Stories and tales from a guitar-picking writer, theologian, speaker, blogger and entertainer. From small town quirks to the bizarre realities of family, whacky church life and slightly damaged kinfolk, insights from a reluctant son of the South takes you along. Never know where it’ll end up but it’s sure to be worth the trip.
We have been horrified by a Russian army that uses banned weapons. By order of their war criminal President, they kill civilians. The Russian army has invaded a free sovereign nation. Vladimir Putin, as the agent of evil, spews the same language of grievance that Hitler used to deceive his nation into a grandiose lie.
God, pour out your judgement on him and those who bow to him, but also on us who watched him do it before and said little. Bring the world together to do Your will. Grant us discernment to choose actions in a sea of difficult and hazy choices. Save us from blaming, indifference, excuses and disunity. Fill us with a spirit of relentless self-sacrifice and determination to jam a spoke in the wheel of evil.
Forgive us for turning our eyes away from sin and misery. Help us to stare at this moment and see. Prepare us for the long fight for the helpless, the refugee, the vulnerable and the truth.
In this season of Lent, call us who call ourselves Christians to give cheerfully and sacrificially when it hurts to do it, to feed and clothe and heal and help. May we fast from indifference. May we repent of pride, resentment, division, and unrighteousness.
Help us to take up practices and disciplines of deep resolve and fierce action that express a living and genuine faith. If they have lain useless by our distractions and misbegotten selfishness, wake us. In the weariness of a world with too many temptations and escapes, help us to focus. Help us to walk with each other, hand in hand, for the sake of all the is worth saving and for the sake of Your Kingdom. But let us never mistake soft sentimentality or smooth words for faithfulness.
This our painful Lenten prayer. Through Christ our Lord, Amen. ashwednesday2022
Civic prayers are perilous, and yet unless we would make the exercise completely a matter of private preference, we venture with trembling now and then out into the public square. As a Baptist I am squeamish about these places, sensitive to the realities of those gathered, but also to the potential to trivialize prayer (“so we can get started”). Still, there is something about the heady moment of freedom to act in public, understood or not, to call out to that which is deepest within and among us. I write prayers because there is nothing particularly more virtuous about an unthought about prayer that makes it superior. If anything, our “spontaneous” prayers can be crippled by the habits of mind that tend to bring the same structures and words about without careful reflection. A good editor doesn’t diminish words but strengthens them. I always try to think carefully about what I say about God, representing God, and to God that it be the best I have in that moment. I offered this prayer at the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce, before busy people who all needed to be somewhere next pretty soon.
O what a tangled web we weave when we try to voice what we believe!
We affirm that you are in control—and that it is all up to us.
In our political life, we talk as though our nation is falling to pieces
And it is also the greatest nation on earth and that nothing can stop us.
In our personal lives, we call out in the helplessness of crisis,
And then remember the scripture that says that through you we can do all things.
No wonder it sometimes looks odd to those who watch us without joining us.