Agree or Disagree: The Lords Prayer should be kept out of schools. A perspective from someone who prays.


“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
    but deliver us from the evil one.[b]

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 6:5- 15 (New International Version)

It is rather unfortunate that a concept like prayer has turned into an attempt to prove that we as a country are a “Christian Nation”.

It is also rather unfortunate that a concept like prayer is something that people feel is being imposed on them.

Because prayer is not that at all.

Prayer is actually a beautiful spiritual practice. It grounds you, it can give you peace and perspective. It can give you comfort in a time of mourning.It can also give you strength in a time of weakness. 

It’s not a show. It’s not something to use to make one feel inferior and others fells uncomfortable. It’s not a magic potion that solves the world. It is a powerful practice that many that have participated in have benefited from.

It is rather unfortunate that we are having a debate about whether or not the Lords Prayer should be kept out of schools. Why? Because I really feel that prayer has been misrepresented. 

If we look at the above words from Jesus, we will notice something. First, Jesus calls this practice to be in secret. Example,

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Second,He also challenges our words. Example,

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

This is all done before the Lords Prayer is actually recited.

Prayer was being used a political gain for many who were “religious”. And Jesus challenged it. And quite frankly, I think He might challenge some of the thinking of those wanting the Lords Prayer in schools. Why? 

Because as well intended the idea is, the problem is not everyone prays. Not only that, prayer is not something that God forces upon people Himself. There is an invitation to pray. But it is not forced. Therefore, if there is a perception by some that they are being forced to pray something that is not meaningful to them, then we missed the mark.

However, for those that feel that  prayer should be kept out of schools, I would say that you are missing the mark as well. Many wise and well practiced people have taken the practice of prayer seriously. You might not know them, because they have taken Jesus words and have done it in secret. But they are out there.They are not trying to impose anything on you, but they know the effectiveness of prayer and continue to pray to this day.

Should the Lords Prayer be kept out of schools? I’m not sure that’s the right question anymore.

 The question we should ask is what is prayer in the first place?

 

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Agree or Disagree: Scriptures provide comfort during difficult times


Agree or Disagree: Scriptures provide comfort during difficult times

This was a picture I saw during the recent floods in Calgary.

In times of difficulty, many offer an inspirational Scriptures to offer hope, comfort, and peace. They believe being that the Bible is that source of comfort.

However, sometimes these well meaning verses can come across patronizing. I have seen them invalidate pain and grief. Also, remind people that because of their “sin” this “trial” has happened to them. That God is judging them or testing them. And they need to repent.

So for those who value the Scriptures, how do you find comfort in them in difficult times? And what is an appropriate way to use the Scriptures in difficult times?

Agree or Disagree: Christianity preaches a Watered Down Gospel


I must warn you, this video might come across harsh.

This is a preacher named Paul Washer. He is well respected by some Christians because he is speaking “truth”.

He and many other Christians feel that the gospel Christianity preaches is watered down. It lacks conviction, purpose. It is fluffy. The word grace is overused.

Paul Washer ends this part of the video. And he like so many others would tell you this is the gospel.

“My job as a preacher is to preach God as He is. So Holy, So great, So magnificent, that He is unattainable. And I’m to preach that man is so low, and so despicable that even carnal Christians would be offended by my sermon.

And only then would Christ become so necessary, that man would be a fool to turn from Him.”

Do you feel that the Gospel has been watered down? That we’ve strayed from truth. From conviction for the expense of “cheap grace”?

Or, would you side with a statement that someone like Rob Bell would say?

The Good News is better than that.

3 Questions to ask about Pope Francis


We have all had time to digest the decision to elect Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as the new Pope. He is the first Pope to be elected outside of Europe. 

 

Bergoglio comes from a Jesuit Priest background. He has lived a simple humble life. He has preferred to drive by subway and bus. He has spoken up and supported the poor.

 

Not surprisingly he is conservative.He opposes  same sex marriage, abortion and contraceptives.

 

He is not without controversy. He has been implicated in the detention of two young priests during the military dictatorship in Argentina from 1976 to 1983. He was also questioned about his support and protect church workers during that time. Bergoglio has denied the detention and he has been defended in his efforts to support church workers during that time.

 

Pope Francis comes in at an interesting time. The Catholic Church has some issues right now. The biggest being the sexual abuse scandal. However let us not overlook issues divisions in the church, decline in attendance, and bureaucracy from the Vatican.

 

It is from this, I bring forward three questions for discussion. 

 

If you had an opportunity to have a one on one conversation with the New Pope, what would you say to him?

 

Do you anticipate or hope for any changes in the Catholic Church under Pope Francis?   Be it changes in approach or changes on some of the key issues facing the Church?

 

One of the things I found interesting was the decline in attendance in the Catholic Church was Catholics going to Evangelical churches. Particularly in South America. Now, this needs to be said. Many Evangelicals approach to the Catholic church has been  quite frankly insulting, and ignorant.  Is it possible to improve this dialogue between the two groups?

An Open Letter to Christians who attacked Barack and his Christian supporters


Dear Christian Community.

 

I write this to you as a Canadian. As a Christian that loves Jesus, the Bible and the United States of America.

 

On Tuesday, you had the privilege of choosing between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

 

You had a tough decision as there were many issues that came forth. The country re-elected Barack Obama to be President.

 

I’m aware that there are some ideas and differences between what you think and what Obama stands for. You would argue that Obama does not represent Christian Values. You have argued that Romney stands closer to Christian Values.

 

This concept of Christian Values is what I would like to discuss with you.

 

Once the declaration of Obama becoming President was announced, some of your opinions and your views really came to light. Here are some of the things I read online.

 

“He is not my President”

“He is worse than Hitler”

“If you voted for Obama, you are not a Christian. You are evil.” 

I personally had a fellow that called himself an “Apostle” say this one to me when he found out that I supported Obama:

 

“No I am not wrong, Kevin you are going to Hell. You do not face truth, why don’t you get on phone with me and get real salvation, you cannot prove me wrong, you speak like a fool, and you are not saved.  Kevin I have not pride, I have the Word of God”.

 

This is not an uncommon behaviour. Some people reported that they had been offered to be “prayed for” for their support of Obama.

 

As it seems with some of you really like the words of Paul, I thought I would point out a verse that he wrote in Galatians which is found in Chapter 5 verses 18 through 22.

 

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…

 

Since Tuesday, to be frank, you seem to be lacking some of the fruit of the Spirit. And it is being noticed, not only by your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ of either side of spectrum, but by the former or the as you would call it the “lost”. 

 

And I think you should hear some of the comments they have said back. This from Christians and non-Christians alike:

 

“It appears to me that modern Christians have actually forgotten the lessons taught in the book they profess to believe.”

 

Another one. This from a Christian:

 

“This is motivated by FEAR. Intimidation. You cannot be a ‘Christian’ without True Life and Peace and Joy and Kindness and Gentleness and Self Control… decency and love and power. One CANNOT. there will be many surprised when they are unseated (by ‘their’ God ~ as He says “away with you, I never knew you”, actually…. you don’t represent Me or in fact know Me).  They will be accountable for not using their freedoms wisely while they had freedom here on earth… for parroting others and not understanding the Gospel that brings life but has no fear in it. None. The ‘Creator’ they ‘believe’ in, in fact does not exist. The angry avenger who asks us to hurt those around us into submission?? IT IS NOT CHRISTIANITY……. that is foolish doctrine of insult and scorn.”

 

 

You see what is happening? People read the Bible. They are not “blind and deaf”. They know the concepts of Jesus, and the Old and New Testament. They know His teachings. And they are doing exactly what some of you have asked. They have repented. Meaning they are turning away from your anger, your scorn, your judgement. Some of them far from the church.

 

So I’m asking you as a brother in Christ to consider something. Instead of proclaiming the end of the world, realize that the world around you needs you to participate in an intelligent dialogue. Not invalidating ones faith because they disagree. Our faith and salvation is not based on a ballot box.

 

There is no question, and we can agree that no matter who won, there would be deep issues to discuss. Let’s use the fruit that God has given you to lead the discussion back to the issues at hand. Stop speculating the allegiances of Obama or Romney, which is none of your business. Focus on how we can make this earth better.

 

To those who have, I would like to thank you for bringing in intelligence to the discussion. I think it is ok to disagree with policies and thoughts. Of that, no matter what side you are on, that is important.

 

Because you will not be “caught up in the air”. Jesus is not returning tomorrow. Armageddon has not begun. You still have an earth that God has put you here for.

 

Please participate responsibly.