A V-formation flock of geese seems to have one member of the group as the leader, but each member takes its turn at the point of the V, leading the way as the others in the formation honk in encouragement. The geese stay together, even when one becomes sick or injured; the group stays with it until it is well enough to continue the journey at its regular pace.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
NO SUBSTITUTES PLEASE
Give me the real deal.I'm not fond of artificial sweeteners, fake eyelashes, or phony
apologies. Carob doesn't satisfy me when I want chocolate. It annoys me to pay
for a product and receive a substitute in its place. This may seem like an odd
analogy, but I feel the same way about those politically correct non-prayers
that substitute for denominational prayers at public gatherings.
Many years ago I attended a special service at a centuries
old Catholic cathedral.The priest, in what
no doubt was an attempt not to offend the many non-Catholics attending, recited
some vague bit of poetry about nature's beauties instead of offering a Catholic
prayer.I was disappointed.I was in a Catholic church, I wanted and
expected a Catholic prayer.
I've come to very much dislike the bits of poetry, the vague
references to some euphemism, random references to some force of nature, and
empty moments of silence that substitute for prayer at many public
gatherings.In our zealousness to not
offend anyone, we've become atheistic worshippers of a non-god, followers of a
pessimistic religion of doubt.
When visiting a synagogue, mosque, revival meeting, or
Christian Sunday School, I want to hear the prayers of the people who ascribe
to those faiths.I don't want them to
cater to my beliefs.When I attend a
public meeting, I want to experience the prayers that have meaning for those
who attend the meeting.I want to
experience the richness of prayers given by those of other cultures and faiths.
There are those who deem public prayers as
unconstitutional.I don't agree.Prayers are only unconstitutional if they are
mandated to be of a particular denomination.My fifth grade teacher made each of us in her class responsible for the
prayer on a rotation basis (down one row, then the next, so we each had a turn
then started over.)We could say the
prayer ourselves, have clergy come, or skip the prayer for that day.It was our call on our assigned day. As the
only Mormon in the class, I found it a great opportunity to learn how others
prayed and what was important to them.When I worked for the legislature I had a similar experience when each
day someone different offered the prayer and we heard from religious leaders
from Reverend Francis Davis, an imam, a rabbi, LDS General Authorities, and
many local protestant leaders.
For those of faith there is something deep and meaningful in
prayer.For those who profess no belief,
it is an opportunity to build group cohesiveness and discover what matters to
others.To me prayer is both of these
things and I feel cheated when that opening appeal for divine guidance is
skipped or a substitute is offered.Even
when a prayer feels strange and not of my choosing, I consider it an
educational opportunity.When it's an
honest appeal for those of diverse beliefs to work together, there can be no