Old BRog

i'm blogging, despite my creative incompetencies and cognitive lackings

Friday, May 06, 2005

I thought I learned my lesson
I should know better than to post when I don't have a lot of time. I attended the National Day of Prayer event at my local city hall on Thursday. There were at least two meetings that took place in Abilene honoring this day. The Abilene Interfaith Council met and had representatives from 10 different religions/denominations offer up prayer for the country. The other meeting was organized and composed exclusively of Christians.

My wife and I work at a Christian University. However, just before we were to leave for the prayer meeting at city hall, my wife's boss gave her a warning. She said that some co-workers were extremely upset about the interfaith gathering and one was quoted as saying that "their prayers would only be offered up to the air." Normally, I would ask what you think of this and how you may have handled the situation, but not this time.

It perplexes me to think of why Christians would show up at the interfaith gathering with tracts containing the gospel and hand them out at such an event, denying to participate in the event as a whole. I received two tracts, one from a student at the University that I had led in New Student Orientation just a few years earlier. I graciously received the tract(s), hoping that I would not be erroneously identified or associated with this breed of Christian. My wife wouldn't even take the tracts. I have nothing to fear by sharing in a prayer service with people of other religions. Apparently, I am in the minority. Our country was founded with this privilege in mind. Too many Christians are comfortable being in the majority and are blind to the fact that not allowing or encouraging these types of gatherings is a threat to our own religious freedom. To the Christians who were at the interfaith meeting handing out tracts, I say this:
Think about others before you try and force your own beliefs on them. Would you want to receive a Muslim or Buddhist tract at a prayer event? Live your life of faith in Christ, and live it loud--but replace your tracts with some heart-felt and genuine concern for your brother (maybe even sit down and listen to their struggles) and you can rest assured that the seed has been planted. Then, have faith that God will continue to grow that seed and He will include you where he needs you.


  • At Fri May 06, 11:28:00 AM, Blogger BJ said…

    I think you have the right idea. We are told in the Bible not to judge, but to rejoice in others. In other words, we rejoice because they are God's creation, even if they do not believe the same way or even in the same god.
    Jesus always showed compassion on people and saw to it that their needs were met. Take Marks recording of the feeding of the 4000(Mark 8). Jesus was concerned about the people well being knowing that if he sent them away with out food that they would not make it home. He new their need and met it. Some many people are in need of love and I blieve it is our responsibility to show it to them in the most real way possible: God's love. One of the best ways to do that is to do just as you said, sit and listen to them. Take their problems and concerns as if they are you own.
    I think you hit the nail on the head their. We (that means me too)are so often tied up with religious technicalities that we for get to love.

  • At Fri May 06, 02:00:00 PM, Blogger Walt said…

    Sorry for handing you that tract.

    Seriously, thanks for going. I wish now I had attended. By being there you spoke a message louder than any tract--and not to those of other faiths. The people I know of the council already understand love. The ones who hand out tracts need to see people like you actually living out a genuine faith. They are the ones who need to hear. Thank you for witnessing to those who need it most.

  • At Mon May 09, 09:45:00 AM, Blogger Cameron said…

    Great post. I want to amplify something Walt mentioned: your presence at the event is more effective than a tract.

    In my opinion, tracts are for people who are spiritual infants. The folks attending an interfaith gathering are generally not spiritual newbies. Handing out tracts at such an event would be insulting to me if I were one of the ones receiving them.

    I think the better witness is what you and Walt mentioned. Attending the meeting and conversing with people of other religions in an intelligent and loving way would be much more effective in that setting. I also think it would be a great witness if more of us level-headed Christians would attend the meetings. BTW, how can we keep up-to-date on these when these events happen?

  • At Mon May 09, 11:27:00 AM, Blogger kab_live said…

    great thoughts-thanks for sharing

  • At Tue May 10, 09:52:00 PM, Blogger Emily the crazy one :D said…

    Wow ... you are about fifty thousand times cooler than me ... because I read about that in the paper and I was like, "Which one would I have gone to?" And I can tell you, I thought, I would've probably gone to the all-Christian one. And then God showed me how stupid I was being again. >.<

    You are totally right about how going to the interfaith meeting was ... well ... not better, but right? You know. Like, I'm sure the all-Christian meeting had good intentions, but they kind of missed the point ...

    I did that the other night. I was reading my Bible and my little sister asked me to help her with her homework. I actually said (get this) "Can you wait five minutes? This is my time with God." And as soon as that popped out of my mouth I could hear God say something to the effect of, "Honeychild, you have totally missed the point again." :P So I called her back in and helped her with her homework.

    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings." I almost missed that point. Well, scratch that, I completely missed it, and lucky for me God hit me between the eyes with a sticky note attached to a brick. He is so cool that way. :D


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