Friday, November 09, 2007

what preachers aren't preaching #005


Preachers rarely talk about Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:5-13. You know: “don’t pray like those hypocrites who stand up in church meetings and on street corners to be seen by men. Go where no one can see you.”

“And oh yeah, by the way, don’t keep on babbling wordy nonsense”.

What exactly do these words mean?

If this passage is as literal as it sounds, how do these words of Jesus weigh up with: a) christians rallying against lack of prayer in school and b) public outdoor prayer assemblies like the National Day of Prayer events held downtown every May?

How come preachers don’t emphasize praying behind closed doors and out of the sight of other people?

14 comments:

mike said...

"How come preachers don’t emphasize praying behind closed doors and out of the sight of other people?"

i am sure some do. who is to say that some don't? i am pretty sure i have heard a sermon or two encouraging exactly this position from the pulpit at my little church.

Agent B said...

Nice.

So, I take it that the preachers at your church aren't active participants in public prayer ordeals and scandals?

That is rare. Treat your preachers well, because folks like them are a find.

mike said...

no i am fairly certain that neither of the current pastors at that church have been involved in any "scandals" or "ordeals."

maybe they have prayed in public. i dono. i don't really care. i haven't talked to them in a while.

but i am certain that they don't take one passage and run with it to its illogical conclusion.

have you plucked out any of your eyes, or cut off any limbs lately?

no? so are some passages "truer" than others? are some to be taken more literally than others?

sounds like more christian legalism to me. you choose to read that book this way, someone else reads it another. why is your interpretation more valid than any other? but that is just my opinion - which isn't worth shit.

Agent B said...

"but i am certain that they don't take one passage and run with it to its illogical conclusion."

Aw great. So now I'M your newest punching bag to pick a fight with?!?

Come on, I miss the old fletch. What's with this crotchety "mike"?

This post, like almost all the others, is just a bunch of questions. I don't have the answers. Just asking. No illogical conclusions were meant.

I am speaking from a point of witnessing many local pastors doing anything possible to get their face out there, like a celebrity. Thus, my limited view from asking these questions.

"have you plucked out any of your eyes, or cut off any limbs lately?"

Well...no.

But I figure if we all took that one literally, everybody would be a bunch of deaf, dumb, blind quadriplegic eunuchs.

At least, if we were honest.

mike said...

not picking a fight. just calling it as i see it.

fletch is dead, long live mike.

"I am speaking from a point of witnessing many local pastors doing anything possible to get their face out there, like a celebrity. Thus, my limited view from asking these questions."

ok so why not just say that? why take this one text and use it as a context for making a point? and so what if they want celebrity? what is that to you? maybe that fits in their view of the world. and how do you know that every pastor who prays in public is seeking celebrity?

if you don't take that one literally then why do you take any of the others that way? could your jesus have been speaking about a specific group of people at a specific time doing specific things and could it be that context isn't directly parallel to our time? could it be that public prayer (which happens a lot in the bible) isn't what is being condemned here?

you aren't just asking questions, you are passing judgment on people because YOU believe they are seeking celebrity.

what the fuck do i know right, i am just a construction worker.

Agent B said...

what the fuck do i know right, i am just a construction worker.

I'm just a lumberjack.

could your jesus have been speaking about a specific group of people at a specific time doing specific things and could it be that context isn't directly parallel to our time?

Good points. And that's what I'm getting at here: dialog and input from people who aren't me.

I read this passage and I wonder how it fits with all the locals who gripe about not being able to pray at schools, etc.

Maybe it doesn't fit. Thanks.

mike said...

the point to be made about locals who want prayer in school is that they are fundi fucktards who don't get that we are a pluralistic society under the rule of law, not a theisitic society under the rule of a religious text.

if they want to pray in school no one is stopping them. they just can't make everyone else pray.

they are ignorant. that is the point to be made. why not just come out and say that?


i haven't begun to be grouchy.

carl said...

I remember going to the national day of prayer event in front of city hall a couple of times on my lunch break (city hall was right next to my workplace back then). I admit I was a tiny bit embarrassed being there. Not thinking "will anybody see me as a hypocrite?" but rather, "will anybody see me and think I'm weird?"

Today, I see the national day of prayer as being a "grey" area which could either be selfrighteous or geniune.
I'm with Mike about school prayer.

I don't fully get public prayer. I think private or secret prayer is more effective in that it protects us from possibly becoming self righteous.

carl said...

... but I guess someone can still be selfrighteous even if they pray privately. Now I'm confused.

Talitha koum said...

I am thouroghly , painfully confused. Prayer is real and true. Prayer is communion with the Lover and Creator of the Universe. Prayer is spiritual warfare against the forces of darkness for a war that has already been won supposedly by the Christ saying it is finished at his death. Prayer is what then, a declaration or spiritual covering withthe blood of the lamb if you believe in the lamb of God. Or it is bathing in goodness and pure thought and dwelling on all things good and lovely. Public prayer is a declaration of what- this is who I am, this is my tribe, there is strength in numbers, we are not ashamed, we stand for one nation under our God. But is you don't stand with us you have another one? I don't know anymore. AS it was pointed out to me. My joy is gone right now. I am bitter and "offended". Questioning things way too big for my britches.Feeling pretty alone these days.

Agent B said...

All:

I am thinking these words of Jesus (Matt 6:5-13) go hand in hand with the previous four (1-4).

Thus, this "not praying and babbling before man" is more about staying humble and out of sight (like our giving should be as noted in 1-4), as opposed to more religious legalism.

Therefore: what does that look like?

And thus, why don't preachers preach on this: humbleness, being invisible, etc?

...as opposed to seeking out face time on TBN, charisma mag, local news with their prayer agendas, etc.

miller said...

OK, first thing i want to say is i think everyone gets your point about the preachers...

but the more interesting question to me is the "what does this look like?" question.

if it truly is about being humble and out of sight, why is it about both? can you and i no longer pray together? if i hear you praying to yourself on the job (as i do on occasion) are you screwing up like the TBN preachers?

i don't think its necessarily about humility or about being out of sight at all. i think its about why we're doing it. are we doing it for accolades or are we doing it because we can't stand not to talk to Papa?

i don't know...

peace

Agent B said...

"OK, first thing i want to say is i think everyone gets your point about the preachers..."

Well good. Because I was beginning to wonder.

But don't think for a second that the "what preachers aren't preaching" series is over yet.

"i think its about why we're doing it. are we doing it for accolades or are we doing it because we can't stand not to talk to Papa?"

That's what I'm digging for.

Thanks for the input.

ConcernedEngineer said...

The Bible also says that we are to pray without ceasing, that we are to let our light shine, and that we are to declare the praiseworthy deeds of God to the next generation.

Also, the Bible seems to indicate that parents - not the state - are the ones who have the responsibility and authority to educate their children. And Jesus was quite clear that we should be rendering those who bear God's image to God, and that which bears Caesar's image to Caesar. Children bear God's image.

By the way, Mike. This fundie clearly understands that we live in a pluralistic society. That is, we live in a polytheistic society where idolatry is systematically institutionalized in the classroom, the media, the halls of Congress, and the economy. The whole world is under the control of Satan.

Colossians 2:8 - "See to it that no one takes you captive by hollow and deceptive philosophies which depend on human tradition and the basic principles of this world - rather than on Christ."

Also... love your enemies.