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« Who Speaks Best for Christianity? | Main | Emergent, YS End Collaboration »

January 20, 2005


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for the record . . . i disagree . . . in the Boy Scouts (I am a Chaplin) we are required to be ecumencial in our approach . . . if the individual praying is a Christian and wishes to invoke the formula historically used by the church . . . 'in the name of the Father, and of . . .' or 'in the name of Jesus' we end like this . . .

'we all pray according to our own faith, BUT, i pray in the name of . . .'

in my opinion . . . kirbyjohn caldwell was offensive . . .

My brother-in-law has been a teacher for many years. I remember discussing the subject of "School prayer" with him about 15 years ago. He said he was dead-set against it.

I was shocked! But then I heard his reasoning. He said something like this:

"As it stands now, kids can pray quietly before class, or before a test, etc. I'd much rather have that! In a public school, the State cannot dictate what religion is to be preached. That means if they make it a law that it is OK for teachers to pray with their classes, it will not just be Christians praying. I'd rather not have a Buddhist teacher lead my kids in a prayer. Or a Muslim teacher lead my kids in prayer, etc"

I was in the Navy, on an aircraft carrier that held over 6,000 men. On various days of the week, we could go to chapel services. Lutheran. Baptist. Non-Denominational. Catholic. But also Jewish. Muslim. Buddhist. etc.

There was not a separate Chaplain for each faith, but there were lay-ministers who were supported by the Chaplains who were stationed onboard. So if the Muslim lay-minister had a problem, or needed help with someone or with something, he could go to the Lutheran Chaplain -- and that Christian would help facilitate the Muslim's worship of Allah.

Every night at Lights out, the ship's crew would stop everything and a Chaplain would come on the loudspeaker and pray, asking God's blessing for the night. It was a Christian prayer 99% of the time. In my 3 1/2 years on the ship, I think I heard the Jewish Chaplain pray once. I always thought that was odd. There was enough respect so that those not of the faith of the person praying stood still, or muted the stereo, etc. Most people were fine with it. A couple guys I knew (brought up in a church home, and now proclaiming staunch atheism, if I remember correctly) complained once or twice, but the majority ruled and so the prayers continued.

I wonder what the men (and now women!) do at lights out aboard that ship today?

I think this issue of public prayer for a government sanctioned/sponsored event will become a very big issue in the coming year(s)

How long will it be before a Muslim member of Congress is elected, and asks for a Muslim Chaplain? How long will it be before we see a session of the House of Representatives begin with a prayer to Allah?

How long will it be until a Buddhist U.S. Naval Officer attains the rank and role of Ship's Captain? How long will it be before he asks a Monk to pray over the loudspeaker for lights out, or fly prayer wheels from the ship's bridge?

How long will it be before we elect a President who is Hindu? In who's name(s!) will the inaugural prayer be made? On what "holy" book will s/he rest a hand while being sworn in?

And in this non-Christian country in which we live what will we, as followers of The Way, think and do when the above mentioned prayers are prayed?

As a Christian, I'm not offended by the prayer made in the name of Jesus.

As an American though, you know what? I kinda am offended. No, wait, I take that back. I'm not offended by that prayer in the name of Jesus. As a constitutionally-protected-freedom-of-religion-supporting American, I am offended at the startling dearth of other prayers NOT being publically-representatively prayed!

But my identity as Christian supersedes my role as American! Praise God!!!

So here's a heart-testing question for us all:

If a Buddhist filed suit, and complained that it was wrong to have the Presidential inaugural prayer in the name of Jesus, what would we say to them? How would we respond?

As a Christian, I would like to think I would not be offended if a President's inaugural prayer was to Bhudda. Because I would not be praying to Buddha. But until that day comes (and that day will come, mark my words!) I really don't know how I would respond.

Chris, I think these issues will be some good fuel for the persecution "fire" we talked about in an earlier post, yes?

~ Keith

Personally, I think there is WAY more to praying in the name of Jesus than just saying the words. Same thing with using the Lord's name in vain--its more than just saying or using a phrase.

Benjy, certainly there is more - but just as certainly, there is not less.

A prayer that is not Trinitarian is not Christian.

. . . A prayer that is not Trinitarian is not Christian . . . you may want to re-think that . . .

how about this - 'a prayer that is not in Jesus' name is not christian.'

or this - 'a prayer that is not modeled after the Lord's prayer is not christian.' seeing as that is how the Christ taught us to pray.

there's lots of segments of christianity that are less convinced of the trinity that others are.

Will God only hear christian prayers? Or does God hear but not respond? I think God is bigger than these differences.

Tammy, the Lord's Prayer is a model prayer. But the Trinity is not a model God.

benjy made my point better (less offensively) than i could . . . that's why i let the point go . . . if God only hears 'christian's prayers' . . . how is it that 'un-christians' ever become christians in the first place?? . . . the argument continues with a loop-hole that God will listen to a 'sinner's prayer' for salvation but nothing else . . . my question is where is that "in the text" EXACTLY? . . . its not . . . its a logical conclusion that has been built over time (eisegesis) that some hold . . . as a matter of fact many of these logical conclusions are held so dearly that the logically conclusions are often mistakenly equated as being as valid as the text itself . . . that fish stinks from the head down . . .

hey Tim G -

you are aware though, that there's many groups of christians over the ages who don't understand the God-head the same way that tinitarians do? how do you view them?

and i'm also interested to know why you would equate the concept of the trinity so strongly with prayer.

We were studying the trinity today in a class that I am taking. The first time it seems to come into the early church is between the years 300-400.

Actually, the Trinity was articulated in relatively precise theological terms in 300-400. But saying it "came into" the Church in that period is incorrect. In fact, one of the foundational arguments made in the battle with the Arian heresy was that it opposed the established faith. The development in the 300s was not the introduction of belief in the Trinity, but hammering out how the doctrine needed to be expressed to avoid heresy. The New Testament clearly distinguishes the persons of the Father, Son, and Spirit, and yet identifies each of them as God (including appropriating OT texts referring to Yahweh to each). That's what Trinitarianism is.

"God" is not a univocal term. There is such a thing as a violation of the first commandment.

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