Thursday, September 9, 2010

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Is asking yourself the question, “what would Jesus do” appropriate?


Living Spiritual Rhythms For Today


Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

Lets take 2 Cor 5,17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new..

We are somehow restored to the old state right after the creation or an even better one. I see this linked to Rom 8,29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

We should be like Jesus. So why not think about, what he would do.

One may object, that this is a conformation that is outside our control.

Some other "evidence":

Phil 4,8-9 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Phil 1,9-11 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

2.Cor 5,9-10 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Eph 5,10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

I think it is a mixture of self control and divine conformation.

See also Rom 12,1-2:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

God bless,

Greg said...

Thanks. These are good verses, but I'm not sure that they mean that I should ask myself "what would Jesus do?" in many circumstances and situations. True, we are in some sense already like him, and our destiny is that we will someday be transformed into his image, but would Jesus get married; have children, have a job, go to church, or to a football match?

Sisyphos said...


When asking this question one must acknowledge the seperation which is between Jesus and ourselves.The sepeation has different dimensions such as temporal, cultural, geographical and scientific. If one is not aware of this seperation one might translate specific actions or demands of Jesus inappropiately in nowadays life and acto according to them. But on the other side the gospels present a Jesus whose actions and demands are having an universal character which is the captivating dimension of his life.
I do not want to downplay the possible positive effect such a question can have because it can also be challenge and a calling-out in situations in which otherwise one might act irresponsible and unloving.
But the question being asked in that simple way has some dangers.
In difficult instants in life one might too easily translate Jesus' life and actions into one's life and imitate it too literally not considering the separation one's circumstances has.
An awareness of the seperation and an never ending contemplative quest for the universal horizon of Jesus' mission has to go hand in hand with trying to actualize him immediately in difficult moments in life.

Greg said...

Thanks. I think you've made a pretty balanced and interesting comment.

I'd like to know more about the positive effect of the question. And was Jesus ever irresponsible or unloving?

Susan Barnes said...

I personally don't like the question "what would Jesus do?" I find it too simplistic.

When I first starting reading the NT Jesus was always surprising me so I don't think it is easy to know what Jesus would do. Rather I think we should be asking Jesus what he wants us to do in a given situation. Sometimes he will give us a different answer to the same question like he did with David (2 Samuel 5:17-25).

Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

Greg, do you think, that the transformation will occur at some point in the future all of a sudden / at once? Or will this start while we live on earth?

Jesus had a special calling and he finished it (Joh 17,4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.). We surely have nothing to add to this! So this might be one of Sisyphos' separations. Also his divine nature... (Joh 1,18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.)

But Jesus in all things did God's will. This was his urge, this was, what he wanted. (Joh 4,34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.). This it what I really understand as the application or the reward of this question.

I do not need to be like Jesus to please God. But I should try to please God. (Not for salvation...)

So maybe lets rephrase the simplistic phrase to "What would please God?"/"What is God's will?"

Finally, it does not matter, whether we go to a football match or not, but why we do it! So I believe, Jesus would have done it, if he would have been able to achieve the will of the father through it... The question must not ask us, whether we do something or not, but why.

Greg said...

Thanks. That's an interesting take on the question. I think I find it too simplistic as well.

If we are instead to ask Jesus what he wants us to do, how would we know when he tells us?

Greg said...

I think the transformation is both - and not an either - or.

Interesting that Jesus in John 4 does not seem to pass on doing the Father's will and completing his work to the disciples, but stresses in the context of the Samaritan woman (traditional enemies of the Jews) that the harvest is ripe and that they should do some harvesting. Of course, this is another way of saying to do something of God's will, but Jesus doesn't say "here's what I do, now you do the same."

Agreed, we should seek to please God (not for salvation).

I also agree that the "why" is important in doing what we do and wouldn't want to leave that aside.

Sisyphos said...


Well you are asking me tough questions.
Let us start with the positive effects. I guess this question possibly reminds people to act in a loving way and remodel the image of Christ. Although there are problems and dangers I think that in general this attempt to go against oneself's nature can be transforming.
Regarding Jesus: I guess it depends on your assumption. I guess many Christians believe that he was perfect. It is hard to figure out whether he ever was irresponsible or unloving. It wouldnt fit to the innocent Jesus hanging on the cross as it is often ortrayed in Christianity.
For me right now that question is not that important. Jesus is a major religious and cultural figure in mankind. You cant get around him. He influenced our society. What actually happened 2000 years ago is hard to figure out. The historical Jesus is buried under a mass of history. A myriad of traditions influence the reading and interpretation of Jesus.
Talking about Jesus feels almost meaningless. So many struggles and fights for the right interpretation, so many different people claiming to be right.
He is hidden behind the two opponent traditions of either deifying him or humanising him.
He is so distant, he is hidden: the traditions, the theologies, the fight for power, the scepticism, the other major figures like Buddha etc.
I guess Jesus can mean to us anything - Gandhi or Terry Jones
But still: he is fascinating, out-staning but again also fleeing, escaping, behind a fog.

Susan Barnes said...

how would we know when he tells us?

"My sheep listen to my voice" - through the Scriptures, through prayer, through the community of saints, through inner conviction.

harry coe maynard said...

God knows I've done things I know He wouldn't have done.

Many people ask that question for Sociological purposes, and from many who don't beleive He was the Son of God.

Judas wanted to sell the oil and give to the poor. Don't go to the Cross just do good. Jesus said, "Me you have not always". He went to the Cross and we have Him always.


Greg said...

Harry coe,
Thanks. An excellent way of putting it. If I read you accurately. Jesus is with us and that's what should be focused on. When it is, we will be concerned about what we do.