What would Jesus do? You used to see the phrase all the time. WWJD? It was all around us; on armbands, t-shirts and bumper stickers. Well, I’m a Christian. And to be quite honest, I would never pretend to know what Jesus would do in any given situation. The man was not predictable. That was kind of the way he rolled.
Bill Maher should not be confused with Jesus. He sometimes speaks for shock value. Except even his most distasteful points are often on behalf of the least of those brothers and sisters among us. Even if I totally disagree with something Bill said, and I often do, I still think there is value in him having said it. He challenges all the right people and institutions and dares them to be better than they are.
But, Bill Maher ridicules organized religion. I think that makes him brilliant and dumb at the same time. And weak of spirit.
The truly powerful is the woman who prays with her kid before going to bed, or prays to God two months after burying that same child. Faith brings power and peace. I get it that a guy like Maher wants to ridicule a pastor of some mega church who is getting a mega salary. What I don’t get are people who miss the simple truth of honest belief. All institutions can be subverted but among believers you will find the people who cherish the idea that life is sacred, that we are not alone, and that our actions matter. That’s because the people who adhere to a belief system have something to ground them and hold on to, be it God or Allah or someone else. And those who don’t have that anchor try to profess enlightenment, but they are truly like asteroids bouncing through the darkness of outer space.
WWJD? What would Jesus do? I have no idea. I never will, because the man appeared to be more than a little unpredictable.
WWBS? What will Bill say? Something equally random and probably a tad more distasteful.
Two men, one is the Son of Man, the other, a son of a gun. Both of them, though, push those around them out of their comfort zone. Their truths are different, challenging, even offensive for their times. One symbolizes hope through his own death. The other makes jokes. Each of them is good and right in his own way. They make us ask questions of ourselves.
What would Jesus do? I think he would enjoy a good long talk with a guy like Bill Maher. (Those disciples were a pretty dense lot.)
What will Charles do? I will continue to pray late at night, during that fleeting moment when I have some semblance of control and all the little people in my tiny flock are safe. I do not expect answers or solutions. I will pray out of hope. I will pray that my problems continue to be as insignificant as they are.
Until they aren’t.
And I’ll pray then, too.