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A God of heft: Lecturer says Americans too often pray to gain the unimportant (Mr. Obama's pastor)
The Harvard Gazette ^ | April 8, 2014 | Edward Mason, Harvard Correspondent

Posted on 04/09/2014 5:04:32 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

The man dubbed President Obama’s pastor, Joshua DuBois, said Monday night he is dismayed that Americans turn to God to resolve “infinitesimally small” questions not worthy of the Almighty.

“If there is one gnawing sadness I have about the contemporary state of religion in America,” DuBois said, “it is that instead of seeking God’s name for the big things, the nearly impossible things, the things that stretch faith nearly to the breaking point, that require a strong God, far too often we make God do the infinitesimally small.”

God used to get called on for higher causes, but not now, DuBois said, because people are afraid he won’t show up. DuBois said people have to take a leap of faith and risk failure on their own. He delivered the annual Noble Lecture, titled “Approaching the Ledge: Why America Needs a Crisis of Faith — and Why, in Order to Save Religion, We Must Be Willing to Let It Die.”

DuBois was special assistant to Obama and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships until early last year. He also is author of “The President’s Devotional,” a new collection of 365 inspiring daily prayers and poems that he had sent to the president. He is now a weekly religion columnist for “The Daily Beast.”

DuBois said people should invoke God’s name when confronting seemingly intractable concerns, such as race relations, same-sex marriage, and raising from 32 percent the number of people with no religious affiliation.

“Today, our courageous moral leaders seek God’s intervention for chicken sandwiches and contraceptive pills and whether the movie ‘Noah’ is an accurate depiction of the Arc,” said DuBois, citing conservative Christians. Liberals, too, “play it safe,” he said. At political gatherings, “The Bible has been replaced by ‘The Chomsky Reader.’” Progressive churches, which led the Civil Rights Movement, “have lost their ability to introduce a broken world to the healing grace of God.”

Progressive churches “don’t think beyond a single tweet, rally, or meeting,” and since the shooting death of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012, black churches “have not coordinated a response to ‘stand your ground’” laws on firearms, he said.

DuBois also didn’t spare those who filled the Memorial Church’s pews.

“We’ve made God small, crying out to God for our personal comforts and pleasures,” he said. “A great majority of our religious discourse is built around pedestrian requests. ‘Oh, God, Give me a promotion, multiply my bank account.’”

DuBois told three stories meant to demonstrate how people in crisis can be rewarded when they “approach the ledge” and ask for God’s help.

In the Book of Kings, Ahab and Elijah duel to see whether Baal or God is more powerful. Ahab’s prophets unsuccessfully call on their gods to accept Ahab’s sacrifice, but Elijah’s call to God to have his sacrifice accepted is answered with fire from the sky.

In Montgomery, Ala., in 1957, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. overcame threats to his family and continued his role leading the Civil Rights struggle. “He said, ‘God be real now, or don’t be real at all.’”

Then, there was DuBois’ mother’s story. DuBois was raised in Cambridge by a single parent who never let poverty deprive her son of a happy childhood. Their VW Beetle had a hole in the floor she called a “reverse sun-roof.” For his birthday, they sprayed each other at the self-serve car wash.

“I remember thinking, ‘I wish other moms were that cool,’ ” DuBois said.

But unknown to DuBois, his mother lived in despair, dogged by bills and landlords. One night, in the bed they shared in their small apartment, she considered suicide, he said. She asked God for “one last chance.”

“She walked right up to that ledge and demanded that the power of God call on her that very moment,” DuBois said. “My mother said she felt a physical presence on her shoulder so firm it startled her, so she knew we would be OK. Instead of her ending it all, it was a beginning, and she was determined to fight on.”

Not everyone who asks for God’s help will get it, and that’s OK, he said. Jesus asked for God’s help on the cross, and still died, but he was resurrected.

“Even if we fall for a little while, after a great and righteous leap, we will soar into the eternal,” DuBois said. “Even if we walk right up to the ledge and hit the ground, your very imprint will be a masterpiece, and you will be restored like Christ.”

The Noble series was established by Nannie Yulee Noble in 1898, to discuss important themes in Christian thought. It is dedicated to the memory of her husband, William Belden Noble, a student at Harvard Divinity School who died while preparing for a ministry career. Past lecturers have included Theodore Roosevelt and Harvey Cox.

Jonathan L. Walton, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals, moderated.


TOPICS: Moral Issues; Prayer; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: homosexualagenda; obama; prayer; trayvon
Got that?
1 posted on 04/09/2014 5:04:32 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverend_Ike


2 posted on 04/09/2014 5:06:41 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Paladin2

“I remember the good Reverend Ike! He was on the radio down here in the deep south too! “If you want a Cadillac, pray for a Cadillac”! “


3 posted on 04/09/2014 5:08:41 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Well at least he’s not as bad as Obummer’s former pastor, Rev. Jeramah Wright.


4 posted on 04/09/2014 5:12:59 PM PDT by Vinylly (?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

No request is too small for the Almighty if prayed with humility & reverence.

Sometimes I say “Thank you, Lord” several times a day for small prayers answered. Especially when I’ve been ill.


5 posted on 04/09/2014 5:26:09 PM PDT by elcid1970 ("In the modern world, Muslims are living fossils.")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Jesus asked for God’s help on the cross, and still died,

Dear Lord in heaven!

6 posted on 04/09/2014 5:30:39 PM PDT by missnry (The truth will set you free ... and drive liberals crazy!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If I need to “rent-a-reverend” for an insignificant requirement, I’ll know who to turn to!


7 posted on 04/09/2014 5:55:51 PM PDT by RetiredTexasVet (Unintended Consequences: Expanded Autism Spectrum now includes the entire Obama Administration)
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To: missnry

This guy sounds like he knows as much about Scripture as BathHouse Barry Soebarkah knows about....well...morals.

Judgement BEGINS at the pulpit for a reason, sir.


8 posted on 04/09/2014 5:59:27 PM PDT by Mortrey (Impeach President Soros)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Do you mean to tell me that praying for the stale Green Light, to STAY Green for me, is “unimportant”????

Its only funny because I’ve caught myself do just that.....


9 posted on 04/09/2014 5:59:55 PM PDT by G Larry (There's the Beef!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I often pray that Obama will be impeached, is that considered wrong or unimportant?


10 posted on 04/09/2014 6:14:28 PM PDT by Mastador1 (I'll take a bad dog over a good politician any day!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

He looks like a layman of heft.


11 posted on 04/09/2014 6:22:25 PM PDT by RichInOC (Jesus is coming back soon...and man, is He ticked off. (I'm trying to keep it clean.))
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
far too often we make God do the infinitesimally small

Like "give us this day our daily bread"?

12 posted on 04/09/2014 6:24:35 PM PDT by Excellence (All your database are belong to us.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Right after I was born, my parents told me they never wanted to hear from me unless it was a life or death situation. We had such a great relationship. /s


13 posted on 04/09/2014 7:12:36 PM PDT by Kandy Atz ("Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want for bread.")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

... Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

Matthew 10:29


14 posted on 04/09/2014 7:48:40 PM PDT by left that other site (You shall know the Truth, and The Truth Shall Set You Free.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Any preacher Obama is comfortable going to hear is condemned by that very fact.

The “conservative” religious people I know are very concerned about the murder of 4,000 babies each day. Is that a “little” concern?

I have a hunch this preacher never bothers Obama with concerns about the murder of babies.


15 posted on 04/09/2014 9:06:09 PM PDT by Arthur McGowan
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To: Paladin2

Wrong—All prayers are important to God—even the smallest that trouble the soul are important! A hangnale is as important as a the life of a pet, a child or a political party.


16 posted on 04/09/2014 9:15:35 PM PDT by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The Apostle Paul said to pray without ceasing.


17 posted on 04/10/2014 12:03:31 AM PDT by kaehurowing (FIGHT BULLYING, UNINSTALL FIREFOX)
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To: Forward the Light Brigade

Amen! Casting ALL anxiety on Him because He cares for you! 1 Peter 5:7
That one has been running through my mind a lot lately!


18 posted on 04/10/2014 1:16:32 AM PDT by karatemom
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To: elcid1970
Sometimes I say “Thank you, Lord” several times a day for small prayers answered. Especially when I’ve been ill.

Me too brother, me too.

I always pray before meals and sometimes after also. I'm thinking that you may do that too.

I've also prayed aloud, while driving a car, when God and I are the only ones in the car.

19 posted on 04/10/2014 8:11:28 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (God is not the author of confusion. 1 Cor 13: 33)
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To: Graybeard58

I’m traveling tomorrow. To look in on my Mom who is 93 years young. My wife will join me later.

I pray the Lord to but keep me strong in their service.

He Who Is has delivered both them and me to safety and recovered health far more times than is necessary for my poor reason to both know and affirm His Goodness and the Reality of Him.

Praise be to the Lord Our Savior Jesus Christ!


20 posted on 04/10/2014 8:55:56 PM PDT by elcid1970 ("In the modern world, Muslims are living fossils.")
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To: elcid1970
To look in on my Mom who is 93 years young

My mother is also 93, born November 19, 1920.

21 posted on 04/11/2014 4:17:46 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (God is not the author of confusion. 1 Cor 13: 33)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
This so-called "preacher" knows nothing of the extent of the attributes of The God. One wishes that the Lord would stop his mouth when he diminishes the power and love of God.

It is exactly in the small things that He shows His concern and love surrounding us, and builds our faith in great things that concern Him.

Would Jesus offend a little child by ignoring his/her boo-boo?

What about a boy's lunch of a couple of small fish and some bread?

Or does God ignore a widow's poverty in that she could not give a bite of refreshment to a prophet passing by?

This person professing to know The God needs to pray for a grasp of faith and spiritual discernment in the smallest things. He certainly is not fit for anything "larger." He can't handle what he's got, IMHO.

22 posted on 04/12/2014 5:37:39 AM PDT by imardmd1 (Fiat Lux)
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