Our nation’s woes. Prayerfully Get to Work.

(Here is the entire piece I wrote for Religion News Service about patriotic prayer rallies).

The smoke had barely cleared from the Fourth of July
festivities when the headlines spelled out the story of the most dismal economic recovery since the Great Depression.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the economy is lagging on a number of key indicators, including “employment growth, unemployment levels, bank lending, economic output, income growth, home prices and household expectations for financial well-being.”

This left me rather glum and took a bit of the glow off the patriotic fervor of the Independence Day celebrations. We once were able to throw off the Brits, but it seems we can’t break free from this bad economy.

Then an e-mail came in with word that help was on the way.  Religious folks who feel politicians should stop running for something and start standing for something had finally found their man: Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Perry has called a Day of Prayer and Fasting on Aug. 6 in Houston, and has invited his 49 fellow governors to participate in the event at Reliant Stadium.

Perry’s proclamation added to the list of woes, citing the global economic downturn, economic disaster, terrorism and wars around the world. “Given the trials that have beset our country and world … it seems imperative that the people of our nation should once again join together for a solemn day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our troubled nation.”

The news forwarded by a dear friend didn’t have the desired effect on me.

Over the years I’ve watched Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and others call Americans together for various prayer events with a lot of speeches and a little prayer. They’ve filled stadiums as religious celebrities march onto the stage to urge God-fearing folks to take their country back for God.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a follower of Jesus, I believe in prayer, I love my country and I honestly do not wish to judge the motives of folks planning these public displays.

But let’s at least be honest and admit that most of our nation’s economic woes can be traced back to our disobedience — individual and collective — to the laws of common sense that are rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Read the Bible and you’ll discover our faith frowns on debt big time. Yet by 2007, U.S. households collectively borrowed the equivalent of 127 percent of their annual incomes to fund purchases of homes, cars and other goods.

Maybe instead of big public prayer events, God-fearing folks ought to stay home, balance their checkbooks, cut up their credit cards, live within their means and then privately ask God’s forgiveness for mortgaging their children’s future.

But it doesn’t stop there.

According The New York Times, during this current economic crisis the compensation of the 200 highest-paid chief executives at large corporations increased by 23 percent in 2010 over the previous year.

Maybe instead of the hoopla of big public prayer rallies, God-fearing folks ought to join with other stockholders and demand that executive compensation be brought back to the land of reality.

The White House Council of Economic Advisors reported that the government’s stimulus package cost taxpayers of $278,000 per job created.

Maybe instead of the fanfare of big public prayer rallies, God-fearing folks who have gotten their own financial house in order ought to demand that their government do the same.

“Pray as though everything depended on God,” St. Augustine once said. “Work as though everything depended on you.”

I am not opposed to public prayer on behalf of our nation, I guess I just think it is time to prayerfully get to work.


Posted in Staublog in July 12, 2011 by | 1 Comment »

One Response to Our nation’s woes. Prayerfully Get to Work.

  1. rob on July 12, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Well said. I’m tired of politicians using religion to win votes and can’t believe that God-fearing folks don’t see through this. Oh wait, I think they do. It’s the non-God-fearing religious types who don’t. We know what passion Palin created on the “right” with your sincere faith. Perry is probably trying to tap into some of the same energy. 🙁

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