Wednesday, May 23, 2007


At its essence, the WWJD movement is right on target. We are to be emulators of Christ, we should be doing what Jesus would do if he were in our shoes. It seems to me, however, that there is a big problem with this. Let's motivate it with a story.

Pretend that I am playing basketball in game 7 of the NBA finals. My team is down by 1 point with 15 seconds to go. The coach calls a timeout. In the huddle he says, "Stump. We're giving the ball to you. Win the game." But coach, I was cut from my high school basketball team. I don't know what to do out there. "No worries, Stump. When you get the ball, just pause for a moment and think to yourself, 'What would Michael Jordan do?' and then just do that."

Is it any less absurd to think that when I get into a "game situation" in life, I can just force myself to do what Jesus would do in this situation? In the first place, life usually comes at us too quickly, and we react rather than choose. And our reactions are a product of how we've trained ourselves. When someone cuts us off in traffic, do we ponder for a moment how Jesus would respond? No. We react. Certainly there are times that we have some time to decide on a course of action, but most of life is running on autopilot.

Second point: Back to the analogy: MJ doesn't really think about what he does on the court (OK, I'm sure I should be talking about Carmelo Anthony or someone more current, but I haven't followed NBA in quite some time and I don't know who's who anymore). It comes naturally because of the years of training.

It may be objected that the analogy doesn't hold very well because there is this thing called talent in basketball (I wasn't cut because of a lack of effort!). Is there an analogue to talent in the spiritual sense? That's a great question, and worthy of exploration in the future. For now I'd like to claim that it may in fact be easier for some people to do the right thing than for others (perhaps due to environmental factors), but certainly we are all given the raw talent we need to succeed in life when we are born of the Spirit.

So, moral to the story: be careful before putting the WWJD hitch cover on your truck. We can't expect to do what Jesus did unless we train like Jesus did.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Love this post...I agree that WWJD has become more of a fashion statement than a lifestyle...but your Jordan analogy puts a whole new spin on things...thanks for sharing it!