Sunday, November 29, 2009

Website takes prayer requests, reminds you to pray, an Ozark, Alabama-based website, offers prayers for those who sign up. It also encouranges you pray for other members' requests.

The site is envisioned as a Facebook for prayer warriors, which sounds like a capital idea. But then there are the cheesy bracelets sold on the site. They're hooked to pagers and vibrate when someone you've agreed to pray for needs. it.
Emblazoned with "AGAPE," the Greek word for brotherly love, they come in Buzzing Black© , Royal Blue© and Perfect Purple© and are "designed to be worn by anyone, young or old, male or female, using a stylish, adjustable band."

Although the site charges $49.95 for a charm bracelet and $79.95 for the plastic vibrating pager bracelets, CEO Sam Pitts tells The Birmingham News, "You don't have to buy anything for the prayer. ... It's no different from publishers making money from printing Bibles. Nobody complains about that. How can a church operate if nobody gave?"

Well, OK. Just be forewarned that Pitts once owned National Credit Savers and National Credit Center, which The Birmingham News reports were cited as the subject of federal injunctions in the 1993 annual report of the Federal Trade Commission. Pitts paid $300,000 to settle allegations his companies deceptively marketed credit cards through direct mail and 900 telephone numbers, the newspaper quotes an FTC report.

Of course, all of us have things in our past we're ashamed of, but you should make your purchases with open eyes. You can close them as you pray if you wish.

We might want to pass along a note to the webmaster, too, about that pop-up video you watch when the site first loads. That first speaker's hand goes to an inappropriate place a few times vis-a-vis the photo of the praying young woman on the left. Perhaps they could scoot that guy down a bit.

And if you don't want your left hand to know what your right is doing, order one for each wrist.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Praying for Obama Bible verses

“Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” --Psalm 109:8

That's the Bible verse being used on bumper stickers and T-shirts as a jab at President Barack Obama. It's meant to be funny, but not everyone is laughing, partly because the next verse reads, “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”

People sporting it on cars, torsos and in e-mails say either they were unaware of the next verse or that they purposely didn't say 109:8-9 because they didn't mean for Obama to die, just leave office.

Still, it's not very Christian. Even if you disagree with everything Obama stands for, using Bible verses to either make fun of spew hatred toward him is, well, unbiblical.

Feel free to criticise his policies. If you believe they are extremely harmful, say so. If you want to be clever equate him with Stalin, Mao or even Hitler. If you think he's the Antichrist, you can say that, too. But to use a verse that was used in the New Testament to refer to Judas, who killed himself, is deplorable.

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God," the Apostle Paul notes in Romans 13:1. That doesn't mean we aren't to criticise our leaders when they are wrong -- especially since God has placed us in a free society in which we are given the right -- and duty -- to vote.

"In 1 Tim 2:1-2, it says to pray for those in authority. Paul the apostle was not talking about a believer in authority," a person purporting to be John Piper notes in the comments section of The Christian Science Monitor story.

The comments section also naturally draws people critical of Christians "exposing themselves for what they really are: mean-spirited, self-righteous hypocrites."

That's true of some. The non-mean-spirited Christians aren't jumping on the Psalm 109 bandwagon.

And, as Jesus noted, not everyone who says to him "Lord, Lord" will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Some of them are, as Kierkegaard noted, merely a "Christian of a sort."

So the thing to do, if you believe Obama is evil, is to pray for his salvation.