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Thank you for the video response to this question!
I liked the grounded-in-your-experience aspect of how your concept of prayer evolved. I wonder if all religions started in our attempt to control what is beyond our control. I agree this won’t do, have always had reservations about all the asking when we are “God’s hands” on earth.
I guess if we ask for SPIRITUAL help, it makes sense. If, for example, you had asked God for strength during the hard times of your first wife’s illness—that seems reasonable to me.
Right now, my favorite cousin is facing a probably fatal dianosis from cancer. I am upset, to say the least. Is it not reasonable to ask God for help in being supportive of her and in managing my own emotional response? So the emotions don’t overwhelm the ability to support?
I spent some years with A Course in Miracles, which says right off that prayer is the channel for love to move between God and us. That’s an appealing idea to me, though not too clear about how to do it. I doubt it means another repetition of the Lord’s prayer. Praying to a presence, rather than a person,is a big change. My concept of God is far from clear. Just finished year two of EFM, and getting that educated about what’s really there in scripture also brings me to the sea of unknowing. You relating your evolution in prayer to life experiences encourages me to let my concept develop relating to what life throws at one in the final decade or so of life.
Can’t really conclude this. Thanks for the example.
Thank you for the commentary on prayer. I have always had difficulty with ritual prayers. I am now trying to live my live as Jesus taught . I volunteer with hospice and the time I spend with others at the time of death becomes holy time. Your words. validate my feelings. I have read several of your books and I have learned much. I am 83 years old, guess it is about time. Thank you Blessings to you. Ann
Ann, it’s nice to read your understanding of John Spong. I have been his follower for over a decade and never get tire of his message.
I too, have taken care of terminal hill people, and give them all my Love. That would have been the message from Jesus and That’s what the Creator put us here on this Grain of Sand of the Universe to practice the Primary Principle of Life – JOY. Enjoy the Life that the Good Lord planted in you and Spread that Joy to all those that you come in contact with. He will put them in your path. You will be filled with the Glorious Spirit and you have more to pass on to others.
May the Good Lord give you strength to carry on.
Prayer: Listened to the speech on prayer. I have read a lot about prayer. One of the Vicars I have had says that God listens to prayer and says, “NO.” Well isn’t that comforting? Out here on the head waters of the Nueches we pray for rain. I could guess a couple of hundred thousand people are praying and gettin zero for the effort. My personal view of prayer was confused until I figured out it was just me takling to myself about stuff that may or may not have anything to do with anything. I can pray for Syria or Nigeria or President Obama and the out come is always the same. Nothing happens unless someone does something one way or the other.
Let me add one thing. In Niger twentyfive years ago I was in a small village with a sick child. The whole village gathered in the long house (sort of) and they all chanted and sang. The witch doctor who went to the Sorbonne told me that everyone in the house had a positive attitude toward the child. They all gave off positive vibes (hippy talk) and the child got better. Was it the energy or was it just chance? Who can say, it may have been Xiveoso and the chicken that was offered to him?
A beautiful answer as usual. I look forward every Thursday morning to our weekly lesson from John Spong. I have learned so much from them and the Q and A. I also like to go into the archive for more treasures. I am a better person because of them. Thank you John Shelby Spong. Jim in Ireland.
Your books ,weekly epistles and your videos have rejuvenated my faith in the Way of Jesus .
Reading A New Christianity for a New World was so constructive and inspiring after your wake up call in Christianity Must Change or Die ! I am so grateful that God is Still Speaking to us through your amazing work as biblical scholar, teacher and communicator par excellence. You have truly uncovered and revealed so beautifully the God we meet in Jesus for generations to come. Shalom.
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