7 December 2012

I asked for a prayer not mojo. I need God’s help. I don’t need some throwback to Austin Powers.

And thusly began a conversation that never should have occurred…

It’s semantics. If you post a status on Facebook asking for prayers because your son’s teacher’s cousin’s hamster has wet tail, what you’ll get from me is “Sending tons of Mojo.”

It’s the same thing. Those prayers, well wishes, Mojo—it’s all the same thing. It goes to the same place. And it’s really not up to anyone else to define for me how I express that. If I had posted “Suck it up, Sunshine,” then sure, you should have a problem with that (unless you’re one of my personal little sideshow freaks that likes to make me dance and do tricks for donations, then I will totally call you Sunshine and tell you what to suck, where, when, and how hard.) But sending Mojo—and meaning it—is, in my book, every bit as valid as saying I’ll pray for someone.

In my case, it’s far more genuine.

You’re not Christian. You might say you are, but you’re not. I’ve never, not once, seen you post anything calling to God’s glory or offering a genuine prayer.

No, and you probably never will. I might blog about my religious leanings, but I’m not going to get on Facebook or anywhere else and wax religious. I will not post a prayer. I will not post “Oh, glory be to God” or anything like it.

Why not?

Read the Book of Matthew.

Matthew 6:5 -- And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Matthew 6:6 -- But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

King James Version

Pretentious piety; I’ve been accused of it before, in a weird sort of way. But I truly have little stomach for those who wave religion like a banner, who seem to have a need to make sure every single person in their personal atmosphere knows how they pray, to whom they pray, and for what they pray.

Yes, ask me to pray for you, or for anything that’s important to you; I believe in the power of prayer and have no issue with those who ask for it. But don’t tell me how to respond to that. Mojo, prayer; same thing. You’re getting offended by the answer you wanted; I just don’t phrase it in the manner you choose.

Suppose I was an atheist and offered you Mojo or well wishes? Would you still be offended?

Probably. And I don’t find that especially charitable.

You’re not a real Christian. That’s my point. You don’t live by the Bible. For God’s sake, you support gay marriage, which is so anti-Christian I don’t even know where to start. Marriage is a Christian institution.

Yes, I support gay marriage. And it has a great deal to do with religion, and protecting religious freedoms. It’s because I deeply value freedom of and freedom from religion. It’s because marriage is not a Christian institution; marriage is, fundamentally, a covenant between two people and whomever or whatever they believe. It has nothing to do with Christianity.

By defining marriage as a Christian institution, you’re basically saying that most of the world has no right to marry. No one Jewish, Muslim, Hindi, Buddhist, Sheikh… very few people in this world, by that definition, would be allowed to marry.

Does anyone seriously believe that only Christians should marry?

And let’s be honest; you’re picking and choosing which parts of the Bible to follow, and deciding everyone else needs to follow it the way you do.

Think about it.

Look at the people around you. Even the ones you only know peripherally. Have any of them ever committed adultery?

Everyone knows someone who has.

G'head...pick one up and chuck it...
What did you do about it? I’m guessing not much. You certainly didn’t start chucking rocks at them, yet that’s what the Bible tells you to do: those who commit adultery are supposed to be stoned, and not in the happy Mary-Jane kind of way.

Ever wear a lycra sports bra under your cotton shirt? You’re mixing fabrics. That’s a no-no.

The Bible tells us to do a lot of things we won’t, because in today’s climate they feel wrong. We don’t sell our daughters into slavery. We don’t conduct ritual animal sacrifice. We just don’t do those things…but the Bible tells us to.

So the argument that I should not support gay marriage because it’s a violation of a biblical principle doesn’t wash with me. And I find those who use it as an argument to banish the mere notion of gay marriage to be horrifically hypocritical.

Don’t use the Bible as your foundation for your point of view unless you are truly following it.

No one is asking you to believe that gay marriage is fine; many are, however, asking that you allow them the same religious freedoms you enjoy, and to stop blocking them from practicing religion in the manner they see fit. You’re picking and choosing the parts of the Bible that are important to you and your life; give that same freedom to everyone else.

Even if it is fundamentally wrong in God’s eyes, it’s not up to you to stand in someone else’s way on His behalf. God will sort everyone out in the end…and that includes you.

You have no testimony. None.

But I do. I just don’t put it out there publically. If I attended a church, I would share my testimony there. What I won’t do is anything that I would interpret as being a public show of piety. Again, go read the Book of Matthew.

You’re supposed to glorify God. You’re suppose to bring others to Him, not guide them away. Anything less is offensive to God, and I don’t see why anyone would want to anger Him.

I don’t think you can bring someone to faith and to God by denying them basic human civil rights. I don’t think you can bring someone to faith by beating them over the head with yours. I really don’t think you can bring someone to faith telling them that they are less than you believe yourself to be, and because they don’t share your religion that they’re going to burn in hell.

I think God is a better man than that.

I think you can bring a person closer to faith by leading by example.

I think bringing someone to faith is done quietly and compassionately.

I think more than anything written on pages that have been translated and interpreted more times than can be counted, what matters is basic human kindness.

If you can nail down the innate kindness thing, you’re doing it right.

So…no, I will rarely say in a public venue that I am praying for you. I will offer up my own brand of it; I will wish for you all the Mojo the cosmos has for you. I will wish you well, and I will mean it. But I will not type out a prayer, because that is just not me.

I will not squash someone else’s freedom to be who they are, simply because I don’t understand it, or because it doesn’t exactly mesh with my idea of perfect right.

You're not him; don't be him.
If you want to base everything on what the Bible says, look to Matthew 7:1-2 -- Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you again.

Look to Luke 6:31 -- And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

In other words, don’t deny people the same things you have as a matter of course. It’s not very…Christian.

Don’t you believe in anything?

I believe in compassion. Parity. Equality. Fairness. And kindness.

Most of all, I believe in kindness.

Be kind, and let others find and define their own relationship with God. Even if it does bug you.


Shannon akaMonty said...

WERD. :) I agree with ALLL dat. Also? I like to pray in the bathroom. Is that weird? But I do. With the door shut and with the lights out.

conny warren said...

As an atheist with pagan leanings, I very much appreciate everything you said. I believe we should be kind and compassionate because it's right, not because some father figure in the sky says so. I may not pray but if someone asks for prayers I will be happy to send them some mojo, nad would be offended if they through it right back in my face.

(in)Sain Adventures said...

Very well said! I feel the same way...EVERYONE deserves basic kindness. Not sure where it is exactly, but the Bible also says to treat the least of men well, as some have entertained angels without knowing it. (something along those lines) I prefer more traditional worship services,as to the contemporary where everyone is being, demonstrative.

G.G. Mueller said...

Thumper, I swear we grew up in the same way! I have beliefs but they are not for the public. They are for me. Compassion, understanding, kindness are the things that are needed by all people.
When your writer person said that marriage was a Christian thing, I almost fell out of my chair! Such uninformed and myopic opinions drive me crazy. But s/he is entitled to that opinion. We can only try to inform gently.
I commend ( I was gonna say "bless" but that would be misunderstood in this context) you for the courage to answer the attacker in the gentle manner that you did.
I send you lots and lots of hugs.

Thumper said...

Hebrews 13:2 -- Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. KJV

Thumper said...

Face to face, I can't make my arguments well. I need time to focus my thoughts and arrange my words...they don't always come out of my mouth in the order in which I intend... ;)

(in)Sain Adventures said...

Thanks! ;-)

And I never come up with the great responses until much later.

Susan S. said...

Well said, Thumper. Thank you! There's a song called J.P.M.F.Y.F. that I think you might enjoy -- just google it, I especially like Kat Maslich Bode's version.

Derby, Ducky said...

Hey, that is why mum asked for pull, prayers, purrs and mojo a few days ago. What ever works.

We should show the world our beliefs by how we live our lives every day.

Heather said...

As a legally married (in Iowa only and not recognized in my home state or federally) lesbian, me and my wife appreciate your post.

Stacie said...

I especially dislike when people post very religious things on facebook, followed by "God saw you read this. Repost if you're believer". Really? That almost feels like bullying, and my relationship with God has nothing whatsoever to do with facebook.

Good vibes, positive thoughts, mojo, prayers...all the same thing. It's what's in your heart that counts.

ladyvyvian said...

That quote from Matthew, I was just thinking about it the other day when it seemed like everyone on my facebook page was posting a prayer or request that you praise God. I have my own religious beliefs and really get tired of people pushing theirs on me, even if they are the same as mine. I don't need to put my beliefs out for everyone to see and I don't see why they do. I so totally agree with you, Thumper but don't have the same way with words that you do.

Christie Critters said...

As a practicing Christian of (insert major denomination here), my prayers for people are not usually "God help _____" But"God wrap your arms around ____" a not "remove them from this" but a "help them deal with this". And those prayers are not offered on my knees, but generally while cooking, or driving or whatever - because we pray when we need to not when in the "proper place while on our knees. And I consider that to a good Christian - mojo is just another word for prayer.

Tara and Heather said...

Thank you for your well thought out, kind, and powerful post. It is difficult to face the constant cuts and jabs from others because I love who I love, I don't believe as they believe, I live my life my way - not theirs. It's nice to know there are individuals such as you in the world who believe in the basic right of humans to have a fair, equal shot at living their lives.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised there are not 20,000 comments complaining about your post. As you wrote, even if you say nothing, SOMEONE will have a problem about it. Hope you never let it get you down.

Kay Erin said...

Just read your post and was very impressed. I think the key here is "living" what you believe, as you said. Not everyone who "says"they are Christian are. Blasting someone in facebook or twitter or whatever is not fulfilling the command to love others as yourself. This compulsion some "Christians"have of needing to make a battle with unbelievers is incredibly damaging to the Christian cause. You can honor your beliefs, stand firm and state your beliefs without using a metaphorical stick to beat each other up. One might ask oneself:"Am I really loving this person or am I on a trip to make myself convinced that I alone am right?"
Just some thoughts from one who totally loves and praises God for His goodness and mercy to me, a sinner.

Anonymous said...

You can live in the garage but it doesn't make you a car! A life lived out with principles and good example speaks volumes about the person and the beliefs they hold. No need to bludgeon others with signs and distasteful antics like that!