Author: The Rev. Dr. David L. Bridges, Priest
June 04, 2020

I remember when the catch phrase, WWJD, became popular. It was a great concept; to ask yourself how to act or react based on what you believe Jesus would do. But does that mean we actually did it?

My good friend, Carl Dunlap, asked me if we could use the acronym DWJWD = “Do What Jesus Would Do.” In addition to asking what Jesus would do, we should naturally follow-through and do it! So, how can we do what Jesus would do in our nation today?

At the time of this writing our Nation is in turmoil over the COVID-19 pandemic and the wrongful death of individuals while under the control of police. There have been peaceful protests disrupted by what appears to be intentional violence spawned by outside groups.

Our President has promised National Guard and U.S. Military responses to continued violence. When I saw video of police officers shot and being beaten by civilians, I was in shock. Now we are faced with the possibility that we could experience martial law.

Many things in this Country need to change. But, effective, long-lasting change is not brought about by violence against fellow citizens. I believe in peaceful protest. I do not endorse violence in any form. The Episcopal Church believes in and upholds the dignity of every human being. We believe that all of humanity is one family under Jesus Christ.

When I was in grade school, we learned about writing letters to our governmental leaders. In years past it has worked for me. I have written letters to governors, congressional leaders, and presidents. In most cases my letters were acknowledged, and in a few cases I was pleased to experience positive change.

Conversely, when I have been confrontational with people in power, I was not heard, but rejected. No one reacts well to violence. Jesus never advocated violence. To the contrary, it was Jesus that told us to “turn the other cheek”, and “forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

Can we Do What Jesus Would Do? Can we turn down the volume of the violence and let peaceful discussion prevail? Can we petition our governmental leaders for healthy change and set the disruption aside? Another good friend of mine, Ken Dunham, is a lobbyist. When people complain to him about the government, he asks them, “Did you vote?” If they say “no” he says, “Shame on you.”

“Have you written your congressional representatives?” If the answer is “no” he might ask, “Do you know who your congressional representatives are?” If the answer is “no” he replies, “Shame on you.” So many of us complain about the way things are, but many did not vote and don’t know who their leaders are.
The fastest, easiest, and safest way to change government is to write letters, make phone calls, and exercise your rights at the ballot box. Violence breeds more violence and slows-down the process of healthy change. DWJWD.

Blessings and Peace to You All,
Fr. David+


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