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Soflasnapper
08-09-2011, 04:59 PM
"And When You Pray, Do Not Be Like the Hypocrites ... "
Five Scriptures You Won't Hear About at Rick Perry's Prayer Fest

By JIM RIGBY

As a native Texan, I'm used to crazy religion and crazy politics. So, the announcement of Gov. Rick Perry's plans for "The Response," a prayer event scheduled for Aug. 6 at Houston's Reliant Stadium, was not a surprise.

But as a Presbyterian minister and community organizer, it's part of my job to stand up for my neighbors. The use of the governor's office to promote one religion in a country with such rich religious diversity is obviously unhealthy politics, but -- if one takes the Christian and Jewish scriptures seriously -- it is also unhealthy religion. Here are five rather important verses of scripture you aren't likely to hear at "The Response":

Don't make a show of prayer

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray in public places to be seen by others… But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your heavenly parent, who is unseen." (Matt. 6:5-6)

While Jesus never addressed the issues most important to some of this event's co-sponsors, such as homosexuality and abortion, he did speak out against public displays of religion. Whatever Jesus meant by the word "prayer," it seems to have been about the quiet and personal. The disciples had to ask Jesus how to pray, which is a pretty good indication that he wasn't praying a lot publicly. What he did say about prayer carried a warning label: "Don't rub it in other people's faces."

God doesn't withhold rain because we've done something wrong

"God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matt. 5:45)

Perry recently called Texans to pray for rain, which implies that God steers clouds toward the worthy. According to Right Wing Watch, one of the events co-sponsors has said the earthquake in Japan happened because the emperor had sex with the Sun Goddess. It may be a part of our lower nature to blame disasters on people we don't like or understand, but Jesus taught that God sends rain on the just and unjust. Furthermore, he said our love should be equally nonselective.

I have chosen Christianity as my life's religion, but when nonjudgmental love is taken out of its center, it becomes poisonous and predatory. The word "God" can be a helpful symbol for all the transcendentals of life, but the symbol becomes instantly pathological when used as a scientific explanation or political justification.

God doesn't have favorites

Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism." (Acts 10:34)

When the Bible says that God is not a "respecter of persons" it means that God doesn't have a favorite country or religion. The idea that God wants Christians to be in charge of other people violates Jesus' teaching that we are to take the lowest place. We are to change the world by humble persuasion and good example, not by messianic coercion. The assumption that Christianity and America are God's two favorite things will be particularly ironic, as the prayer event falls on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

Worship by those who neglect the poor is offensive to God

"I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me… Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" (Amos 5:21-24)

The prophet Amos chastised the religion of his day for praying to God while mistreating people. Texas leads the nation in citizens who are uninsured, who work for minimum wage, and who die from unsafe working conditions on construction sites. Our state has the widest gap between rich and poor of any in the union. If the governor wants to call us to repentance it should begin with our real sins against the poor not the imaginary sins dreamed up by his friends.

The heart of Christian ethics is being a good neighbor

When Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) it was to teach humility to a rich young zealot who thought he was approaching moral perfection. The Samaritans were the scapegoats of the day. The rich young ruler would consider Samarians heretics and immoral people. Jesus used a merciful Samaritan as the example of ethical perfection. It is a lesson many Christians have yet to learn.

One sponsor of the event, the American Family Association, is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. The group's director of analysis for government and policy is quoted by the SPLC as saying that Hitler was "an active homosexual" who sought out gays "because he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough." He also said Muslims should not be allowed in the military or be allowed to build mosques in the United States.

None of this analysis springs from malice. In fact, I must confess that I have a soft spot for Rick Perry. When the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in Texas was passed, I had the honor of pushing the wheelchair of Byrd's mother into the governor's office for the signing. I privately thanked Perry for his courage in standing up to all the groups who had fought against the bill; I knew he might pay a political price for signing the bill. Tears came to his eyes, and he said, "It's the right thing to do."

I can't know what is in Perry's heart, of course, but I do know the problem isn't one politician but rather a nation that has embraced an unhealthy political arrogance undergirded by even unhealthier religious hubris. The "prayer" that is most needed at this time is for each of us, believer or not, to go into our own heart and find the humility and empathy that is at the core of righteousness, political and spiritual.

Jim Rigby is pastor of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX. He can be reached at jrigby0000@aol.com, and videos of his sermons are available online at http://www.staopen.com/sermons/.

cushioncrawler
08-09-2011, 05:20 PM
Perry iz an arsehole. Willingham might hav been guilty, but certainly the evidence woz krap.
mac.

"......Death penaltyPerry supports the death penalty.[76] On June 2, 2009, Texas carried out the 200th execution since Perry assumed the office of governor.[77] [edit] Cameron Todd WillinghamFurther information: Cameron Todd Willingham
The neutrality of this article is disputed. Please see the discussion on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (August 2011)

Cameron Todd Willingham was convicted of murder and executed for the deaths of his three young children via arson at the family home in Corsicana, Texas.

Willingham's case gained renewed attention in 2009 when an investigative report in The New Yorker,[78] drawing upon arson investigation experts and advances in fire science since the 1992 investigation suggested that the evidence for arson was unconvincing, and that had this information been available at the time of trial, Mr. Willingham would have been acquitted. According to a different 2009 investigative report by an expert hired by the Texas Forensic Science Commission, the charges of arson could not be sustained given the available evidence.[79] In October of 2009, Perry dismissed three members of the Texas Forensic Science Comission after they had began investigating the case. [80] Perry denied that the dismissals were related to the case.[81]....."

eg8r
08-10-2011, 08:34 AM
I guess since the very first point about public display of religion is so far off base with the intent of the passage I will choose to not read the rest. It is sad to see one religious person attacking the use of prayer. Jesus was not against the generic public display or else the book of Acts would have been omitted. Bringing 3000 people to the Lord is hardly done in a closet. According to this pastor, Peter must have ticked God off something serious when he was out in public praying and preaching.

Why are you refusing to recognize context all of a sudden when it seems so important to you when lww posts something that you think is out of context? You are definitely dropping back slowly to likes of a gayle or qtip and that is sad.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Perry recently called Texans to pray for rain, which implies that God steers clouds toward the worthy.</div></div>OK, I lied, I kept reading but I promise this is where I will stop. LOL, so if a pastor prays for healing of one of his sick church members is he implying that God only heals the "worthy"? Sorry but this pastor is using this article as a means to be "heard" rather than tell the truth and guard the Word of God close to his heart. What is worse is that this pastor is giving people like you a reason to continue your attacks when there was no reason in the first place other than you were scared of religion. This pastor, in this article, has done nothing positive for advancing the Kingdom of God.

eg8r

Soflasnapper
08-10-2011, 09:14 AM
I am happy to discuss context, but must admit I didn't see any missed context here.

Generally, it must be admitted that even when He was alive, His disciples were frequently doing things He didn't approve of, and more broadly, not getting what He was saying. How much more likely were they to be off-base, relative to Jesus' own teachings, when He was no longer around to correct them?

Beyond that, WITNESSING ones faith, CONFESSING ones faith, doesn't involve PRAYING IN PUBLIC, by the person witnessing, confessing, or proselytizing. It is typical that those wishing to convert right there are led in prayer, to make their own confession of faith, but that isn't particularly necessary, as a statement of confession of faith can be made in a declaratory sentence that isn't a prayer.

And a CALL for the PEOPLE to pray is also consistent with the prayer being privately done.

eg8r
08-10-2011, 10:17 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Generally, it must be admitted that even when He was alive, His disciples were frequently doing things He didn't approve of, and more broadly, not getting what He was saying. How much more likely were they to be off-base, relative to Jesus' own teachings, when He was no longer around to correct them?
</div></div>The entire book of Acts is about doing exactly what you and the pastor are saying was wrong. LOL, which also happens to be the one book about the biggest revival period in Christianity. It seems you are missing the boat on purpose and choosing to bend the scripture to meet your agenda instead of actually reading what is there at face value.

eg8r

Soflasnapper
08-10-2011, 01:28 PM
When Peter cut off the ear of the centurion, he did it in Jesus' presence. It displeased Jesus, who rebuked him, and then healed the centurion's ear. So disciples and apostles did not always do what Jesus said to do or wanted done, even the man Jesus chose to head His church, even when He was still around them.

Still, I've just re-read Acts, for the first time in a long while, admittedly. There are perhaps a half dozen mentions of praying, and none were done on a large scale in the general public, and that wasn't what they did on Pentacost in public, either.

Upon this re-reading, I do not think that the book of Acts supports doing anything like the spectacle in Texas, as regards the behavior and evidence concerning the early church fathers.

Prayers that were done 'in public' were still private affairs, with few around except for fellow believers joined in prayer, typically a smallish number of them. Usually it was because there was a reason for prayer right then, as when Paul made his goodbyes to the community of believers and then prayed at the end of it, or when the two were in prison, praying and singing hymns, before the prison doors were unbound.

Conversions were done by preaching, and then the laying on of hands, and the resultant gift of the Holy Spirit, with no mention of praying. The speaking in tongues that often accompanied the conversion was praise to God, not praying.

eg8r
08-10-2011, 01:46 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">When Peter cut off the ear of the centurion, he did it in Jesus' presence. It displeased Jesus, who rebuked him, and then healed the centurion's ear. So disciples and apostles did not always do what Jesus said to do or wanted done, even the man Jesus chose to head His church, even when He was still around them.
</div></div>You continue to point out something that is not being argued? Why? There is a Bible verse that states all have sinned. Why not just keep repeating it over and over?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Upon this re-reading, I do not think that the book of Acts supports doing anything like the spectacle in Texas</div></div>If you don't think there was public prayer in the book of Acts then this entire back-and-forth is pointless. I find it completely impossible to lead 3000 people to Christ and ignore prayer. I also never said it resembled what happened in Texas either.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Conversions were done by preaching, and then the laying on of hands, and the resultant gift of the Holy Spirit, with no mention of praying. </div></div>In my 35 years I have found this to be impossible without prayer. Since 3000 were coming to the Lord at the same time it would seem quite public.

eg8r

Soflasnapper
08-10-2011, 02:22 PM
I just read it. On the day of Pentacost, the apostles preached, and their words were heard in the language of any who were in earshot. This amazed so many that they took the preachings seriously and converted. No mention of prayer, but of witnessing (not the same thing at all).

Surely one can understand that witnessing a miracle might suffice, without prayer?

eg8r
08-10-2011, 03:55 PM
I don't consider it a miracle. Accepting Jesus into your heart is a personal decision made by you not made by Jesus to force himself upon 3000 people. Again, no I have never seen a person accept God into their heart without doing it through prayer.

During that time in the Bible that you were reading, how many days did it span? How many times did it talk about the people eating? Since it mentions it rarely if not more than once do you think they never ate? That seems to be the logic you are applying to prayer. How about using the bathroom? Do you think they never had to use the bathroom because it wasn't mentioned? I surely don't but that is the logic you are using. Just because it is a daily "accepted" fact is how I would consider it just like praying during a service and during one's acceptance of Jesus.

eg8r

Soflasnapper
08-10-2011, 04:59 PM
If we are to argue about what <u>isn't</u> in the book of Acts, we will never reach an agreeable result. That's quite hypothetical, even as you make a reasonable point, that of course, all kinds of things happened that didn't get mentioned.

I would simply ask you to pick up a concordance and look up the mentions of pray, prayer, praying, all the cognates, that show up for the book of Acts, and see in what situations it happens, to perhaps refresh your memory as I did my own.

And I'll agree that no miracle is necessary for one to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but add that many people are drawn to the Lord in that exact way, also.

LWW
08-10-2011, 05:20 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Soflasnapper</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I just read it. On the day of Pentacost, the apostles preached, and their words were heard in the language of any who were in earshot. This amazed so many that they took the preachings seriously and converted. <span style='font-size: 14pt'>No mention of prayer</span>, but of witnessing (not the same thing at all).

Surely one can understand that witnessing a miracle might suffice, without prayer? </div></div>

Really?

REALLY?

<span style='font-size: 11pt'>REALLY?</span>

Let's try actually reading it:

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">1:14T<span style='font-size: 14pt'>hese all with one accord continued stedfastly in prayer, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.</span> 1:15And in these days Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren, and said (and there was a multitude of persons gathered together, about a hundred and twenty), 1:16Brethren, it was needful that the Scripture should be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spake before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was guide to them that took Jesus. 1:17For he was numbered among us, and received his portion in this ministry. 1:18(Now this man obtained a field with the reward of his iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. 1:19And it became known to all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch that in their language that field was called Akeldama, that is, The field of blood.) 1:20For it is written in the book of Psalms,

Let his habitation be made desolate,

And let no man dwell therein:

and,

His office let another take.

1:21Of the men therefore that have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and went out among us, 1:22beginning from the baptism of John, unto the day that he was received up from us, of these must one become a witness with us of his resurrection. 1:23And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 1:24And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show of these two the one whom thou hast chosen, 1:25to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas fell away, that he might go to his own place. 1:26And they gave lots for them; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

2:1And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place. 2:2And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 2:3And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them. 2:4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 2:5Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 2:6And when this sound was heard, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speaking in his own language. 2:7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying, Behold, are not all these that speak Galilaeans? 2:8And how hear we, every man in our own language wherein we were born? 2:9Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Judaea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, 2:10in Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 2:11Cretans and Arabians, we hear them speaking in our tongues the mighty works of God. 2:12And they were all amazed, and were perplexed, saying one to another, What meaneth this? </div></div>

D'OH! (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/acts-asv.html)

Soflasnapper
08-11-2011, 12:05 PM
I had just finished reading all of it, prior to my most recent posts, but thank you for citing my evidence for me.

Just as the scripture shows, the disciples/apostles did pray among themselves as necessary for the given circumstances. Here, they are shown praying for God to help guide their selection of a replacement of Judas, accomplished by then casting lots. This is the same context the other mentions of praying occur in-- the prayers are among the brethren, not among the public at large, and for a specific purpose at the time.

Then, as of the day of Pentacost, starting at 2.1, the mention of praying during that supernatural miraculous event, is... well, entirely missing, don't you agree?

If not, what do you say shows praying during the events of the Pentacost?

LWW
08-11-2011, 01:10 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Soflasnapper</div><div class="ubbcode-body">No mention of prayer, but of witnessing (not the same thing at all). </div></div>

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Soflasnapper</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I had just finished reading all of it, prior to my most recent posts, but thank you for citing my evidence for me.

Just as the scripture shows, the disciples/apostles did pray among themselves as necessary for the given circumstances.</div></div>

I rest my case.

Soflasnapper
08-11-2011, 05:47 PM
Your case against what I didn't say, you mean?

Me:

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> There are perhaps a half dozen mentions of praying, and none were done on a large scale in the general public, and that wasn't what they did on Pentacost in public, either.

Upon this re-reading, I do not think that the book of Acts supports doing anything like the spectacle in Texas, as regards the behavior and evidence concerning the early church fathers.

Prayers that were done 'in public' were still private affairs, with few around except for fellow believers joined in prayer, typically a smallish number of them. Usually it was because there was a reason for prayer right then, as when Paul made his goodbyes to the community of believers and then prayed at the end of it, or when the two were in prison, praying and singing hymns, before the prison doors were unbound.

Conversions were done by preaching, and then the laying on of hands, and the resultant gift of the Holy Spirit, with no mention of praying. The speaking in tongues that often accompanied the conversion was praise to God, not praying.</div></div>

I admitted early on that of course there was prayer. Which isn't the question. The question is whether this was public prayer, or private prayer, among the brethren of believers. It was the latter.

The prayer described is BEFORE the day of Pentacost, and the famous events of that day, and before they went out speaking in all the tongues of those in hearing range.

When it (the prayer) happened, only later did the Holy Spirit descend upon their assembly, and the famous events of that day transpire.