Prayer and Politics

Because my trusty Suburban is too old to have satellite radio, I was flipping through stations the other day as Spuds and I were making the hour-long trek home from Costco.  In the midst of this flipping, I heard a soothing male voice talking about hurricane Harvey, so I stopped (station flipping, that is, not the car).  I like soothing voices, especially soothing voices on the radio.  The soothing voice very quickly transitioned from talking about the possible weather repercussions of the hurricane to talking about President Trump pledging to donate one million dollars of his own personal stash to hurricane relief efforts.

The soothing voice went on to say something to the effect of, “I really respect the president for that.  I don’t know how anyone could not respect that act.”

That got my attention because, even thought I am no fan of Donald Trump as a “reality” television host, President of the United States, or pretty much anything else, it still seems pretty obvious to me that the media are showing their bias like a two-year-old in a sun dress shows her underwear — with gleeful reckless abandon and completely unaware.  So to hear the words “I respect the president” spoken over the airwaves was a bit of a surprise.  The soothing voice had my attention.

Next it started talking about how Governor Abbott had issued an official proclamation calling for a day of prayer in Texas, and how this was a positive step, and I was left driving down the road thinking, “Whoa!  I have stumbled into the Twilight Zone!  Or, wait, maybe I’ve stumbled across a Christian radio station.”

Then the soothing Christian radio station voice read the entire proclamation word for word, clear to the end where it says:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GREG ABBOTT, Governor of Texas, pursuant to the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim Sunday, September 3, 2017, as a Day of Prayer in Texas.  I urge Texans of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers on that day for the safety of our first responders, public safety officers, and military personnel, healing of individuals, rebuilding of communities and the restoration of the entire region struck by this disaster.

I was so moved by this.  I was moved by the inclusion of everyone and everything, all faiths, the victims and the rescuers, the here and now and the work to be done in the future.  I was moved that a government official would throw political correctness to the wind and urge his constituents to turn to their God.

And then the soothing voice proclaimed in its soothing manner, “Now, as a Christian, I can’t agree with the part about all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds.  As a Christian, I know there is only one God of the Universe, so I can’t support urging others to pray to their false gods.  There is only one God we should be praying to.”  I’m paraphrasing, since I couldn’t drive and write down direct quotes that I never ever expected to hear, but that was the general gist of what he was saying when I changed. the. station.

I didn’t want Spuds to think that we should scoff at the prayers of others.

Which brand of Christianity, I wondered, does the soothing voice practice.  Is he Methodist?  Presbyterian?  Baptist?  Evangelical?  Pentecostal?  Catholic?  Don’t they all disagree, at least a little bit, about who and what God is?  So are they really praying to the same God?  Does he also scoff at the prayers of his fellow-but-different Christians?  I suppose he would scoff at my non-mainstream-Christian prayers.

I can’t speak for the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints, nor can I speak for other members of my church, but here is what I personally believe about prayer and praying, regardless of your faith and religious tradition or background:

If you believe there is a God, if you approach that God with sincerity and faith in your heart and you humbly pray your righteous desires to that God, the God of the Universe (to directly quote the soothing voice) will hear you.  I don’t care what you or I or anyone else calls that God, and I don’t care what you or I or anyone else knows or thinks we know about that God. If you are approaching your version of God as God, He will hear your prayers, because He knows you, and He knows you are putting your faith and trust in Him and appealing to Him, and He loves you regardless of what your level of understanding of Him is or isn’t.  If you’re sincerely praying then you’re sincerely trying to know Him, too, and that counts for a whole heck of an awful lot.

What parent among us hasn’t heard a child’s voice call the word, “Mom!” or “Dad!” only to turn around to respond and discover that it’s not our child, and it’s not us to whom they are calling?  I believe it is kind of like that with God, except that we are the children doing the calling and He is the parent to whom we are calling, always, because we are all His. Maybe we are calling to a parent who we don’t fully know or understand, maybe we are calling to a parent about whom we have some pretty big misunderstandings, but God hears us anyway, because He is THE parent.  There is no one else.

Unless you’re a satanist or something, but I think I pretty much excluded you in the above paragraphs anyway.  You know you’re not praying to God at that point.  Run along now.  I hear Hot Topic is having a sale.

Bottom line:  If I am, or a loved one is, ever involved in a crisis, either as a victim or a rescuer, I welcome your prayers on my behalf, on behalf of my loved ones, on behalf of my community.  If you believe there is a God, if you believe He can help us put the pieces of shattered lives, homes, and communities back together, then I welcome and appreciate your prayers.  I suspect there is a large part of Houston that welcomes your prayers as well.  I am sorry there are those who don’t.  Please know they don’t represent all of us, no matter what you hear over the airwaves after a bout of channel flipping.

Tewt the Christian Newt wishes you well (and, admittedly, has made one or two purchases at Hot Topic — but he got in and out as fast as he could).

 

 

Something for Sunday

I haven’t been writing much lately (busy with the holidays and all that), so I thought I ought to write something today.  Something . . . something . . . something . . .

I thought maybe I’d write about the high winds that blew through last night.  Those would be the winds that took our two very stuffed-full, very heavy, outside trash cans (you know, those great big rectangular types on wheels) and carried them from just outside our garage over to the pond area where they apparently suffered a sever bout of motion sickness and purged their contents all over the back yard three acres and into the pond. 

Then I would write about cleaning up the garbage can puke:  the raking of the garbage out of the pond, as much as possible; the trudging through the mucky, muddy, sludgy field area over to the tree line by the flooded creek to retrieve the bags of garbage stuck in the trees.  Good times, good times.

I thought maybe I’d take a picture of the Little Tykes log cabin (known to our kids as “The Little Brown House”) which had its roof blown off, a shutter blown off, and itself was saved from going down the lazy river (which yesterday was only a creek) by the tree line.  Unfortunately, half of the roof is in the creek, and it’s too far out to retrieve at the moment.  I mean, the fact that it made it all the way through the trees and came to rest on the neighbor’s shore isn’t the problem.  It’s the water that is hip deep where the shore should be that’s the problem.  So the roof will stay there until the weather warms up or the water recedes, whichever comes first.

The tree line actually did look quite festive, in a white trash kind of way, what with all the ribbon and wrapping paper stuck in the lower branches and flapping wildly.

They say you can tell a lot about a person by looking through their garbage, and what I learned about us today is that we’ve been eating entirely too much junk food lately:  a pretzel bag, a lime tortilla chip bag, hmmm . . . I’ve forgotten what else.  At any rate, it looked like we had a big, drunken Christmas party out by the creek (except there were no beer cans or bottles amongst the trash).

The other thing I learned from the garbage strewn about our property?  The official maximum weight capacity of our new Wii Fit is 330lbs.  What an odd number, don’t you think?  Anyway, we’d seen something to that effect online, but we hadn’t seen anything in the directions or user guide about a weight limit.  Today, however, I found a piece of the box which none of us had noticed in the Christmas frenzy, so now it’s official:  330lbs.  What an odd number.

So I thought maybe I’d tell you about the new Wii and the new Wii Fit and all the muscles I personally have which hurt thanks to those things; and how I KOed McH in a boxing match Christmas morning.  There is a Christmas I will always remember fondly . . . And the fun we had with almost my whole family here yesterday, and how my younger brother was boxing . . . who was he boxing?  His wife, maybe?  Anyway, rather than throwing punches like a normal person man person, he was holding those controllers and just b!t(h slapping away.

So, before I get to what I’ve decided to actually write about today, I will share this song (which I’ve probably shared before) in my brother’s honor (I do wish there was an official version I could post, but there isn’t):

 

If you’re still with me, here is my actual topic of the day:  my sidebar.

I know you are all so excited now you probably feel like you’ve been doing Nyquil shooters; but stick with me here.

If you’ll glance to your right, you’ll notice that I’ve rearranged things a bit, moved my (still outdated) blog roll to it’s own page, and added . . . drum roll please . . . . . . . .

A prayer roll!

You may remember (of course you don’t) that one of my new year’s resolutions for this past year was to keep a prayer journal.  I got myself a nifty little notebook in which to write down who needed/wanted prayers and why, and was all proud of myself.  I mean, not haughty proud, but, you know, happy I’d thought to do something so practical.  Because?  I don’t know about you, but I read and hear a lot of prayer requests, and then when I go to pray I find I’m forgetting a bunch of them.  Sometimes the only thing we can really do to help someone is to pray for them, and I want to help, hence the prayer journal.

It was a super idea.  Until I lost it.  The notebook, that is.  Not the idea.

I know, I know!  I could just start a new one.  But nooooooooo!  I kept saying I was going to find it.  I wasn’t going to add extra clutter to the already overcluttered home that is mine by getting another notebook.  But?  You guessed it.  I never found it.

So, I’m still going to get a new one and try again this year (since some people may not want me posting about their problems/needs/whatevers on my blog), but I’m also putting prayer requests in my sidebar.  The purpose for this is twofold:

1.  I will more easily remember who is asking for prayers (because, let’s be honest, I spend more time on the computer than I do with old-fashioned notebooks); and
2.  I can spread the word around to others who pray and would like to help.  I truly believe in the power of prayer, and I believe that the power of combined prayer can be even greater.

If you hover over the links listed in the prayer roll section, a little box will appear which will explain what/why prayers are needed.  Umm . . . that would be hover over them with your mouse, you know.  Don’t actually try to physically hover over that spot on your computer screen.  That could be dangerous and would be weird.

So, there you go.  Short, simple, and to the point.

You know, once you waded through all the garbage.

And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt says hello.

PS – You can email me or leave a comment if you’d like me to add you to the prayer roll.  Or, you know, if you want me to take you off.