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Speak For Yourself

chairswed.jpg I learn best through self-reflection and meaningful dialogue, an exchange of authentic living language spoken without agendas. I value independent thinking and resist formula and dogma.

I recently attended an event for a touchingly human cause. At the end of the day more than a hundred people gathered together in a circle of solemn solidarity. It was not a religious event, although some church groups were present. A preacher took the stage and led the group in a prayer.

My heart was open but soon my sense of peace gave way to unease. I may have been in the minority but his “prayer” about Jesus dying for our sins went on much longer than I expected and left me feeling lectured to rather than inspired. I felt it was a missed opportunity to build on the sense of shared humanity present by speaking in a more inclusive and unifying way.

I so appreciate it when people put their feelings and beliefs in their own words and resist the urge to spout rhetoric or the party line, whether its political, religious, or new age.

Comments

Some preachers just like the sound of their voices a bit too much!! Also, they figure they should give it "their all" while the audience is captive.

As a non-Christian, I try not to take such things personally and of course, since the "perpetrators" don't understand my position or even know about it most of the time, it can't possibly be personal. I have found that silent mental chanting and a silent dedication of merit help me to maintain a peaceful mind in these situations and this enables me to see the misguided yet good intentions of others in a more forgiving light. These are excellent opportunities for metta practice and you seem to be a metta-filled person. Thanks for sharing.

i am very much like you in this regard. i think the mission of "saving" gets interjected into or confused with the mission of simply "being" together as one. it is always such a disappointment when this happens, whether in a large or small group.

last week I had the opportunity to visit your mother.
We had a fine chat and it came to talking about her
flower garden being overtaken by weeds and I offered
to pull some around the area of the window she looks
out to view the flowers.

As I was surveying where to start at this monumental task,
rather than weed the flower bed which was overgrown and
very hard to reach, I spotted a path that runs by the side of
the house to the front.

I have to tell you Colleen, weeding is never easy,
but while I was sitting there sweating in the hot New England sun
with the big white bucket and small shovel and weaving a nice
path for your mother to enjoy those early morning strolls,
it gave me time to continue the grieving process of losing my
father-in-law, my wife's father at the ripe old age of 92, that was
the reason for this visit up north, we had the funeral in Quincy,
his home town. Your mother did me a favor in letting me have
time in this kind of therapy to console my soul!

I agree that sometimes preachers go on too long or even people praying in general aloud. But they truly believe in everything they are saying and feel that if they expose Christ to you, you in turn may be saved. They want to help get you to heaven. Some are pig headed about it. I prefer pastors or elders/members who try to get to know people and live by example personally but this area is full of fire and brimstone believers. Unfortunately they think they know best for everyone in the world period! It would be nice that if in non-church events they could tone it down to make everyone feel peace and love.

Thanks for that sweet little story that I can see as if I was watching it, Stuart.

The preacher did that at my mother's graveside funeral service and I don't think I have ever forgiven him. He spoke about my mother very little but went on and on about religion. It was not what I wanted for the final words said over her.

I like Rick's comment and feel similar to what he said and I feel I am a christian.
This is a good topic and makes you think. xo
PS I love the story that Stuart Barden wrote too. Ma mentioned that he had helped her weed and she truly appreciated it.
Thanks Stuart!!

Just wanted to stop by and say hi! I thought of you yesterday as we were driving back to Brevard from Maryland, and we passed an exit for Floyd. One of these days I'm sure we'll meet. :-)

Yes, and Floyd is worth the stop!

I wonder if it is not a case of preachers speaking the language that they know. In a "foreign" setting, I imagine that it is easier to speak the language that you know than to be open to learning a new one ....

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