Friday, December 25, 2009

WWJD

First of all, to all who celebrate it, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

A former Catholic Christian, now a confirmed heathen, I am nevertheless a supporter of those who truly follow the Christian path. I do sometimes get bemused and occasionally annoyed by those who want to make everybody Christian though.

So, when I first heard the question, 'What Would Jesus Do?', a few years ago, my reaction was neutral to slightly negative. It seemed like one more way of asserting Christian superiority.

But, for some reason, I started thinking about it the other day. What would Jesus do? I thought back to all the gospel stories that I could remember--and the more I thought about it, the more I started to think that the things that Jesus would do--at least according to what was in the bible--seemed pretty good to me.

I talked about this with my friend, Robert, who has been making a recent, in depth, study of the bible. He basically agreed with my thinking.

First of all, Jesus preached and practiced nonviolence. He would not have supported any war. It's all over Matthew: "Blessed are the peacemakers", "...if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also;" "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," and when asked how many time you should forgive those who sin against you, Jesus says, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven." Luke also: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you..."

The only violent act that I know of that Jesus did was when he drove the moneychangers out of the temple--it's in all four gospels: "...you shall not make my Father's house a house of trade." (John) "'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you have made it a den of robbers." (Luke) It all makes me think Christ wouldn't have been a big supporter of corporate capitalism either.

I also mentioned my theory of SECS (see my post of 12/22/08 and the posts following; also in my latest zine) when talking about this, and Robert pointed out that Jesus did not talk about Sustainability. I don't think it was a hot topic at the time.

On the other hand, Jesus was certainly into Simplicity: "You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor..." (Mark) "...do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. ... Sell your possessions, and give alms..." (Luke) "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." (Matthew)

As far as Equality goes, Jesus was there as well, not only hanging out with the rich and poor, but "...many tax collectors and sinners were sitting with Jesus and his disciples..." (Mark) Jesus talks with women, and a Samaritan woman at that, which amazes his disciples. (John) Robert pointed out to me that the shepherds that the angel appears to in Luke's nativity story were the lowest of the low in that society, what we would think of as gypsies, who slept out in the fields because they weren't allowed in town. Jesus seemed to treat everyone as an equal.

And finally, Jesus clearly believed in love, connection, and community. "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." (John) I've mentioned before that when I was in seventh grade a nun told us that the apostles were 'the first communists'. It's in the Acts of the Apostles: "Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common."

The more I think about it, the more I respect those that really ask themselves, what would Jesus do? It seems an appropriate question for Christmas.

(Incidentally, all quotes are from my copy of the Oxford Annotated Bible, Revised Standard Version.)


Quote of the Day: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another." - John 13:34

3 comments:

Anders Branderud said...

Hello!
You wrote: “But, for some reason, I started thinking about it the other day. What would Jesus do? I thought back to all the gospel stories that I could remember—”

A logical analysis (found here: www.netzarim.co.il) of the earliest manusscripts (including the logical implications of the research by Ben-Gurion Univ. Prof. of Linguistics Elisha Qimron of Dead Sea Scroll 4Q MMT) of “Matthew”, implies that Ribi Yehoshua was a Perushi (Pharisee). Ribi Yehoshua was called a Ribi and only the Perushim had Ribis.

This implies that he held up to all mitzwot (commandments) in Torah. This implies that he regarded it as a moral deed to defend one self in case of attacked (including a country’s right to defend itself).

Doing what Ribi Yehoshua would do, will lead oneself into Torah-observance, which is great indeed!

Since you seem to have some interest in religion,I also recommend the formal logical proof for the existence of a Creator and His purpose of humankind found in an article in my blog bloganders.blogspot.com

Regards, Anders Branderud

ViolentLove said...

Lovely post.

Shane Claiborne says it better than i ever could...

http://bit.ly/2Yy3ta

All the best to you and yours in 2010. You made my 2009 brighter, thank you.

MoonRaven said...

Thank you, that's a wonderful article. I would encourage all my readers to follow the link to Shane Claiborne's article published in, of all places, Esquire.

And all the best to you as well. You have certainly brightened my year.