Skip to comments.A God of heft: Lecturer says Americans too often pray to gain the unimportant (Mr. Obama's pastor)
Posted on 04/09/2014 5:04:32 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
The man dubbed President Obamas pastor, Joshua DuBois, said Monday night he is dismayed that Americans turn to God to resolve infinitesimally small questions not worthy of the Almighty.
If there is one gnawing sadness I have about the contemporary state of religion in America, DuBois said, it is that instead of seeking Gods name for the big things, the nearly impossible things, the things that stretch faith nearly to the breaking point, that require a strong God, far too often we make God do the infinitesimally small.
God used to get called on for higher causes, but not now, DuBois said, because people are afraid he wont show up. DuBois said people have to take a leap of faith and risk failure on their own. He delivered the annual Noble Lecture, titled Approaching the Ledge: Why America Needs a Crisis of Faith and Why, in Order to Save Religion, We Must Be Willing to Let It Die.
DuBois was special assistant to Obama and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships until early last year. He also is author of The Presidents Devotional, a new collection of 365 inspiring daily prayers and poems that he had sent to the president. He is now a weekly religion columnist for The Daily Beast.
DuBois said people should invoke Gods name when confronting seemingly intractable concerns, such as race relations, same-sex marriage, and raising from 32 percent the number of people with no religious affiliation.
Today, our courageous moral leaders seek Gods intervention for chicken sandwiches and contraceptive pills and whether the movie Noah is an accurate depiction of the Arc, said DuBois, citing conservative Christians. Liberals, too, play it safe, he said. At political gatherings, The Bible has been replaced by The Chomsky Reader. Progressive churches, which led the Civil Rights Movement, have lost their ability to introduce a broken world to the healing grace of God.
Progressive churches dont think beyond a single tweet, rally, or meeting, and since the shooting death of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012, black churches have not coordinated a response to stand your ground laws on firearms, he said.
DuBois also didnt spare those who filled the Memorial Churchs pews.
Weve made God small, crying out to God for our personal comforts and pleasures, he said. A great majority of our religious discourse is built around pedestrian requests. Oh, God, Give me a promotion, multiply my bank account.
DuBois told three stories meant to demonstrate how people in crisis can be rewarded when they approach the ledge and ask for Gods help.
In the Book of Kings, Ahab and Elijah duel to see whether Baal or God is more powerful. Ahabs prophets unsuccessfully call on their gods to accept Ahabs sacrifice, but Elijahs call to God to have his sacrifice accepted is answered with fire from the sky.
In Montgomery, Ala., in 1957, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. overcame threats to his family and continued his role leading the Civil Rights struggle. He said, God be real now, or dont be real at all.
Then, there was DuBois mothers story. DuBois was raised in Cambridge by a single parent who never let poverty deprive her son of a happy childhood. Their VW Beetle had a hole in the floor she called a reverse sun-roof. For his birthday, they sprayed each other at the self-serve car wash.
I remember thinking, I wish other moms were that cool, DuBois said.
But unknown to DuBois, his mother lived in despair, dogged by bills and landlords. One night, in the bed they shared in their small apartment, she considered suicide, he said. She asked God for one last chance.
She walked right up to that ledge and demanded that the power of God call on her that very moment, DuBois said. My mother said she felt a physical presence on her shoulder so firm it startled her, so she knew we would be OK. Instead of her ending it all, it was a beginning, and she was determined to fight on.
Not everyone who asks for Gods help will get it, and thats OK, he said. Jesus asked for Gods help on the cross, and still died, but he was resurrected.
Even if we fall for a little while, after a great and righteous leap, we will soar into the eternal, DuBois said. Even if we walk right up to the ledge and hit the ground, your very imprint will be a masterpiece, and you will be restored like Christ.
The Noble series was established by Nannie Yulee Noble in 1898, to discuss important themes in Christian thought. It is dedicated to the memory of her husband, William Belden Noble, a student at Harvard Divinity School who died while preparing for a ministry career. Past lecturers have included Theodore Roosevelt and Harvey Cox.
Jonathan L. Walton, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals, moderated.
“I remember the good Reverend Ike! He was on the radio down here in the deep south too! “If you want a Cadillac, pray for a Cadillac”! “
Well at least he’s not as bad as Obummer’s former pastor, Rev. Jeramah Wright.
No request is too small for the Almighty if prayed with humility & reverence.
Sometimes I say “Thank you, Lord” several times a day for small prayers answered. Especially when I’ve been ill.
Dear Lord in heaven!
If I need to “rent-a-reverend” for an insignificant requirement, I’ll know who to turn to!
This guy sounds like he knows as much about Scripture as BathHouse Barry Soebarkah knows about....well...morals.
Judgement BEGINS at the pulpit for a reason, sir.
Do you mean to tell me that praying for the stale Green Light, to STAY Green for me, is “unimportant”????
Its only funny because I’ve caught myself do just that.....
I often pray that Obama will be impeached, is that considered wrong or unimportant?
He looks like a layman of heft.
Like "give us this day our daily bread"?
Right after I was born, my parents told me they never wanted to hear from me unless it was a life or death situation. We had such a great relationship. /s
... Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Fathers care.
Any preacher Obama is comfortable going to hear is condemned by that very fact.
The “conservative” religious people I know are very concerned about the murder of 4,000 babies each day. Is that a “little” concern?
I have a hunch this preacher never bothers Obama with concerns about the murder of babies.
Wrong—All prayers are important to God—even the smallest that trouble the soul are important! A hangnale is as important as a the life of a pet, a child or a political party.
The Apostle Paul said to pray without ceasing.
Amen! Casting ALL anxiety on Him because He cares for you! 1 Peter 5:7
That one has been running through my mind a lot lately!
Me too brother, me too.
I always pray before meals and sometimes after also. I'm thinking that you may do that too.
I've also prayed aloud, while driving a car, when God and I are the only ones in the car.
I’m traveling tomorrow. To look in on my Mom who is 93 years young. My wife will join me later.
I pray the Lord to but keep me strong in their service.
He Who Is has delivered both them and me to safety and recovered health far more times than is necessary for my poor reason to both know and affirm His Goodness and the Reality of Him.
Praise be to the Lord Our Savior Jesus Christ!