When Prayer Becomes a Joke and Protestants Go Too Far: Restoring Reverence and Awe in the Everyday
The way in which we approach God demonstrates what we think of God. Some see him as a loving Father, a terrible tyrant, an awe-striking omnipotent being, or a homie to giggle and laugh with. And while at times God does seem like these qualities, he is not one of these things to the exclusion of the others.
Considering myself neither Protestant nor Catholic (nor Evangelical, Orthodox, or any other such label) has placed me in an interesting and insightful middle-ground. I like to see how and why people approach God in the ways that they do.
This is far more than just a curiosity displayed by a religious studies student. This is formative.
How do I think of and approach God? How was I taught and do I really believe what I am saying through the actions and religious habits that I have formed?
One particular group that gets a bum rap are the Catholics.
While Catholics and “religious” types are often harped on, being criticized for their rituals, traditions, and the “meaningless” babblings that they spout out at any given moment, Protestants seem to approach God in an even more flippant and meaningless way.
None of this is universal of course, but these traditions and approaches say much about how we think of God.
For the Catholic, God is so transcendent, infinite, holy, and separate, He could never be approach “willy-nilly” or haphazardly. We must cleanse ourselves and purify our hearts and hands (literally).
Our prayers should be structured. Intersession is required through priests who have dedicated their lives to serving God and through those already in our Father’s presence.
And while odd to those in Evangelical circles, their approach to Christ is seen as equally strange—and down right blasphemous.
In fact, prayer can easily become a joke when not taken seriously. Ultimately, when prayer is made into a joke, God is seen equally as such.
Take, for example, the prayer of Legendary Car driver “Ricky Bobby” from the humorous film “Talladega Nights.”
And while done in a humorous and comedic fashion, the vision of Christ is telling. He is a “golden dipper wearing” baby, a smelly bum, and the lead singer for Lynyrd Skynyrd.
No less strange is the prayer by Pastor Joe Nelms. His prayer seems to had been taken straight from the fictional character “Ricky Bobby.”
But is this the proper way in which to approach the infinite God? Was this even a prayer directed to heaven or a mockery of a prayer said for the laughs of those in a stadium?
To be sure, this prayer has become a source of mockery and laughs by many—especially those who do not follow Christ.
And while not many of us have our prayers “Songify’d”, I wonder if we are just as culpable of ridiculous and human-centered prayers.
Booogidy Boooooogidy Boooooogidy Amen.
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