Posts tagged ‘prayer’
Earlier this week on The Today Show, Robert Robertson, a pilot who survived a plane crash by landing his plane a few feet away from I-95 in Florida said he was no longer an agnostic. His survival was truly a miracle since his plane literally disintegrated around him and he was left sitting in his seat dazed but ok.
In cases like this, it’s easy to conclude “divine intervention.”
Psalms 91 is a beautiful Psalm talking about the God’s protection for those who “dwell in the secret place of the Most High.”
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you…
While most good Christian believers are spending this Sunday morning in their various churches, temples and other places of worship, I thought I would place a sermonette here for the benefit of us heathen Christian apostates. Actually, my heretical brand of theology ought to make easy pickings for Christians and athiests alike.
My favorite Christian blogsite is Carol Howard Merritt’s Tribal Church. She is a Presbyterian minister, author, and wife of Brian Merritt, aka PastorOfDisaster. I find both Christian sites thoughtful, thought-provoking, meaningful, and bring out the best attributes of a liberal branch of Christianity. Even though I am no longer a Christian, they are a breath of fresh air compared to my rigid and unthinking fundamentalist background. Last week, Tribal Church published an article on spiritual experience that I replied to. Can a non-believer in a personal God, or any god for that matter, have a spiritual experience? I think so. I would like to reprint her article and my reply here – and I sure hope that is okay with the original author:…
We’ve all heard versions of the phrase: “You can have a personal relationship with Jesus.” or, “I have a personal relationship with the Lord.” etc.
Here’s a slightly long version of it that I read recently:
“The point of a personal relationship with Jesus is that Jesus is specifically concerned with the details of every person’s life. If a friend came to you and said “You know, I’d just like to go get some coffee and spend some time with you and talk about what is going on in your life” would you be selfish to accept? Not if the person is truly sincere in that they want to know. So that’s how I see it. Not as something selfish, but in fact as responding to an invitation to spend personal time with Jesus. Because He loves each one of us, both as a body of believers, and as individuals.”
At some point in my de-conversion process it struck me that this idea is bunk. I’ve had friends offer to sit and talk over a lunch, but I’ve definitely never done lunch with Jesus.
As I thought it through, I realized that the whole “personal relationship/ revelation/ experience” jag is just another delusion…
If you had a personal relationship with a divine being, wouldn’t you want to know what she or he wanted? I mean, how can you have a personal relationship if the other being doesn’t communicate – certainly theoretically possible (just about), but practically very difficult. I mean, I might need to know if God wants me to change job or not – hearing the divine view could be very important.
On the face of it, advocates of religion would argue that it is often clear what God wants and that the issue is not the clarity of the message, but our willingness to hear it. So, for example (and the examples I give will be drawn from Christianity, simply because that is the dominant religion in my culture and the one I am most familiar with), Christians would argue that it is pretty clear what the Bible (and therefore God) expects about sexual morality, but most people in the West (at least) no longer want to hear it or obey it.
Despite the prima facie strength of that argument, there are several things wrong with it…
Have you ever had a conversation with God? Have you ever heard his voice? There was a time when I would have absolutely answered these questions in the affirmative. After all, modern day Christianity is all about having a “personal relationship” with God. As with all good relationships, this relationship includes regular communication.
This weekend my wife and I finally finished moving into our new house. As with any hectic real-estate transaction, this one had its share of tense moments and close calls. Purchasing a new house is always a risky venture. Despite it all, I was surprised at how smoothly our purchase went, and how easily we could have lost everything.
As a Christian, I would have been praying vigorously for God’s guiding hand. Before the purchase began, I would have brought my desire to purchase a new house to the foot of the alter. I would have asked God if moving was indeed in his Will – then I would have waited for an answer.
A light-hearted article for a change.
I have recently learned to find great humor in Bumper Sticker Christianity. You know what I mean. Those short and crisp blurbs of pseudo-doctrinal statements that you see planted on the back cars, or on the marquee of your local church, which express Christianity in simple and catchy soundbytes. I confess that I used to own a pin that said “No Jesus No Peace, Know Jesus Know Peace”. I proudly wore it on my hat for years as an expression of my faith.
About two months ago, some interesting billboards began covering the broadsides of the metro buses in my adopted hometown of El Paso. I thought I had heard it all after “What Would Jesus Do?”, but this was a new one. A lady standing in a daisy field, with arms upraised proclaims, “Have a Jesus Day!” Simple and harmless enough, I guess.
But I have to wonder if any of El Paso’s bus riders stop and think what it means to “Have a Jesus Day?” I admit that I have no idea what it is supposed to mean…