Free ‘Francis’ Download: ‘What Would You Do’ by James Lee Stanley

by Sister Julie Ann on October 1, 2011

During this month of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi (Oct. 4), Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity collaborate with James Lee Stanley to offer you ‘What Would You Do’ as a free music download.

St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), an important Renaissance figure because of  his openness to the world of nature, humbly encouraged his followers near his death with these words: ‘I have done my part. May Christ teach you yours.’

Sensitive to the breath of the Spirit among us, what is ours to do today?

The song was inspired by the idea that protests songs only reach those who are already in agreement and only sung by those already in agreement.  I thought that I needed to write a song that the opposition could hear and perhaps effect what I consider to be positive change.

-James Lee Stanley

About James Lee Stanley

During St. Francis of Assisi's feastday month of October, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and James Lee Stanley collaborate to offer the free music download 'What Would You Do'.

Revered in the world of music as a true renaissance man in his own right,  James Lee Stanley, was born in Philadelphia, PA, and has been recording and performing since he was fourteen.  He has toured consistently since he returned from the USAF (as a Chinese linguist) and has performed up to  three hundred dates a year since then with such diverse acts as Bonnie Raitt, Robin Williams, Nicolette Larson and even Bill Cosby. Steven Wright chose James Lee as his opening act for three year in a row; a testaments to his professionalism and talent.

It is only a long lived singer-songwriter career that lets James Lee Stanley unite the unpredictable creative turns and the eclectic elements that make up his world. His remarkable ability as a vocalist and composer allow him to create truly great songs, each accompanied by his amazing guitar orchestrations. When you couple with his outrageously hilarious repartee, you get one of the most entertaining concerts on the circuit. He has been hailed as one of the few all time greats and undisputed geniuses among singer-songwriters. Fi Magazine listed his Freelance Human being as one of the finest recordings of 1998 and one of the Top 200 Recordings of all time. 


What would you do, were it’s all up to you,

Say the whole world’s in your hands?

Would there be change or would things be the same

Have we already done all we can?

Would your world be about power and greed?

Would the choices you make lose our souls?

Or would you stand for the freedom of man

And see every heart broken made whole?

All of our lives we’ve been told paradise

Resides in the heavens above.

What would you do if you suddenly knew  

It was here with the people you love?

Would you wage war? 

Would you breed hate more?

Would you use terror to rule?

Or would the water run sweet and the land at our feet 

Be peaceful and green, clean and pure?



38 thoughts on “Free ‘Francis’ Download: ‘What Would You Do’ by James Lee Stanley”

  1. During this “RESPECT FOR LIFE” month of October in which we, as Franciscans, especially find inspiration from St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi; this song is a poignant reminder that the way we live and embrace all life is a daily choice which does have consequences and/or brings forth good fruit!

    Thank you James Lee for inspiring us to choose wisely and for sharing your gifts with us!!!

  2. sannette says:

    “What would you do…?” Powerful words and catchy melody, both stay with me ofter listening to this beautiful and propelling song. What would I do? Whatever each one of us does, makes an impact on the world and all people, not only the ones we know, but those who will come after us. May each choice we make be one which would cause Jesus to smile.
    Thank you Mr. Stanley for your inspiring words and music.

  3. Smaryfrances says:

    “What would you do…?” is a very relevant song for all of us.  It brings to mind St. Francis and St. Clare and the work they did that was so counter cultural in their time.  We Franciscans  need to be that presence in our world today that is in so much need of caring for our neighbors and all of creation.  Thank you for your inspiring song, Mr. Stanley!

  4. Anne Marie Lom says:

    I sense that Mr. Stanley has a Franciscan understanding of the important of Incarnation in these lyrics:
     “All of our lives we've been told paradise
    Resides in the heavens above.
    What would you do if you suddenly knew  
    It was here with the people you love?”
    This world is a place for love and it is here and now that Jesus loves us and we love Him and each other.
    Very simple yet powerful lyrics!
    Thank you for choosing this song for the month of October.

  5. Geralynne56 says:

    Not only does this song speak to the messages Clare and Francis left us, but as stated below, these ideas were counter culture to their time, and sadly are counter culture to these times as well. It is my prayer that the masses wake up and follow the  wise examples the Creator has given us in the legacy of Francis…I am thankful for the message in this powerful song…Blessings James Lee

  6. srsharon says:

    James Lee Stanley, THANK YOU for sharing with us your artistic, creative, rendition of “What Would YOU Do?” The words are thought-provoking and EACH line can be a meditation in itself.  Your last line spoke to me on the Feast of St. Francis and that was: “Be peaceful and green, clean and pure.” St. Francis spoke or addressed all God's CREATION with an openness and RESPECT. May we all, each day, strive to FOLLOW and what a blessed world it could be.

  7. sisterjune says:

    I like the song and the music. It has a very catchy tune and is thought provoking.
    In my world – I would try to treat all people with kindness and that is a little piece of heaven.

  8. sisterdelores says:

    What a powerful song for reflection for us!   What would we do? 
      I can get so caught up in the little things of life.
      Francis and Clare had a great experience of Jesus.  Thanks for the gift of the song and encouragement
    to live deeper the mysteries of life.

  9. Ted Witham says:

    Thank you for this, Sisters, and James Lee Stanley! – Ted Witham (Anglican Franciscan Tertiary)

  10. A. says:

    Should we be greedy? I like the song.

  11. K. S. says:

    I can always change my ways starting today my actions in the past are just that-the past. Change even in little things can change/transition someone else's life.

  12. M. M. says:

    How can I change myself or the world for the better? I can make a change if I believe in myself.

  13. R. R. says:

    It makes me wonder what would I do if I saw my friends being agents of evil?

  14. G.M. says:

    I was convinced by a good influence to attend and join both habitat for humanity & CSC.

  15. K.V. says:

    I have the ability to do so many things with my life. My faith, education, family & friends have formed the me I believe I have meant to become, but there is more to find! I am never done growing or spreading God's joy in this lifetime!

  16. C.B. says:

    Heaven on Earth…a goal many strive to bring, but the joy we share with each other accomplishes this. Love is right next to us and so is our Lord.

  17. L.K. says:

    This song is a song to action, not to stop with what we've already accomplished, but strive to make the world change for the better.

  18. S.H. says:

    There are very subtle messages laid into music that we don't realize, but it helps us think and evaluate our lives.

  19. J.L. says:

    Music sends us messages that we may not normally notice in the world and gives us the chance to really think about certain ideas. It brings forth emotions in ways that other forms of communication cannot.

  20. L.R. says:

    I loved that the song asked questions, like it was asking me specifically…particularly the “have we already done all we can?” because we can always find something more to do to make the world a better place.

  21. L.R. says:

    Music helps me reflect on things, and it helps that often songs repeat phrases, which makes it easier for me to think & reflect at the same time as listening.

  22. Sister Elaine says:

    Thank you for sharing this very inspirational song. Its soothing melody brings me to really listen to the words…words that challenge me to examine the way I live. We each have a responsibility to be peacemakers on this earth. God's blessings upon you.

  23. Smaryb says:

    I like this song very much. It has so much meaning in todays world. As I listened, all I could think of is all the protests that are going
    on all over the world. People are tired and discouraged.
    Thank you for this song and message.
    Sister Mary Bodwin

  24. S.R. says:

    This song helps me remember to live each day for the Lord and do what pleases Him always.

  25. B.F. says:

    I love the message that the Kingdom of God is not in the clouds somewhere, but here in our presence. Thus, we should love and respect one another as if we are in the Kingdom of God.

  26. B.F. says:

    There is always more to do. No matter how many lives you impact or empower, there is always more “we can do”.

  27. M.P. says:

    …that I should be more forgiving to people I dislike.

  28. L. says:

    This song made me think about the fact that even though it often feels like we have no control over the world, we really do. Every little action that we take has a small impact on the world and many positive actions put together can make a huge difference. The key is to remember this when life gets tough.

  29. S.K. says:

    …what more could I do?

  30. N.S. says:

    When I hear the song, my fear is that I would not be strong enough to stand up for what I believe in if it was all up to me. But I know that if I trust in God, He will give me the strength to do His will. When I let God in my life, it is never all about me, but about God.

  31. H. says:

    One thought that came to my mind was “where's Christ?” I think we live in a world of doing instead of relying on Christ to use us. We need to be giving Christ access to our hearts and heading His words in order to see change in the world as the hymns says “all to Jesus I surrender. I surrender all”.

  32. A.L. says:

    God uses music to make me think and feel emotions. This song made me happy and hopeful.

  33. B. says:

    It shows me that even though I pretend like I do all I can, I don't. I can Always do better.

  34. V. says:

    The current wars in the world, the greediness of people; people dying from hunger in poor countries and the rich people trying to get richer; the lack of love in the whole world…that I can make change as small as it can be. The words in the song make me think more.

  35. K. says:

    How we humans are destroying the earth through war and waste. Despite the movement to 'go green', not enough people are changing their habits. I try to do things like recycle, but maybe I should search for other ways to help the earth too.

  36. E.S. says:

    This song talks about individuals in our society today…I think I can do more in my life.

  37. C. says:

    Music can be the greatest catalyst to understanding ourselves. Combining it with words for our Lord truly can bring us closer to Him.

  38. K.V. says:

    Music is my favorite way to pray and share my faith with others. A good song can turn my whole day around and is a great reminder of who is always with me & guiding me day in and day out.

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