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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

22 June 2016: Jon Piper, Hope Church

What Would Jesus Do?

At the time of writing, the world is struggling with another set of worrying and traumatic news events. As well as the deeply troubling behaviour of football fans in France, the ongoing, hateful civil war in Syria, where so many people are being killed daily, the harrowing accounts from the homophobic shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando are still ringing in the ears of those watching the news. These things are still difficult to think and write about, but it would be difficult to write about anything else at the moment.

I am struck by the fact that each of these events have involved, as victims, perpetrators or both, groups of people with whom the church has struggled to communicate. Young men who have learned to seek violent encounters as part of their display of masculinity, for whom the gospel has not been seen as culturally relevant. Muslim militants and civilians, for whom the distance between faiths has often been too large a gap for us to speak across. Members of LGBT communities who have, so often, been rejected and kept at a distance from the gospel because of their sexuality or gender identities.

When I was in my teens, a marketing strategy took the church by storm when young people started to wear ‘WWJD’ wristbands. This was intended to prompt the questioner to ask the question ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ in various situations in their daily life. The idea seemed problematic to some extent, but I do wonder whether the question could still have a positive effect on the life of the church.

Jesus’ closest friends were people who we would probably disapprove of, disagree with or even dislike. He trusted fools who made mistakes. I wonder if it’s time for the church to stop waiting for people to be right before we communicate with them.

Dad's Club, a pre-school play group run by Dads for Dads and their children meets this Saturday at Winton House, from 10:00 am to 11:30 am

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