National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

I had to smile when I saw the Perishable Pundit headline, "When confronted with the United/PMA merger, what would Jesus do?"

Most of the time we expect the Pundit to talk about "WWJD" in the context of "What would Jim do?" In this case, the Pundit commented on an e-mail  from Fred Williamson,  who closed his note to the Pundit with a reference to the New Testament verse John 16:33.

Going so far as to skillfully dissect the Greek and Hebrew meaning of the passage ("These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world, ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world"), Prevor concludes:

The verse that Fred sends us is Jesus talking to his disciples and advising them that because of his actions, his willingness to go to the cross, the temporal concerns of the world will be transcended. In sending this verse, Fred holds out the hopeful thought that the tribulations of the trade are difficult but also temporary and the result inevitable. Of course, that raises a question of leadership.

The verse doesn’t preach that good outcomes are preordained; it explains that because of Jesus and his actions, the result has been determined. So the logical question in analogizing to the United/PMA merger talks is this: Who is to be our Jesus?

My own thought is this: in the context of the United/PMA merger talks, there is no Jesus.  For Christians, "practicing the presence of Christ" in the context of our everyday public and private lives may be a useful exercise to stretch our faith and obedience. However, there is no use looking for "our Jesus" at PMA or United. That's a careless proposition.

There is but one Jesus, the one who Christians believe was sent to to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to give liberty to the captives and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Unless I'm sorely mistaken, none of that has anything to do with the mission of United or PMA.