Penance

What does penance have to do with a Houston commuter bus? Everything.

You’d think that as a person who commutes daily in one of these bad boys, I’d be exempt from having to prostrate myself before Gaia for sins committed against her.

Wrong. Last week, on the way home, I was one of 2 passengers in one of these buses (they seat 55 passengers). I don’t know what the carbon footprint of such a colossal waste of fuel is (High Priest Al Gore couldn’t be reached) but I’ll utter 250 Hail Gaia’s.

I’ll even throw in an additional 250 for commuting for the wrong reasons. You see, my primary reason for riding the Metro has nothing to do with “saving the planet” and everything to do with saving my aging vehicle and reducing my stress footprint. If this helps “save” the planet, that’s just gravy.

In case you’ve run afoul of Gaia, here is the Hail Gaia so you too can be forgiven for your emissions,

Hail Gaia, who floats in space
Al Gore is with thee.
Verdant art thou for us humans
and verdant are those who recycle
old freezers.
Holy Gaia, Mother of all,
pray for us sinners,
now and when we buy carbon creds.
Amen

Yes, it’s a rendition of an old Catholic prayer but we do it the Vaselines’ way.

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Coach Wooden’s Nightly Prayer

Sports Illustrated’s Arash Markazi recently had the privilege to sit down with legendary basketball coach John Wooden and he reports on it in the following piece, “Breakfast with Coach Wooden”.

Here’s Wooden (on the left of course) with one of his most famous pupils, Bill Walton,


ASUCLA

Markazi’s article contains the prayer which Coach Wooden says before falling asleep. Here it is,

The years have left their imprint — on my hands and on my face — erect no longer is my walk and slower is my pace. But there is no fear within my heart because I am growing old; I only wish I had more time to better serve my Lord. When I’ve gone to him in prayer he has brought me inner peace, and soon my cares and worries and other problems cease. He’s helped me in so many ways, he’s never let me down, why should I fear the future when soon I could be near his ground. Though I know down here my time is short, there is endless time up there and he will forgive and keep me forever in his love and care.

Awesome

Prayer Police

You’ve got to pray just to make it today

Not sure what the flamboyant M.C. Hammer (right) meant by that but prayer is an integral part of the Christian (and perhaps even the faux Christian) walk. In America, people (Christian or not) pray before football games, at church (of course), but not schools where the ubiquitous “moment of silence” reigns supreme.

Insofar as the Bible is concerned, there is no prescribed method of prayer. In God’s Word, people pray kneeling, standing, sitting, lying on the ground, with hands lifted up, or silently.

In America we prefer to do so with our eyes closed and heads bowed. Of course, this does not mean that all supplicants do it this way.

Exhibit A:

Original image by Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

This was taken during last week’s GOP convention (Gasp!). That guy wouldn’t fare too well in the theocracy Republicans are accused of lusting after.

When I saw this shot, it made me think that maybe we need prayer police in our churches. To make sure that some of the more recalcitrant among us, comply with our preferred method of prayer.

I’m not saying we should go crazy and make this a ministry or anything, but perhaps we can give church ushers some implement to enforce correct prayer posture. Doling out “prayer monitor” armbands wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Just a thought…

Unanswered Prayers and the Prosperity Gospel

So I’m sitting on the bus on the way to work when a woman sits next to me. Turns out she is a sister-in-Christ. After identifying one another as Christians, she revealed to me that she was in seminary.

Go Metro!

She was telling me about the things she was learning there and how blessed she had been by them. It’s good to hear testimony like this, I thought. One of the things she learned was that if you need something (in her case a car) all you have to do is ask God for it and He’ll give it to you.

Of course, the implication is clear that if He doesn’t then you don’t have enough faith (a favorite text is Matthew 17:20). A lack of faith is the cause of unanswered prayer.

It became evident that she was being instructed by a seminary awash in the so-called Prosperity Gospel.

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Our Own Private Exodus

Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt? — Numbers 14:3

This is what the Israelites said after God (or according Disney, Promenade Pictures) led them out of bondage in Egypt. They complained and whined despite of all the things God had done for them, mainly brought them out of slavery and promised them a land flowing with milk and honey.

Thanks be to God, the wife and I just bought our first home. This home has been an answer to many prayers from different people. This home became ours through what many would say an advantageous set of circumstances, we, of course, know that luck has nothing do with this or any other thing that happens in this universe.

It’s been a week since moving in (with the help of friends and family) and we have spent the better part of this last week complaining and griping about little things in the house that need work.

In moments of honesty we even started hoping we were back in our old apartment. My wife in her wisdom pointed out that we sounded like the Israelites after they were led out of Egypt.

As God’s promises were being fulfilled, we (like them) griped and complained as we enjoyed God’s provision and blessings. We thank God that He gave us this understanding to appreciate his bounty so we can use this home He has given us for His glory.

Nancy Pelosi Prays for President Bush

I think everyone pretty much understands that current House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and President Bush aren’t the best of friends. For starters they are in different political parties and their ideologies seem to diametrically opposed.

Regardless of what one thinks of Pelosi’s ideology and/or voting record she must be commended for what she does for the President.

george-bush-and-nancy-pelosi.jpg

According to this story, “Pelosi prays “all the time” for Bush to change policies.”

A sample,

“First of all, I pray for President Bush all the time, and I pray especially hard that he would sign the children’s health bill because it’s so important for America’s children,” she said on Fox News Sunday. “I pray that he makes the right decisions for the American people.”

Perhaps Madame Speaker has read the Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy,

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

Whether she prays for President Bush with sincerity is another question and one I’m afraid God is the only One capable of answering, but her actions remind all of us to pray for our leaders, whether or not we agree with their agendas.

What a great reminder for all us to pray for our Nation’s leaders regardless of their or our political leanings.