Friday, April 03, 2009

Faith v Religion, part 2

Now listen young man...

"Thy will be done" -but in fact we are thinking: "Our will be done," and thus this third petition of the Lord's Prayer is first of all a kind of judgment on us, a judgment of our faith.
-Alexander Schmemann, Our Father
It's difficult for me when I read through the church bulletins and often read through their prayer requests. Do it, I dare you. I'm willing to bet that approximately 90%, if not more, are dedicated to some type of sickness, or some type of job search. This drives me crazy.
Do we really have nothing bigger to ask the creator of all things? Is this as big as our prayers will get? I often want to stand up and shout.
Now, don't get me wrong. Sickness and frailty and pain are very hard. People are hurting and in distress; life is hard. Cancer in a family member is terribly difficult. But the question remains: Is this really what the church is about? Our biggest, most important concerns, are our own health and occupation?
Again, I must state that these are important things, but 90% of our prayers?
The quote above made me think about this. Are we really praying, 'Lord, thy will be done' or are we praying 'God, oh magic genie in the sky, make me feel better'? I tend to think the reason all our prayers are for sickness or joblessness is because it is in those things that we have placed our trust and significance and happiness.
I have a really hard time praying for sickness in church because it is rare that I believe the person asking for prayer truly has good intentions. Are you asking me to pray for you for you, or for the glory of God in all things? Do you want to be healthy in order to glorify God and strive to fulfill the Great Commission and His work in your life, or because you don't like hurting?
The difference is subtle, but do you see it?
One, I believe is because prayer for you is a religious act. It's something you're supposed to do. It's in fad. To pray for God's glory to be revealed through your pain and sickness and weakness, now that is a faithful prayer.
Yes, we should ask God for every desire of our heart, and yes, we want to be healthy and have jobs. But let's truly pray 'Thy will be done' and not 'my will be done.'


ameekuch said...

Bart I like what you have said in the past 2 blogs. It can be a real culture shock sometimes when you get out of a group like Crusade and go to a church where so many are there because it is "what they do". At the same time I do remember much of the same for the majority of the people in my time at OSU. I do believe that the second judement of Christ will be a telling time for many. Few will walk away having recived blessings because they have built with gold, silver and precious stones, and many will be saved, but as one escaping from the flames, because they built with wood, hay and stuble.
I constantly want to seek the Lord in how to pursue Him in spirit and truth, not simply as my religious acts.

ameekuch said...

That comment was acually bill not amee, but eh, ya can't win em all.

Bart said...

I agree Billy.
And I commented on this on the other post also, but I know I'm kinda jaded having essentially been raised in a para-church missions organization I've a long way to go to truly cherish everything church has to offer. I sell it, and the people in them, way to short far to often.

Anonymous said...

What's up Bart. This is Curtis. I checked out your blogs, read a few of them, and now have a few questions. But I'll tell you where I'm coming from first. I don't consider myself to be religious and am perfectly all right with that. I believe in something more than what is on this Earth, God, but do not agree with organized religion for many reasons. Mostly because of its corruption on all levels throughout time and their effort to seek out the all mighty dollar.
Now if I understand the "Current Situation" blog correctly you are trying to raise money for Campus Crusades but in these hard economic times it is difficult and you are relying on a few churches and select people to keep it up. And that you seek their help both financially and preyerfully. And that also God seems distant during these hard times. And the reply above mine leaves a quote about building with gold, a monetary tool, instead of hay and wood. Now this quote to me seems a little contradictory since you are seeking funds to do your ministry and wondering where gods help is when the funds are low and despair has set in. Will this not be a judgement passed upon you when that day comes then?
Now my second question pertains to the blog called "faith vs. religion pt 2." Here you speak of people who pray for a good job and sickness. Now getting a good job is something I agree can be done on your own without God's help. But I also see prayning for this as a persons way of finding the strength to maintain in these hard economic times such as you are doing when you try to find funding for your minstry. Does the churches financial problems out weigh the average JOe's problems. And if so then who is the church designed to help besides those with money. The churches you reach out to are for both prayer and funding. Is that not somewhat hypocritical of the first blog I mentioned. Now as far as praying for someones health, I do not think their is one single thing wrong with that. You are the company you keep. I rarely pray, but when I do, I do it because it is something that is out of my control, such as cancer, and am seeking some help or guidance. Would you not put a sick friend or family memeber in your prayers everyday if they were sick and dying. Or would you just consider them to be a lost cause or going to a better place? If someone feels that praying for someones health is what cures them should they not utilize this for their own comfort at least?
Now I am not at all trying to come off hostile or challenge your beliefs. I just felt that I needed to express my thoughts and feelings about these certain subjects and hope to get some feedback on your thoughts about all this.,. I would 100% like to hear back from you.
I'm gonna try and come up to Canton for Todd's Bachelor party so maybe I'll see you there. Later on man, Curtis