Oct 042017

(I also posted this, mostly intact, on my Facebook profile today. Sorry if this is a rerun for you.)

When there is a disaster, one of the very first things Christians do is pray. I think this is mostly because it is something meaningful we can do immediately. A great many of us then go on to contribute money, time, or both to relief efforts. I consider prayer an integral part of these efforts, because we don’t know exactly how God will answer us.

When I pray it is sincere, profound, and powerful. I would not do it if I did not believe that.

Now I have a great many friends with many different belief systems, and that suits me just fine. You do not have to be a Christian to be my friend. And though you may occasionally encounter me discussing my faith, I’m not a proselytizer. I have arrived at my beliefs thoughtfully, and I assume you have arrived at yours thoughtfully as well. I believe that is a respectful way to approach one another.

Something I do not believe is respectful is posting snarky pictures making fun of “thoughts and prayers” as if they are synonymous with nothing. Here are two such examples floating around Facebook.

Understandably, I don’t care for these. I find them deeply unfunny, and I find posting them for a chuckle an obnoxious act.

Am I going to ask you not to post them? I am not. But I want you to know that I receive such a posting about as well as I would you pointing and laughing at me in prayer.

If you’re still good with that, then fire away. If you’re not, then think twice.

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 Posted by at 3:32 pm

  2 Responses to “On “thoughts and prayers””

  1. I respect the humanity of people. I don’t respect the beliefs of everyone; that would be as insane as some of those beliefs. Asylum seekers are invading the US? Trump is doing good for the country? Donkeys talked? Biblical humans lived 800-900 years? Jesus lived, an earthquake happened just before he was crucified? He arose from the dead? I don’t have to respect any of those beliefs and asking me to do so is a dangerous ask because you’re expecting to be able to be respected for engaging in deliberate lies, if you’re Trump. If it’s a biblical thing, you’re asking me to respect someone who believes things that have been authentically disproven and that’s just nuts. Should I respect your beliefs if you believe the earth is flat or hollow? That the ocean doesn’t have plastic or humans are causing climate change? I won’t respect your delusional beliefs because that goes against my fundamental belief in truth.

    Thoughts and prayers? Who does that help? The person praying. Period. Full stop.

    • Kate, thanks for your comment.

      I don’t think you’ll find that I actually ask you to respect my beliefs. In fact, I go a good bit in the other direction. I’m a Christian. You’re not. We’re each almost certainly immovable in those convictions. That’s OK. We can still be friends.

      But I think it’s decent of you to acknowledge that I believe something profound is happening when I pray. Whatever you believe about it, I do not believe it is nothing. So I don’t want to be treated as if it were nothing. To be sure, it’s frequently not where my efforts to influence a situation end. But it’s nearly always where they begin.

      Whatever our differences, it behooves us to find common ground when solving large and complex problems, does it not? Is any positive narrative advanced by your comparison of my belief in God to a belief in a hollow Earth? It just feels like you’re sticking your finger in my eye to me, and it’s about that productive.

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