Once again, I read where Mr. Exum has blessed us by descending - or is it condescending - from his mountaintop, to offer us the straight skinny on the mind of God and all things theological - a subject, given the number of folksy polemics he's penned, on which I'm sure he feels eminently qualified to wax ad nauseam. I do hope he'll forgive me while I note that this latest ditty resembles the distinct sound of one hand clapping - his own.
As an observer of the controversy at Lakeview - Fort Oglethorpe High School, this most recent flap at UTC, and all the faux-outrage that surrounds them, it's readily apparent that these matters have little to do with theology and Christianity, and a lot more to do with ideology. What these pious protesters want isn't "Christian prayer" at all. What they really want is sectarian prayer and tribal prayer. It's a theologically reverse - engineered prayer that presumes the mark of a Christian is one whose theology and dogmatics begin and end with a hermeneutic that defends and reinforces the biases and prejudices of their own tidy little subculture. Sadly, it's also the mark of a people in possession of a very small God - a God that's constantly in need of Mr. Exum's and their help, all in order to somehow set the world straight.
In my own church and Christian tradition we have a name for these puny little gods - gods whose mind is so easily discerned and manipulated. These are the gods that the great theologian Karl Barth once referred to as nothing more than humankind "speaking of man in a loud voice and calling it God". We call them idols.
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Roy Exum's criticism of UTC Chancellor Roger Brown on the new "moment of silence" policy implicitly raises a question: who is this God to whom Exum prays? It can't be the God who for thousands of years has been acknowledged as omniscient, omnipotent -- and of particular relevance to the UTC issue, omnipresent.
That power obviously means God doesn't have to be "invited" to a football game; he's there already. Exum casually denigrates Chancellor Brown by asserting, foolishly, that he has "kicked God to the curb," whatever that means, and that God now feels he has been "excluded" by Brown, a man Exum believes will leave UTC at month's end with a tarnished legacy.
Exum is angry that a pre-game prayer has been replaced with an "absolutely ridiculous" moment of silence, but there is of course nothing wrong with the latter. It allows anyone who wishes to pray for the home team and maybe even request divine retribution on the visiting team. Or many in the audience can simply do nothing, which is exactly what many did when pre-game prayers blared from the loudspeakers.
Exum's gnat-like criticism will not diminish Brown's fine record at UTC, nor will his obtuse accusation that chancellor "will now be most remembered" for having kicked God out of the UTC game on Thursday. Oh, nonsense.
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As a Christian, I find his article highly offensive. Who is this man to speak as if he knows the mind of God? God does not need an invitation through prayer to be present at a football game. This is ludicrous and insulting. God is omnipotent and present everywhere at all times. A prayer is a prayer, whether you do it in silence or as a group. God does not need our permission to attend a football game. Whether we pray or not He will attend if He so pleases.
The freedom that we have in this country to practice our religion the way we please (or not practice any religion, for that matter) is guaranteed by our Constitution. If we would like to continue enjoying our freedom to practice our religion as we see fit, and not by mandates, we should respect and support its authority.
In this article, Roy Exum uses God's name in vain in order to push his political agenda. It is pitiful and insulting.