at your local Christian bookstore or on eBay and it all smacks a bit of me-and-Jesus-style market-place evangelicalism, but there is something attractive about a focus on Jesus as a person of “action” as well as a person of “words”.

Maybe the question would be better phrased, “What would Jesus want me to do?” but WWJD does help us zero in on the concept of imitating Christ.

It was in 1989 that youth pastor Dan Seaborn from Michigan in the USA was searching for a motivating and bonding name for his Wesleyan Church youth group and chose WWJD.

He had read the 1896 classic Christian novel In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon, where a homeless man interrupts a service of worship led by the Rev Henry Maxwell and challenges him to take seriously the imitation of Christ.
The man expressed difficulty understanding why so many Christians who enthusiastically sing hymns about Jesus ignore the poor.

“I kept wondering as I sat on the steps outside just what they meant by it. It seems to me there’s an awful lot of trouble in the world that somehow wouldn’t exist if all the people who sing such songs went and lived them out,” the man said.

“It seems to me sometimes as if the people in the big churches had good clothes and nice houses to live in, and money to spend for luxuries, and could go away on summer vacations and all that, while the people outside the churches, thousands of them, I mean, die in tenements, and walk the streets for jobs, and never have a piano or a picture in the house, and grow up in misery and drunkenness and sin.

“I suppose I don’t understand. But what would Jesus do?”

It’s a good question.