Monday, December 29, 2008


I grew up watching the Simpsons. I guess everyone in my generation has too but I just can't think of any other cartoon family that represents American society as well as the Simpson family. Although I quit watching the show (except for the occasional rerun) after the 13th season it always brought a smile to my face.

[Now before we go to deeply into this I'd like to touch on a few things. First, it's just a cartoon and the creators' main intentions are entertainment. Second, there is a book entitled The Gospel According to The Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of the World's Most Animated Family by Mark I. Pinsky that I have yet to read but I thought I'd mention for anyone that is interested.]

Is this an accurate representation of American Spirituality? Do Americans pray for personal desires only to completely ignore God when He fails to respond the way we want him to, and then proceed to feed on his syrupy goodness?

Yes, and we also have turned him into a genie in a lamp (or in this case Our Lord Savior wish-granting waffle) awaiting to fulfill our every desire. If a shopper is searching for their ideal parking spot, he/she prays. If a teenage hopes her parents don't find out what she did last week, she prays. Or even if a little boy fears his pet (or his favorite toy car) won't be in heaven, he prays. I'm not saying that prayer is useless or that prayers aren't heard that's not the point. People misuse prayer to satisfy their human needs and wants for selfish gain. Even praying for a safe trip (which I do often) is asking my everlasting syrupy Lord to watch over my own hide.

Even when our prayers seem to be answered we ungratefully ask for more. So we go back to His Maple Majesty and ask him to shower us with his blessings. Eventually God becomes a crutch where you depend entirely on Him for every single aspect of our lives. Why pay the bills when after a quick prayer, and enough faith God will find a way to take care of them.

[This is a picture of an actual product called the Jesus Pan. If you ever accidentally eat your Maplely Lord and Savior you can always replace him using the Jesus Pan. It imprints the image of Jesus Christ right onto your pancake making your Sunday morning breakfast Sacrilicious!]

Should we then abandon prayer? Absolutely not! Both mind and body benefit from prayer as a form of meditation that reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and clears the mind. Prayer connects the Creation with its Creator and with one another. When we pray we keep love and understanding for our fellow man alive.
No harm can be done in prayer except for harmful words. When we pray for our enemies downfall what does that tell us about ourselves? What do we get out of rejoicing in the suffering of other human beings? How can Christians follow in Christ's footsteps of humility while praying for a certain football team to win or to get a bigger Christmas bonus? I am not a pastor I honestly do not know but I can tell you what I pray for. I pray for the ability to understand and love my fellow man in hopes that we may kindle peace. I pray to be more compassionate so that I may share what little I have with those that have much less. I pray for courage so that I might face any injustice I may come across. I pray that if these prayers go unanswered that I have the strength to stand on my own and become a better man.

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