the jesus i know, or the one i think i know.

over the past year or so i have been in process of trying to define the jesus i know. unlike many i know in the church i am not the kind of guy who will say "i got it right, and you got it wrong." at best, i can say "i think i got it right." in my mind, anything more makes me more important then i think i am and places all that i know on me; i define jesus as i desire if i am the center of that view. in that, there is one thing that has turned my stomach more times then i can think about - and that is the "wwjd" thing. it just burns me every time i think about it, and the way many people use it as if it is the "holy trump card" in the game of faith. let's be honest, it has zero meaning. i could care less what jesus would do in any given situation, because in reality the people who shout it the loudest never do what i think jesus would do anyway. so, my question is not "wwjd" [what would jesus do], it's "wwyd" [what would a YOU do?]

you see, telling me that "this is what jesus would do if he was alive today" is meaningless. sure it sells book binders, pencils, note pads and the occasional bumper sticker, but other then that what has it done to change the world? i know of nothing that has changed because we spent millions of "jesus junk" called "wwjd." given that, the first thing i would have to say about the jesus i know is that it does not matter what he would do, but what he did to change my life and caused me to act in a different and new way.

i could care less about the car he drives, the food he eat, the cloths he wore, the money he had [or didn't], i could care less about his political views or who he would or would not vote for; i place zero value on how he would have recycled paper or plastic and he would have insisted we not pollute the waters. while all of these are good things, they have nothing to do with how my life is, was and will be changed by knowing jesus. i hope my theology is not based on any catchy and quick slogan we can develop - i hope and i pray that my theology is based on how i see christ and how christ changes my life and makes me move in the process. how i am moved in my faith is not by cute slogans and catchy marketing which makes others millions while others starve. the jesus i know is not a slogan, or a bumper sticker - the jesus i know changes lives and helps people move in faith as they strive to see how to live a christian life in the 21c.

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nobleissoblige said...

man i stumbled across this site and from this latest posting i gotta say, this is wack.
so you are going to define jesus? what's that mean??
the only thing i see so far is that you're defining what you don't like about some abbreviation that marketers took too far. who cares. anybody can be against lots of stuff. the fact that your blood boilz because of some abbreviation that's been out of use for ten years isn't a pebble in the ocean toward saying anything forward about jesus. so you don't want to do what jesus would do. fine. tear down how other people have interacted with jesus and tried to comes to terms with him (by asking sheldon's question) and put forth something better. who is jesus to you?

john o'keefe said...

thank you - can i have another :)

notice, i never said i was going to define jesus, i only say "the jesus i know, or at least the one i think i know"

is it better to ask a follower "what would jesus do?" or "what would you do?" please reread the post and notice i am not "against" something, as much as i am "for" doing it different - i don't know, maybe we should live the faith? just my view.

nobleissoblige said...

"over the past year or so i have been in process of trying to define the jesus i know."
sounds like you said you were going to define jesus (albeit, your version), so what does it mean to define jesus?

and btw i would think it better to ask: "What would jesus have you do?"

Craig said...

I think that he's writing about the questions of who is jesus? and how do we know him?
He's using 'wwjd' as an antithesis of his position and to show the gap that often exists between theoretical beliefs and practiced beliefs.
I think that there are also implied further divisions of the who is jesus question, ie
who is jesus as a marketing product?
who is jesus in sunday school and church?
who is jesus within historical documentation?
who is the jesus that people 'know'?

I don't think he wants to define jesus in the sense of creating his own jesus but rather in the sense of defining what is there and what has a positive significance to his experience.

Was my analysis close to what you where trying to communicate, John, or have I read too much in to it?

john o'keefe said...


on the money bro - thanks :)

Joy said...

symantics, wrangling with words... etc... etc... etc...

John is gracious enough NOT to delete your less than gracious comments.

Personally, I think Sheldon would roll over in his grave if he knew he had been marketed!

John, you are still the punk monkey! I am getting brave enough to ask my own questions... I actually did ask questions yesterday during our fellowship with some local believers... (notice I didn't say 'at church'!)

Today, right on time, God led me to Jeremiah 1:1 - 2:13. And, John, please let me PERSONALLY thank you for introduction me to The Message! I love it!!

Joy said...

I am not an idiot... I meant, thank you for introducing me to The Message!

Here is the link to this passage in Jeremiah!


john o'keefe said...


thanks for all that - and i would never think you an idiot :) i am glad you like the message - i have found it to be the best version i have read in a very long time :)

john o'keefe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Craig said...

I see how wwjd could be seen by some to be in poor taste. What I don't get is how 'make poverty history' is any better...
I mean, rich people joining together to sing songs and this is going to help these distant, innocent "poor" people...
(what is with our cultures obsesion with helping and loving the innocent?)

I'm more excited about the recent 'make affluence history' campaign....

but really... I work downtown at a homeless shelter, and I haven't seen one person wearing anything 'make poverty history'.... I guess that there is no need to get the local poor excited about an anti-poverty campaign... let's do something less radical and more media oriented so that we can make the rich feel good instead....

john o'keefe said...


well bor, i think the way is not a campaign at all - websites, tee-shirts, coffee mugs, buttons, and more with slogans shouting "end the poor" seems a bit off to me - because the people doing it are getting rich in the process :)

it's like local food stores asking you to donate food to the hungry during the holidays - first, you buy the food from them, then you donate it in a box they have and then they tell the world how much "they" collected to feed the hungry - but they forget to mention how much they made in the process - so, they make the money and get the write-off, talk about a scam :)

but that's my bug :) you have a good point :)