What would Jesus do?


What would Jesus do?

The phrase "What would Jesus do?" (often abbreviated to WWJD) became popular in the United States in the 1890s and again in 1990s as a personal motto for thousands of Christians who used the phrase as a reminder of their belief that Jesus is the example to be followed in daily life, and to act in a manner of which Jesus would approve. The initialism "WWJD" is sometimes used by Christians to mean "Walk with Jesus daily".

History

Though variations of this phrase have been used by Christians for centuries as a form of "imitatio dei", the imitation of God, it gained much greater currency following Charles Sheldon's 1896 book, "In His Steps". Sheldon's novel grew out of a series of sermons he delivered in his Congregationalist church in Topeka, Kansas. Unlike the previous nuances mentioned above, Sheldon's theology was shaped by a commitment to Christian Socialism. The ethos of Sheldon's approach to the Christian life was expressed in this phrase "What Would Jesus Do", with Jesus being a moral example rather than a Saviour figure. Sheldon's ideas coalesced with those that formed into the Social Gospel espoused by Walter Rauschenbusch. Indeed Rauschenbusch acknowledged that his Social Gospel owed its inspiration directly to Sheldon's novel, and Sheldon himself identified his own theology with the Social Gospel.

In this popular novel (it had been translated into 21 languages by 1935), Rev. Henry Maxwell encounters a homeless man who challenges him to take seriously the imitation of Christ. The homeless man has difficulty understanding why, in his view, so many Christians ignore the poor:

:"I heard some people singing at a church prayer meeting the other night,::'All for Jesus, all for Jesus,::All my being's ransomed powers,::All my thoughts, and all my doings,::All my days, and all my hours.' :"and 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. I suppose I don't understand. But what would Jesus do? Is that what you mean by following His steps? 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."

This leads to many of the novel's characters asking, "What would Jesus do?" when faced with decisions of some importance. This has the effect of making the characters embrace more seriously Christianity and to focus on what they see as its core—the life of Christ.

In the novel men and women respond in different ways: in contrast to the men who vow never to act without asking what Jesus would do, the women's task is self sacrificial, for example a singer gives up her voice, both in the sense of yielding her singing to the cause and in the sense of silencing the individual expression of her personality. [I sing for I cannot be silent: the Feminiztion of American Hymnody, 1870-1920, June Hadden Hobbs, p66]

In 2005, Garry Wills wrote "What Jesus Meant," in which he examined "What Would Jesus Really Do" (also a book review in Esquire Magazine). The expression has become a snowclone, often for humorous effect. For example, What Would Jesus Buy?, or What Would Brian Boitano Do?.

ee also

*Ministry of Jesus
*Sermon on the Mount
*The Law of Christ
*Choose the right

External links

*" [http://www.ssnet.org/bsc/ihs/ihs.html In His Steps] "
* Cave, Damien, " [http://archive.salon.com/business/feature/2000/10/25/wwjd/print.html What would Jesus do -- about copyright] ?" (Christian merchandise intellectual property violations.)
* Snider, Brian, " [http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/wwjd.htm What would Jesus do] ?"
* [http://store01.prostores.com/servlet/ktwuwebstore/Detail?no=129 KTWU Production] Beyond Theology What Would Jesus Do? - A documentary by KTWU Public TV, Topeka, KS
* [http://www.cjonline.com/indepth/sheldon Profile of Sheldon] from the Congregational Church, Topeka, Kansas

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • What would Jesus do? — W.W.J.D. Armband W.W.J.D. steht für What would Jesus do (deutsch: „Was würde Jesus tun?“), die Abkürzung für einen Slogan, der vorwiegend auf Armbändchen zu finden ist. Hinter dem Slogan steht die Idee, durch solche Armbändchen erinnert zu werden …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • What would Jesus do? — Un bracelet WWJD What would Jesus do? (soit Que ferait Jésus? en anglais), qu on retrouve souvent abrégé sous la forme WWJD est une formule qui a trouvé une certaine popularité aux États Unis dans les années 1990 comme mot d ordre chez les… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • What Would Jesus Buy? — Infobox Film name = What Would Jesus Buy? image size = caption = Theatrical release poster director = Rob VanAlkemade producer = writer = narrator = starring = music = cinematography = editing = distributor = Warrior Poets released = 2007 runtime …   Wikipedia

  • What Would Brian Boitano Do? — Альбом South Park: Bigger, Longer Uncut Дата выпуска 15 июня 1999 Дата записи 1999 …   Википедия

  • What Would Brian Boitano Do? — is a song from the film written by DVDA (Trey Parker and Matt Stone s band) in which figure skater Brian Boitano is treated as a role model for all situations (which become increasingly ludicrous in the lyrics), in parody of the saying What Would …   Wikipedia

  • What Would Brian Boitano Do? Pt. II — What Would Brian Boitano Do? (русск. Что бы сделал Брайан Бойтано?)  песня из фильма «Саут Парк: большой, длинный и необрезанный», вышедшая на саундтрек к нему. В ней фигурист Брайан Бойтано предстаёт в виде супергероя, находящего выход из… …   Википедия

  • What Would Brian Boitano Do — What Would Brian Boitano Do? (русск. Что бы сделал Брайан Бойтано?)  песня из фильма «Саут Парк: большой, длинный и необрезанный», вышедшая на саундтрек к нему. В ней фигурист Брайан Бойтано предстаёт в виде супергероя, находящего выход из… …   Википедия

  • What Would Brian Boitano Do? Part II — What Would Brian Boitano Do? (русск. Что бы сделал Брайан Бойтано?)  песня из фильма «Саут Парк: большой, длинный и необрезанный», вышедшая на саундтрек к нему. В ней фигурист Брайан Бойтано предстаёт в виде супергероя, находящего выход из… …   Википедия

  • What would Reagan do? — The phrase What would Reagan do? (often abbreviated to WWRD) has become popular in the United States in the 2000s as a personal motto for Conservative Republicans who use the phrase to demonstrate the belief that Ronald Reagan is a model example… …   Wikipedia

  • Jesus Christ — 1. Jesus (def. 1). 2. Jesus (def. 5). * * * Introduction also called  Jesus of Galilee  or  Jesus of Nazareth   born c. 6–4 BC, Bethlehem died c. AD 30, Jerusalem  founder of Christianity, one of the world s largest religions, and the incarnation …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.