Monday, December 15, 2008

Bah humbug

I just read an e-mail forward that was actually an inspiring, real-life example of generosity. It involved a deserted woman with six kids who struggled to find a job. Even after she found a graveyard-shift job, she paid half her wages to a teenage baby-sitter to sleep on her couch every night, had to air her tires every time she drove and was patching on top of patches on her kids' clothes. Times were tough.

After working a busy Christmas Eve shift (and having mysteriously received new tires earlier), the woman returned to her car to see it full of brand-new presents and necessities. The implication was that her regular diner customers had secretly been attuned to her needs and provided accordingly. The story ends with her drive home, in tears of joy as the sun dawns on the best Christmas ever.

Or, it should have ended there. But instead, it devolves into a missive on THE POWER OF PRAYER. "God still sits on the throne, the devil is a liar," the message continues.

I'm a largely secular person who perhaps dwells on the negative more than he should. But I can't help but roll my eyes at this sentiment. People may find solace in prayer, but the idea that good luck comes because of it smacks of competitiveness - as if those who endure suffering just aren't thumping enough. Well, I'd venture to guess the percentage of people who pray in the world is somewhere in the high nineties, but that doesn't mean anyone's listened to most of them, apparently. So when people credit prayer for their good breaks, they should also realize that other factors are at play, and understand that someone who is worse off may be that way by virtue of something other than not praying enough.

And to its credit, the message ends with this: "If you can spare a little, help someone in need this Christmas. Let's all remember the real meaning of Christmas and share that with others."

Agreed. Because miracles ultimately lie with us. As Mister Rogers once said, "Wishes don't make things come true." And he was an ordained minister.


rhonda said...

i'm going to write my own email forward about what IIII find comforting and spiritually uplifting. it'll tell the heartwarming tale of how you, me, the pope, jeffrey dahmer, horatio sans, and every other stiff out there who ever was, is, and will be gets eaten by the same fucking worms at the end. so it goes, forever and ever, amen. i'll call it "live <3, <3 die, worms <3 <3 :)" there will be no mention of prayer indiscriminately fixing everything, and on the off chance that i should need to mention them, i shall spell the word "angels," not "angles." i'm pretty sure everyone i know will just eat that shit right up, just like i swoon with joy when i get their jesus junk mail. ah, what the hey, i'll just save myself the trouble of being respectful and discerning and send that bitch over to everyone in my address book. people have no choice but to bend over as i shove my beliefs straight up their asses, huh? yeah! email 'em all, let allah sort 'em out. i think that's called religious freedom...or something??! yay.

Chris said...

As a Christian who thinks differently than most Christians, I am of course a praying man, but here's my take.

Sometimes the answer is yes.
Sometimes the answer is no.
Sometimes there is no answer.
Sometimes God straight up slaps me across the face.

Everyone should be careful for what, and how they pray.

I can't ever understand God, nor should I ever try.

That being said, I'll pray for whomever sent you that email forward. :)

P.S. Nice game this weekend, you had a breakout performance as a WR. SANTA BOWL SUNDAY!