From the Rig Veda dated two thousand years before the birth of Christ: “From darkness lead me to light, from the unreal lead me to the real, from death lead me to immortality.”
“In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?” is a best-selling religious fiction novel written by Charles Monroe Sheldon. First published in 1896, this book has sold more than 50,000,000 copies, and ranks as one of the best-selling books of all time.
In the 1980s this book and it’s title’s question once again became nationally ubiquitous. It was made so by the emerging Evangelical Christian movement and it had a real and powerful effect on anyone seeing this question, mainly on car bumper stickers and on jewelry.
Today, this once fashionable question has receded again into the background and I started asking myself why.
After thinking about this and observing what is happening with today’s Christian Churches, I have concluded this question is now too threatening for many Christians, who have become the strong supporters of our current Leadership.
Asking the question “What Would Jesus Do?” will automatically create cognitive dissonance in many of today’s situations. Here are some sample questions:
If Jesus were to walk up to the gates of one of the “camps” on the Texas border where we detain our neighbors who are seeking safety for their families, what would He do? Would He repeat the mantras of our National Leadership about how all Mexicans are whores, criminals, killers and drug traffickers and must be feared, or would He exhort us to welcome the strangers in our midst, reminding us that what we do to the least of these, our brothers and sisters, we do directly to Him.
What would Jesus do when He saw infant children being snatched from their parents in a system designed to prevent the parents from ever finding their children again? That same system results in a lively trade in children for adoption and in many cases, for sex trafficking. Is it possible that Jesus might remember what he said 2000 years ago about these little children: “Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”
Here Jesus says that His Kingdom can be found in the trusting eyes of a little child. And what do the politically aligned Christians who support our Leadership have to say when they are asked to describe what Jesus would do in that case?
What would Jesus do when a three-year-old child is forced to stand before a judge in a court where his language is not spoken, his parent’s cannot be found and he is accused of being an enemy of this country?
The reason this simple question is no longer widely used among the politically oriented Evangelicals is simple: It is too judgmental. It would result in these same Christians having to change their minds and hearts and fix this problem and the politics of fear be damned.
What would Jesus say if he met you walking into a church that has sold out to the national politics of fear?
Three hundred years ago the German Philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz gave us a clue when he stated: “What a man says about the Universe oft times tells more about the man that about the Universe.”