Pray for Obama? No Thanks.

24 November 2009

I’ll make no secret of the fact that I voted for Barack Obama, and I don’t regret the vote. I still support President Obama, and as a disciple of Jesus I follow the biblical injunction to pray for him. (1 Timothy 2:1-2) I did the same when George Bush was president (even though I didn’t agree with many of his policies) and when Bill Clinton was president (even though I didn’t agree with many of his policies).

Pray for Obama?But a new crop of t-shirts and bumper stickers making the rounds in conservative religious* circles makes me sick. (As a note, I won’t call them Christian because they are as opposed to the gospel of Jesus as you can get.)

The sentiment seems great. “Pray for Obama.” And it even has a Bible reference, Psalm 109:8. I mean, what Christian can argue with that. It’s in the Bible, right. Gee, I know the references from Paul’s epistles about praying for your leaders, but I didn’t realize it was in the Old Testament as well. That’s great.

So what does Psalm 109:8 say? (This is from the NIV)

May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.

Gape. blink. blink.

Really? That’s how you follow the command to pray for your leaders? Remind me not ask you to pray for healing or safe travel. Who knows what I’ll get.

The real problem comes from the verse that follows it, and, honestly, if you have to look it up, you’re going to keep reading, right. Why stop with one verse? This is where it goes from just wrong to plain dangerous.

Verse 9 says,

May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.

Why, what exactly does that mean to you? What would be the real world application for your life?

And well meaning (I think) Christians will put this stuff on their cars and their bodies. I didn’t particularly like our last two presidents, but would praying for their demise really be true to what Paul meant? Is that what Jesus was thinking when he told the disciples to pray for their enemies? (Matthew 5:44-45) I don’t think so.

It’s just wrong, and it needs to be repudiated by evangelical leaders. It’s bad Bible, and it is the spirit of anti-christ.

For another response to this, check out Matthew Paul Turner’s post. He has a link to an interview with Frank Schaeffer that is excellent.


Watching the skies

9 November 2009

International Space StationMy kids like space. They love watching the space shuttle launches. I hope we someday get to see a launch live, but for now, NASA TV or a download on my iPod suffice.

Last spring I looked up and saw a solid light crossing the sky. Knowing the space shuttle was aloft, I fired up Google for help on tracking the shuttle movements. I found a great sight called Heavens Above and sure enough, I’d seen the shuttle. So now I’m hooked on shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) passes. It really is quite incredible, particularly when the reflection is at its brightest. It looks as bright as a low flying plane.

This summer Sean and I got to see the ISS pass over trailed seconds later by the space shuttle. It was incredible. Erin has been upset so far because she hasn’t gotten to see the ISS pass over, so last night, after checking Heavens Above, I bounded down the stairs and told the kids to put on their jackets and shoes. Sean drafted Beth to join us in the back yard. We got to see something really cool. The ISS passed almost directly over our house and as very bright, and it got even cooler. About midway through its pass, the ISS started to fade out and then disappeared completely. It had moved outside the light of the sun.

I don’t know why more people aren’t intrigued by these regular passes (the ISS transits the Earth about once every hour and forty minutes), especially when it’s as bright as Venus or Jupiter in the night sky. With a sight like Heavens Above, it’s easy to figure out the best time to watch, and with a shuttle launch coming within the next week, it’s a great time to start.

Really living while chirping about worshiping Joel

7 November 2009

A few blog posts from the week that are well worth reading.

Exhibit 1: The Internet Monk always has some good, thought provoking stuff, but this post about living in the day is truly link-worthy.

Exhibit 2: Jason Boyett admits that he’s annoyed by worship. And if that grabs you, chime in on the follow up post.

Exhibit 3: Matthew Paul Turner takes on the subject of Joel Osteen with his typical wit, sarcasm and on-the-money insights.

Exhibit 4: What the heck is ChristianChirp? Kevin D. Hendricks recaps the rise and fall and rise of the “Christian alternative to Twitter.” No, really, it’s not a joke.

Happy reading. I’m off to the dentist.

Win a Rob Bell book

6 November 2009

I know I’m not very good at posting here. I’ll do better. For the moment, take advantage of a chance to win a copy of Rob Bell’s Drops Like Stars. Check out the Post-Restorationist Perspectives blog for more info.

If you don’t like Rob Bell, don’t bother entering. I’m just passing on the information. And please don’t bug me with the “Rob Bell doesn’t believe in the virgin birth” thing, because you obviously didn’t read the book.

Grace and peace.