Having been raised in “The Church,” it’s been hard for me to separate communal religion from personal religion and Christian relationships from my relationship from Christ. Thankfully, I was born into a poor family that attended church with much more well off people. Thankfully, I was also branded a sinner fairly early on and ostracized from the “Inner Circle.” I say “thankfully,” because without the obligations and expectations, I’ve been given the opportunity to search for my path, make up my own mind, and work out my own salvation with much less of the shame and guilt that seems to plague those Christians who do the right things.
To this point, it’s been a pretty picturesque journey. Oh, not in the vacation photo sort of way, but rather, in a National Geographic photo essay sort of way. Even more so, if you’ve seen Samsara, that’s also looked to me like my journey through this life which is part and parcel with my journey with and toward God. Now, however, I’d like to get back to the basics. We’re talking about prayer in the church right now. As you can imagine, I have no patience for much of the communal prayer I hear, although I respect the motive behind it. It seems to me that if God is the same God of legend and still invested and active in the world around us now, lip service is the last thing we should offer. Nonetheless, we’ve been talking about prayer in church. The pastor (Dana Hadden) has challenged the congregation to take 5 minutes a day to both read something from the Bible and pray.
I don’t mind a challenge now and then if it makes sense and has a high probably of success. Self control of the disciplinary variety is one of the fruits of the Spirit that hasn’t matured in me yet. Even so, this challenge seemed pretty elementary and valuable even wrapped in promotional material. It was a little like a Happy Meal.
So, I’ve taken the challenge. Honestly, I drive 1.5 hours a day and this is often my time to pray and ponder God and the universe and the mechanism of life and the puzzle of existence. Now, I’ll be more pointed in that. There’s a reason, but that will, hopefully, become more apparent soon.