If you don’t believe that God exists or is concerned with people’s thoughts, desires, and longings, then prayer is at best a time to get people together as a prelude to action, at worst an excuse to dismiss the topic as soon as the prayer is done. That whole spectrum exists for me too, I’ve prayed when God was calling me to action, but because God exists and I am part of his church sometimes my job is simply to pray.
The Body of Christ is not a democratic order. In a democracy you have to find a majority (in our system, a majority of the political power) to act, so individual concerns fall by the wayside and you end up not caring why people support your position as long as they lend you their power.
In the church the why is most important. The same action taken by two different people can be a sin or a good work, wholly dependent on each person’s heart (Cf. the last part of Romans 11:23 “…whatever does not proceed from faith is sin”). The unity of the church is not like the unity of our political parties. Some pray, some show up, some work miracles, some administrate.
If this piques your interest I recommend Richard Foster’s Streams of Living Water. If you want more from the original source, look at 1 Corinthians 12:12 and the vicinity. There to the end of the chapter stands on its own pretty well.
I saw on CNN today that Rahm Emanuel put down Democrats who oppose Obama’s health plan by calling them “f******* retarded”. This caused quite a bit of outcry from all sorts of people including the head of the Special Olympics and Mr. Emanuel signed a pledge to stop using the “r-word” as a derogatory name.
While I understand the desire to get people to stop using certain words in ways that are derogatory, we cannot just make a list of “bad words” and “bad usages”. For any real change to occur we must change the heart behind the words that we find so offensive.
These days it seems more and more people see problems and the first solution they reach for is the federal government. Personally I think the scope of government should decrease as the number of people governed increases (e.g. Parents in a family should rule over most of the lives of their children; State governments should do more for their citizens than the federal government does).
I think one of the reasons people are leaping over the many layers of government to go straight to the top is marketing. National campaigns reach many more people than local campaigns, so people are much more aware of the federal government.
I watched both the recent presidential debates. The funny thing is that none of the 4 candidates said much that scared me very much or that I would disagree with.
However, both of the Democrats seem to have an essential disagreement with me. They think that any problem has a single solution: A Government Program. Can’t pay your mortgage? The Federal Government should fix that. Can’t afford college? The Federal Government should fix that. You have a headache? The Federal Government should fix that.
I hear this over-application of government from both sides, which is disappointing, but I hear it more often from Obama and Biden.
I love Derek Webb’s songs “The Church” and “Wedding Dress.” He does a great job of reminding me what is important in life.
When I am frustrated with the collection of sinful people that makes up the church, “The Church” reminds me that the Church is the bride of Christ:
And you cannot care for Me with no regard for her
If you love Me you will love the church
When I’m either self-righteous and need to be reminded that I’m a sinner or wallowing in my sinfulness and need to be reminded of Christ’s redemption, “Wedding Dress” helps out:
I am a whore I do confess
But I put you on just like a wedding dress
And I run down the aisle
I just heard “A Savior on Capitol Hill” which starts out with the good message that the government is not for our salvation, but I disagree with the lines:
and as long as the lobbyists are paying their bills
we’ll never have a savior on Capitol Hill
Lobbyists have nothing to do with weather or not we have a Savior on Capitol Hill. No amount of changes will transform the government into a savior. The rest of the song seems to stay with that message, but this if/then construction at least implies the opposite.