Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Christians whining and complaining

I am responding to yet another e-mail I received, complaining about how very difficult it is to live in America as a Christian - this time the issue is, we aren't "allowed" to pray in public. You can see a copy of it here if you would like.

This attitude seems like self-pity to me, this e-mail sounds like a whining, spoiled child’s argument - and I don’t support it.
Do we not shine the light of the Almighty God from within?! Are we not more than conquerors?!

It seems to me that some in modern American Christianity take on this kind of martyr position at their convenience, which they put on and take off to make a point - like hypocrites, wearers of masks.
I say - let us choose to let God make us strong and courageous. God needs spiritual warriors, not “happy little martyrs.”

So let’s look at this claim that our right to pray in public places has been stolen from us:

WHO is it exactly that stops us from praying? Who can do this except ourselves? No one, not even “the world, the flesh, and the devil,” can stop us from praying –only our own free will.

What has gone so astray that we do not know that no one can TAKE our free will – we can only give it? I don’t understand the problem of the many folks claiming that we are not allowed to pray – and it is someone else’s fault!
Do we need a crash course in spiritual maturity? Do all our ministers and priests need to be retrained? What could it possibly be except our own choosing of evil that keeps us from doing what God tells us to do?

I am exhorted to pray without ceasing – why would anyone who loves God NOT aim for this?
And then when I miss the mark, as most of us do, how can I dare blame someone else? The government? The society?
Isn’t it “the world’s” JOB to tempt me away from who I am in God and who God calls me to be?

Since this seems to be needed: for whoever chooses to pray in public, here are some simple examples of how it is done:

• When I want to participate in public prayer, I go to church or I fellowship with other believers wherever I choose. Done. I need no one’s permission for this. It is not against the law.

• When I eat out in a restaurant with other believers or fellowship together in a park or at the beach, etc – when we are moved, we pray together. Done. I need no one’s permission for this. It is not against the law.

• When I was in school, and now that I am at work, when a fellow believer is troubled, I pull them aside into a quiet corner and take a minute to pray together. I need no one’s permission for this. It is not against the law.

I do these things habitually. Yes, sometimes in public I get funny looks, but NO ONE can stop me. One time I had to fight my employer around this issue, but we eventually came to a comfortable agreement – the law is on my side, after all…

None of this is rocket science. It is not hard. It takes no gargantuan effort.
If it is not getting done, well then how about we just do it? No need to send e-mails, make speeches, get airtime, annoy legislators – just do it!

As spiritual adults – we do what God calls us to do, period. So what is all the whining about, really? We want EVERYBODY else to do what we do? There is where we cross the line, IMO. It is one thing to pray, it is another to force my particular beliefs down someone else’s throat – THAT is a completely different issue. (I have written about this several times now, having received several e-mails – here is a compilation).

There are those who only feel comfortable praying when others are praying – if the whole herd is doing it. I judge that to be an adolescent concern. On the other hand, it is our job (and no one else’s) to allow God to grow us into spiritual maturity. How about we stop the ‘complaining game,’ and the ‘blame game,’ and all the other temptations, and get down to it!

God bless us all, everyone

Hebrews 12: 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

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