The Praying Coach

A person that just joined my blog made this comment on one of his posts:  The Bible is my rulebook … I’m supposed to use it as the standard bearer for everything that I do in life.

prayingcoachAnd it seems this is also the philosophy of the four Supreme Court judges who ruled in favor of the high school coach who led a “voluntary” postgame prayer on the field.

It’s been suggested that had it only been the coach performing this act, the impact of the ruling might not have been so great. But as images have shown, it wasn’t long before some of the players joined him. A few at the beginning, but soon the entire team. Most likely, early on the joiners were actual believers, but the Law of FOBLO (Fear Of Being Left Out) soon came into play.

Another point that should not to be overlooked is the considerable amount of power coaches have over high school players. They are huge authority figures and can delve out many sought-after benefits … from playing time to access to scholarships. Plus, at its core, such an action tends to become coercive –and exclusionary– when performed by authority figures.

Mmuslim-g49a59d552_640oreover, what about religious minorities … or people who are not affiliated with any religion? Several parents wondered how receptive the high court would have been to the freedom arguments if the coach in question had been a Muslim, who placed a prayer rug at midfield and bowed in prayers to Allah.

Prayer_Closet.jpgWhat’s interesting about this ruling is how many believers (and especially certain SC Judges) seem to “forget” (ignore!) the scripture in Matthew: “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners that they may be seen by others. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret,

Final thought: A WHITE man gets the OK from the Supreme Court to pray after a high school football game, but a BLACK man is castigated for “taking a knee” during a Super Bowl football game. Prejudice anyone?

Thoughts and Prayers

thoughts-prayers

Once again this TOTALLY USELESS phrase is being used after the terrible tragedy that took place in Kentucky and surrounding states when a series of tornados touched down in early December. 

Naturally, not everyone can serve as a rescue worker to clear out debris and search for bodies, but there are other available avenues to help those in need.

For example:

  • A person could donate to an agency that would provide resources to help people rebuild.
  • Or perhaps contact a nearby home improvement store and ask them to donate needed supplies.
  • OR if you are someone with “resources” (as Jeff Bezos, who owned a warehouse in the affected area), you could contact local authorities and offer financial assistance to those hardest hit.

But “thoughts and prayers”? Give. Me. A. Break.

For one thing, I highly doubt the average individual who uses the phrase spends more than a couple of minutes actually thinking about the tragedy (Thoughts). And their “Prayers” (most likely uttered only one time) probably consist of little more than … “Dear God. Please be there for these unfortunate people. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” And then their “thoughts” are back to their own personal needs.

There’s a very old saying that the “Thoughts and Prayers” people would do well to remember …

ACTIONS Speak Louder Than WORDS (i.e., prayers)

Ask Him Again

kneelingprayer1

Today on Facebook, I saw a “share” that my granddaughter (a Christian) had posted for her “friends.” It was a composition entitled Ask Him Again.

As soon as I read the first few words …

I know, I know, you’ve already asked Him a million times, I see those eyes rolling. But today, ask Him a million and one. Yes. ask Him AGAIN.

My immediate reaction was … WHY?

WHY must a believer “ask Him again”?

And again.

And again.

Even up to a “million and one” times!

Is God too busy to take care of the request when you ask the first time? Or is he so occupied with running the universe that it’s necessary to shuffle you into a queue? Or maybe he had an earache that day and his hearing is off?

Of course, believers will have 1001 reasons why their god is making them “wait” when, in fact, they are simply trying to mitigate the silence that ALWAYS accompanies prayer requests.

I’m reprinting some excerpts from the post simply to illustrate the desperation that comes with “waiting” for the reply that will never come.

I know, I know, you’ve already asked Him a million times, I see those eyes rolling.
But today, ask Him a million and one.
Yes.
Ask Him AGAIN.
Ask Him again for that child to come home.
That marriage to be healed.
That mountain to move.

Ask Him again for that friendship to mend.
That work to begin.
That end-of-tunnel light to appear.

[…]

Ask Him again for what you need.
For what you want.
For joy in the sorrow.
Help in the struggle.
A sip of living-water in the heat of your schedule…
and the time to just sit at the well, amen?

Ask Him again.

[…]

Ask Him again for all that seems lost and all that seems nowhere even near the city of possible…
and ask Him believing He can.

Yes.

Ask Him again.

While persistence may be a virtue, it’s important to keep the following in mind:  

[P]ersistence should not be mixed up with perseveration, which is following the same method again and again, even if the method clearly doesn’t work for you. It is important to keep trying, but it is equally important to not do this “blindly” and in a “rote/mechanical” manner; that will only ensure a pattern of failure. (insbright.com)

“Praying Really Hard”

kneeling_prayer
“I’m just praying really hard.”

These were the words spoken by a relative after a recent shooting in California that killed (at least) four people. At the time of the prayer, information was still sparse and the victims had not been named. Apparently, the person had a brother and a niece who worked in the building where the shooting took place.

In any event, this type of utterance in a time of tragedy is typical … and worthless. 

The deed has been done. There is no turning back. If this person’s relatives were killed, no prayers are going to bring them back to life.

If they were not victims of the shooter, then any prayers are pointless since the relatives are alive and well.

There is little doubt that prayer is for the benefit of the person doing the praying. And that benefit is purely psychological because NO GOD is going to make a spectral appearance and change the events – of this incident or any other human circumstance.

And yet … the “faithful” continue to pray, expecting and “believing” that all will be well.

Singing vs. Free Speech?

Courtesy of clipart-library.com

It’s just off the top of my head, you understand, but I tend to think singing in church is a WHOLE lot different than the “right to free speech.”

Anyone agree with me?

I recently read about some church leaders that don’t …

Churches Sue California Governor for Banning Singing in Church 

Yup! Three EVANGELICAL church leaders are very unhappy with Governor Newsom because they contend his closure ban violates their First Amendment rights and that it’s an “unprecedented attack” on the freedom of worship. In their view, singing and praying aloud as a body of Christ is a biblical mandate. 

Question: Does a biblical mandate override a State Governor’s mandate?

It’s been well-documented by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that singing is a proven way to spread the COVID-19 virus. Yet it seems these pastors (along with scores of other people) prefer to ignore medical advice and instead follow the instructions put forth in a book that is several thousand years old.

Further, what these individuals seem to overlook is the governor also mandated that all bars across the state must close and that restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and card rooms must suspend indoor activities.

Contrary to their objections, they are not being singled out. The governor’s action is not discriminatory, nor is it persecution. It is a desperate attempt to reduce the number of cases and deaths that are occurring everyday in his state from the spread of the coronavirus.

And finally … a few absurd words from Jordan Sekulow (one of the plaintiffs) whose father is Jay Sekulow, a member of President Trump’s legal team: “Banning singing in California churches is an unconstitutional abuse of power, and to do it in the name of a pandemic is despicable. This ban is clearly targeted at religion.”

A quote from Isaac Asimov seems an appropriate closing for this post:

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.