Author Topic: National Day of Prayer  (Read 3246 times)

Dan Fienen

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #30 on: May 07, 2021, 12:48:04 PM »
I'll admit that I've never given any attention to the National Day of Prayer during my ministry.  I really can't see the purpose of it, especially since it comes from a government proclamation.  In the church every time we gather for worship is a "day of prayer."  If someone hadn't highlighted it here I might not have even known it occurred.

Completely agree.  I don't pay attention to it either.  I just don't see much purpose in it, as prayer is something that is done every day by the Christian. 

And I think that some people are shocked when I say that I am opposed to prayer in public schools.  When I then highlight the diversity in the classroom and the pressure placed on the teacher and the theology of prayer, then it becomes a little more understandable. 


I agree with you about prayer in public schools. In addition, there is nothing to stop Christians from praying in school privately.
It has been noted, and I think correctly, that they will never be able to completely eliminate prayer in school until they eliminate tests.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Dan Fienen

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #31 on: May 07, 2021, 12:56:11 PM »
The responses in this thread demonstrate the divisions that exist in this Forum and in the society at large.  I have been trying to understand this for some time.  Here is an idea:  "Belonging is Stronger Than Facts."   See today's NY Times.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
Interesting article and I find it on the whole quite credible. I would note, however, that the sharing and believing of false information and fake news is not one sided. How much traction has the notion gained that Donald Trump did not believe that Covid 19 was a real threat and did little to combat it or prepare for mass vaccination? This despite the effort that he sponsored to develop a vaccine in the face of mockery that such a program would at best take years to produce a vaccine.


What did Trump do as president to cause the development of the vaccine to happen faster than it would have if he had done nothing?
He initiated Project Warp Speed that among other things provided money for research that allowed various vaccine developers to proceed with vaccine development without having to be concerned with the financial risk usually associated with the high cost of vaccine development with no assurance of success. It brought together private and public resources in unprecedented ways that resulted in useable vaccines in under a year that normally takes a number of years to happen.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles Austin

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #32 on: May 07, 2021, 12:59:53 PM »
Pastor Fienen writes (and this is why I worry):
As for taking a swipe at the President, you didn't used to find that at all objectionable. I will note that contesting the results of an election and persisting in claiming that the wrong person was elected was not invented by Donald J. Trump.
I comment:
Doesn't matter. This is now. The election was not stolen. This is true. His lying words are fueling sedition.

Pastor Fienen:
Partisan violence was not invented by Trump followers but has been a feature of American politics since the beginning and in the last decade has been practiced also by those on the Left and by followers of Democrats.
Me:
So what? Generally wrong, no matter who does it.

Pastor Fienen:
Violence in the streets and against governmental, even Federal, buildings has been committed not just by people on the Right but also by people on the Left.
Me:
This is why I worry. Focus. Focus! It is not the left claiming that the election was stolen. I was not the left that threatened death to our Senators and members of Congress on January 6. It was not the left that planned to kidnap the governor of Michigan. It is not the left trying to restrict voting rights. It is not the left continuing the spread the lie about the 2020 election. It is not the left who elects QAnon crazies to Congress.
It is not the left who is seizing vicious control of the Republican Party and purging those (Romney, Cheney, et al.) who do not join the cry of lies and the cult of personality.
Do you not see any danger in all of this? Or is you only response the wussy-weak "well, golly gee, I think others have done this, too!"?
Trumpublicans are in a full-out assault on our democracy. Those of you who do not see this, or accept certain things just because you think he is with you on an issue or two are doing great damage.
Oh, and OK, he got the vaccine research underway and can be credited with that. That does not excuse his other deadly blunders concering COVID-19.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Article coming up in Lutheran Forum journal. Now would be a good time to subscribe.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #33 on: May 07, 2021, 01:06:23 PM »
The responses in this thread demonstrate the divisions that exist in this Forum and in the society at large.  I have been trying to understand this for some time.  Here is an idea:  "Belonging is Stronger Than Facts."   See today's NY Times.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
Interesting article and I find it on the whole quite credible. I would note, however, that the sharing and believing of false information and fake news is not one sided. How much traction has the notion gained that Donald Trump did not believe that Covid 19 was a real threat and did little to combat it or prepare for mass vaccination? This despite the effort that he sponsored to develop a vaccine in the face of mockery that such a program would at best take years to produce a vaccine.

I agree that "the sharing and believing of false information and fake news is not one sided."  But in the highly charged partisan environment in which we now live, fueled by this powerful engine of social media, it often comes down to whoever 'shouts' the loudest. 

But "divisions" in this forum are sustained by more than misinformation and so-called 'fake news.'  There are true and honest differences among us which are informed not by false information, but by differing interpretations of the good information we use.  Case in point is our ongoing debates on the Word of God itself.

Unfortunately in the highly charged partisan environment of our times, disagreeing without being disagreeable seems to be a quickly disappearing art. Emotions often overcome reason and our words reflect our anger and frustration more than they do our desire to have an honest discussion.  So we plant our partisan flags and shout from across the street at our 'enemies' on the other side.  And if the emotions rise to a high enough pitch, we take that a step further.  Which is why some people I know have disengaged almost entirely from both watching the news and from social media.


A distinction that seems to have been lost is that between an opponent and an enemy. Lawyers may be opponents in the courtroom, but friends after the trial. Athletes are opponents in the field or on the court, but friends after the competition. Members of congress may be opponents on a particular issue (and allies on other issues,) and friends outside of the chambers. (At least it used to be that way.)


I'm thinking that in some ways, Christians (at least some) have gone the other way. Old Lutheran materials were much more negative towards non-Lutherans. I remember one catechism course that stated that no Lutheran should want to marry a Roman Catholic. Inter-marriage shouldn't be an issue, because they shouldn't happen. When I went to seminary, the Lutheran (at Wartburg) and Roman Catholic students (at Aquinas Institute of Theology) and Presbyterians (at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary) had classes together. A generation earlier, the Roman Catholic students and Lutheran students were not supposed to socialize with each other. The professor who told us this and who was a student back then said that some didn't listen and there were secret meetings off the campuses between students.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

peter_speckhard

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #34 on: May 07, 2021, 01:14:08 PM »
Pastor Fienen writes (and this is why I worry):
As for taking a swipe at the President, you didn't used to find that at all objectionable. I will note that contesting the results of an election and persisting in claiming that the wrong person was elected was not invented by Donald J. Trump.
I comment:
Doesn't matter. This is now. The election was not stolen. This is true. His lying words are fueling sedition.

Pastor Fienen:
Partisan violence was not invented by Trump followers but has been a feature of American politics since the beginning and in the last decade has been practiced also by those on the Left and by followers of Democrats.
Me:
So what? Generally wrong, no matter who does it.

Pastor Fienen:
Violence in the streets and against governmental, even Federal, buildings has been committed not just by people on the Right but also by people on the Left.
Me:
This is why I worry. Focus. Focus! It is not the left claiming that the election was stolen. I was not the left that threatened death to our Senators and members of Congress on January 6. It was not the left that planned to kidnap the governor of Michigan. It is not the left trying to restrict voting rights. It is not the left continuing the spread the lie about the 2020 election. It is not the left who elects QAnon crazies to Congress.
It is not the left who is seizing vicious control of the Republican Party and purging those (Romney, Cheney, et al.) who do not join the cry of lies and the cult of personality.
Do you not see any danger in all of this? Or is you only response the wussy-weak "well, golly gee, I think others have done this, too!"?
Trumpublicans are in a full-out assault on our democracy. Those of you who do not see this, or accept certain things just because you think he is with you on an issue or two are doing great damage.
Oh, and OK, he got the vaccine research underway and can be credited with that. That does not excuse his other deadly blunders concering COVID-19.
This thread is about the national day of prayer. If you're going to emphasize the need to focus, focus on that.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #35 on: May 07, 2021, 01:16:41 PM »
The responses in this thread demonstrate the divisions that exist in this Forum and in the society at large.  I have been trying to understand this for some time.  Here is an idea:  "Belonging is Stronger Than Facts."   See today's NY Times.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
Interesting article and I find it on the whole quite credible. I would note, however, that the sharing and believing of false information and fake news is not one sided. How much traction has the notion gained that Donald Trump did not believe that Covid 19 was a real threat and did little to combat it or prepare for mass vaccination? This despite the effort that he sponsored to develop a vaccine in the face of mockery that such a program would at best take years to produce a vaccine.


What did Trump do as president to cause the development of the vaccine to happen faster than it would have if he had done nothing?
He initiated Project Warp Speed that among other things provided money for research that allowed various vaccine developers to proceed with vaccine development without having to be concerned with the financial risk usually associated with the high cost of vaccine development with no assurance of success. It brought together private and public resources in unprecedented ways that resulted in useable vaccines in under a year that normally takes a number of years to happen.


While this report highlights what Operation Warp Speed [OWS] did, there is no mention of money for research.


While it's impossible to know what might have happened if OWS had not existed. The different mechanisms to stimulate an immune response were already in development. (Our son works for a company that has been doing research on RNA for medical purposes.) It's possible that Trumps OWS got results in months that would normally have taken years. It's also possible that all of his rhetoric about OWS made little difference in the speed that the drug companies were working at creating a virus. I don't think OWS made any difference in the way the CDC gave special authorization for the use of the vaccines once they had been through their testing.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

D. Engebretson

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #36 on: May 07, 2021, 01:19:42 PM »
Pastor Fienen writes (and this is why I worry):
As for taking a swipe at the President, you didn't used to find that at all objectionable. I will note that contesting the results of an election and persisting in claiming that the wrong person was elected was not invented by Donald J. Trump.
I comment:
Doesn't matter. This is now. The election was not stolen. This is true. His lying words are fueling sedition.

Pastor Fienen:
Partisan violence was not invented by Trump followers but has been a feature of American politics since the beginning and in the last decade has been practiced also by those on the Left and by followers of Democrats.
Me:
So what? Generally wrong, no matter who does it.

Pastor Fienen:
Violence in the streets and against governmental, even Federal, buildings has been committed not just by people on the Right but also by people on the Left.
Me:
This is why I worry. Focus. Focus! It is not the left claiming that the election was stolen. I was not the left that threatened death to our Senators and members of Congress on January 6. It was not the left that planned to kidnap the governor of Michigan. It is not the left trying to restrict voting rights. It is not the left continuing the spread the lie about the 2020 election. It is not the left who elects QAnon crazies to Congress.
It is not the left who is seizing vicious control of the Republican Party and purging those (Romney, Cheney, et al.) who do not join the cry of lies and the cult of personality.
Do you not see any danger in all of this? Or is you only response the wussy-weak "well, golly gee, I think others have done this, too!"?
Trumpublicans are in a full-out assault on our democracy. Those of you who do not see this, or accept certain things just because you think he is with you on an issue or two are doing great damage.
Oh, and OK, he got the vaccine research underway and can be credited with that. That does not excuse his other deadly blunders concering COVID-19.
This thread is about the national day of prayer. If you're going to emphasize the need to focus, focus on that.

Thank you.  I am biting my tongue, aware that we were going to avoid this whole political bickering and swiping.  Part of me is so tempted to dive in, but I realize it's that old, dark pit from which little good comes.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2021, 01:20:26 PM »
This thread is about the national day of prayer. If you're going to emphasize the need to focus, focus on that.


Can Lutherans in the U.S. come together for prayer? Will LCMS clergy gather to pray with ELCA clergy? What restrictions might be in place? A report (whether true or not, I don't know) was that when the District President of Kansas was to receive an award from Bethany College (an ELCA school,) he was allowed to participate if it wasn't a worship service; specifically, as the story goes, no vestments and no candles.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

D. Engebretson

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #38 on: May 07, 2021, 01:25:16 PM »
This thread is about the national day of prayer. If you're going to emphasize the need to focus, focus on that.


Can Lutherans in the U.S. come together for prayer? Will LCMS clergy gather to pray with ELCA clergy? What restrictions might be in place? A report (whether true or not, I don't know) was that when the District President of Kansas was to receive an award from Bethany College (an ELCA school,) he was allowed to participate if it wasn't a worship service; specifically, as the story goes, no vestments and no candles.

I suppose part of the answer lies in what one means by "come together for prayer."  In my understanding that is a call for worship.  When people specifically come together for prayer they are coming for a time of worship.

And for what purpose would ELCA and LCMS clergy specifically come together "for prayer"?  That might also answer your question. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #39 on: May 07, 2021, 01:34:52 PM »
This thread is about the national day of prayer. If you're going to emphasize the need to focus, focus on that.


Can Lutherans in the U.S. come together for prayer? Will LCMS clergy gather to pray with ELCA clergy? What restrictions might be in place? A report (whether true or not, I don't know) was that when the District President of Kansas was to receive an award from Bethany College (an ELCA school,) he was allowed to participate if it wasn't a worship service; specifically, as the story goes, no vestments and no candles.

I suppose part of the answer lies in what one means by "come together for prayer."  In my understanding that is a call for worship.  When people specifically come together for prayer they are coming for a time of worship.

And for what purpose would ELCA and LCMS clergy specifically come together "for prayer"?  That might also answer your question.


When I finished up my college at Western Washington (after two years at Concordia Portland,) there were a group of Christians who gathered around the flagpole for prayer. The purpose was to pray and to show a highly secular campus and state (only about 30% churched at the time) something about Christian unity. Growing up in the highly unchurched Pacific Northwest, there was a greater sense of Christians vs. non-Christians than one denomination vs. other denominations that I experienced in the more highly churched midwest.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

peter_speckhard

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #40 on: May 07, 2021, 01:43:23 PM »
This thread is about the national day of prayer. If you're going to emphasize the need to focus, focus on that.


Can Lutherans in the U.S. come together for prayer? Will LCMS clergy gather to pray with ELCA clergy? What restrictions might be in place? A report (whether true or not, I don't know) was that when the District President of Kansas was to receive an award from Bethany College (an ELCA school,) he was allowed to participate if it wasn't a worship service; specifically, as the story goes, no vestments and no candles.
Lutherans come together for prayer all the time across denominational lines. When I get together with non-Lutheran clergy at conferences there is generally some sort of opening prayer. What we don't do is have joint leadership of a service. If I attend a Catholic Mass, I still pray.   

Eugene Crowner

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #41 on: May 07, 2021, 01:48:43 PM »
As to elections, the retirement center where I live had a simple ballot about food choices.

At a later meeting with the Executive Director, one woman was very upset that no one had been watching the ballot box.

Later, I mentioned the discussion to a fellow resident, born and raised in Chicago.  His wry comment was that the woman must be from Chicago.

Eugene Crowner

prsauer

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #42 on: May 07, 2021, 06:16:49 PM »
My experience with these type of events whether hosted by Democratic, Republican, or independent (as in the military) leaders is that they inevitably fall far short of any serious theological substance. If you don't like it, stay away. Or, at least, go to church regularly and vote your choice knowing God blesses that choice.

Peace, JOHN

We hosted a National Day of Prayer event here at Parks Reserve Forces Training Area. The local Assemblywoman that we had scheduled to talk about her family's experiences as refugees from the Holocaust and how that has shaped her public life and service was unable to attend at the last minute. In her place we read President Biden's Proclamation, Ronald Reagan's final proclamation as president (https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/archives/speech/proclamation-5767-national-day-prayer-1988) and in my remarks on the history and purpose of the day I quoted from former president Barak Obama:

"When we pray, we are reminded that we are not alone -- our hope is a common hope, our pain is shared, and we are all children of God. . . In the face of tremendous challenges, prayer is a powerful force for peace, justice, and a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow.  Today, as we join together in fellowship, we seek to see our own reflection in the struggle of others, to be our brothers' and sisters' keepers, and to keep faith -- in one another, in the promise of our Nation, and in the Almighty.

What struck me and some of the other attendees was how flat President Biden's Proclamation was from a rhetorical perspective. Perhaps the contrast was heightened by our use of two of the better "story telling" presidents in recent history, but President Biden's proclamation wasn't very aspirational or hopeful.

I don't expect or want my president to be a theologian - which is why I am not a big fan of the National Day of Prayer anyway. Mainly, I hope for more hopeful words in a world that is increasingly becoming dystopian for many.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2021, 06:42:14 PM by prsauer »

Charles Austin

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #43 on: May 07, 2021, 06:35:45 PM »
I would prefer it if Presidents did not proclaim any national days of prayer.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Article coming up in Lutheran Forum journal. Now would be a good time to subscribe.
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peter_speckhard

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #44 on: May 07, 2021, 06:41:57 PM »
My experience with these type of events whether hosted by Democratic, Republican, or independent (as in the military) leaders is that they inevitably fall far short of any serious theological substance. If you don't like it, stay away. Or, at least, go to church regularly and vote your choice knowing God blesses that choice.

Peace, JOHN

We hosted a National Day of Prayer event here at Parks Reserve Forces Training Area. The local Assemblywoman that we had scheduled to talk about her family's experiences as refugees from the Holocaust and how that has shaped here public life and service was unable to attend at the last minute. In her place we read President Biden's Proclamation, Ronald Reagan's final proclamation as president (https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/archives/speech/proclamation-5767-national-day-prayer-1988) and in my remarks on the history and purpose of the day I quoted from former president Barak Obama:

"When we pray, we are reminded that we are not alone -- our hope is a common hope, our pain is shared, and we are all children of God. . . In the face of tremendous challenges, prayer is a powerful force for peace, justice, and a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow.  Today, as we join together in fellowship, we seek to see our own reflection in the struggle of others, to be our brothers' and sisters' keepers, and to keep faith -- in one another, in the promise of our Nation, and in the Almighty.

What struck me and some of the other attendees was how flat President Biden's Proclamation was from a rhetorical perspective. Perhaps the contrast was heightened by our use of two of the better "story telling" presidents in recent history, but President Biden's proclamation wasn't very aspirational or hopeful.

I don't expect or want my president to be a theologian - which is why I am not a big fan of the National Day of Prayer anyway. Mainly, I hope for more hopeful words in a world that is increasingly becoming dystopian for many.
This dovetails with my thoughts. Not a big fan of the day anyway, and not expecting profound theology from a politician, but hoping for something that doesn't make our default civil religion even more vapid. I don't think Biden writes his own stuff, so I think the generally insipid nature of his remarks probably stem from speechwriters' sensing a greater and greater disconnect between traditional religious practice and modern politics. People are okay with prayer as a therapeutic exercise that has power as such, but not as an appeal to an actual higher power. The advent of people actively saying/tweeting that they don't want anyone's prayers after some tragedy (usually a shooting) is something that never could have happened even a decade or two ago.