Saturday, October 28th, 2017
IS TALKING ABOUT PRAYER TABOO?
I have to laugh. My daughter just published a book entitled Who The F@ck Am I To Be A Coach: a warriors’ guide to building a wildly successful coaching busness from the inside out by Megan Jo Wilson. (see Amazon). I flinched a little. The word is a little belligerent and brash but works for her ‘tribe’ of new struggling coaches. It is attention grabbing for better or for worse.
Guess what? My book title (available on Amazon as well) has a bad word in it as well. I PRAY ANYWAY: Devotions for the Ambivalent. I thought the bad word would be ‘ambivalent’ or ‘anyway’. Nope the bad word is ‘prayer’. I have been turned down for book readings and the use of venues because “our clientele would be turned off by the title”. The two important words, ‘anyway’ and ‘ambivalent’ don’t even have a chance to register. ‘Devotions’ is almost as bad as ‘prayer’.
F*ck and Prayer. I just ran a twenty person Playshop and guess what? They hated the word ‘prayer’ and the accepted concept of prayer. It was either a dead word or a hated word. One person said prayer needed to be re-branded. I agree. May change the title of second edition of the book.
However, when we dug deeper into prayer talk it got more interesting. Pious is out. It’s seen as self-righteous. Formal prayer feels dead. The question of where people pray got interesting responses. They ranged from riding on a motor cycle moving smoothly through beauty, to time spent in solitude to the Muslim ritual of five formatted prayers a day. There was interesting discussion among this mult-faceted group about what prayer is used for. The Christian background seemed to involve asking for help or strength or miracles. The Jewish members of the group pointed more to prayer as praise only. People seem to have some sort of prayer regardless of belief in God. We talked about miracles too that come as answers or gifts whether prayed for or not. Often there is a seemingly impossible healing or an indication from a person who recently died–a symbol that leaves no doubt even if we try to talk ourselves out of it.
Sound like minutes from a meeting. I guess it is. But here is the I’mportant part. We were in a library talking about prayer in a secular setting–the point being to build community and explore what on earth is going on in religion and spiritual life today. People took to it like ducks to water. Boom, talking easily and intimately immediately. There is a readiness.
I stand with the British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead who said. “I imagine a religious space that celebrates doubt, encourages experimentation and allows one to utter the word God without embarrassment” Amen–or is that a bad word too???