The phrase "What would Jesus do?" (often abbreviated to WWJD) became popular in the United States in the 1890s and again in 1990s as a personal motto for thousands of Christians who used the phrase as a reminder of their belief that Jesus is the example to be followed in daily life, and to act in a manner of which Jesus would approve. The initialism WWJD is sometimes used by Christians to mean "Walk with Jesus daily".
In this popular novel (it had been translated into 21 languages by 1935), Rev. Henry Maxwell encounters a homeless man who challenges him to take seriously the imitation of Christ. The homeless man has difficulty understanding why, in his view, so many Christians ignore the poor:
This leads to many of the novel's characters asking, "What would Jesus do?" when faced with decisions of some importance. This has the effect of making the characters embrace more seriously Christianity and to focus on what they see as its core—the life of Christ.
In the novel men and women respond in different ways: in contrast to the men who vow never to act without asking what Jesus would do, the women's task is self sacrificial, for example a singer gives up her voice, both in the sense of yielding her singing to the cause and in the sense of silencing the individual expression of her personality.
In 2005, Garry Wills wrote "What Jesus Meant," in which he examined "What Would Jesus Really Do" (also a book review in Esquire Magazine). The expression has become a snowclone, often for humorous effect. For example, What Would Jesus Buy?, or What Would Brian Boitano Do?.
A Trio of Trios Playing Great Music - a Perfect Weekend; the Ever-Expanding Cheltenham International Jazz Festival Has Just Finished. Peter Bacon and Martin Longley (below, Right) Choose Their Highlights
May 09, 2001; Byline: Peter Bacon A trio of trios formed my highlights of Cheltenham this year. On Saturday afternoon an encouragingly full...