Since this Grace Notes is going to be available very close to the end of October, I thought that a little Halloween theme might be something interesting. One of my favorite “spooky” movies is the 1984 Ghostbusters. This movie does not take place during Halloween, which while it is a great movie, including that holiday would have made it even better, in my opinion. Nonetheless, the notion of being able to defeat, capture, and contain malevolent supernatural creatures (as well as mega-marshmallow manifestations) appealed to my younger self. That and nostalgia keep me a fan.
This week I read an article in Sojourners by Jim Wallis. The article is entitled “An Altar Call for the Election.” Now Lutherans do not do altar calls. If we did, I do not think it would be about an election. But the point of the article is more substantial than that. The altar call Wallis is speaking about is a call to take our identity seriously when we go to vote. Our identity as we know it is that of a beloved child of God. But there is more to that identity. The first chapter of the first book of the Bible lays out plainly who we are meant to be from the very beginning.
Troop Zero is a heartwarming movie about a group of kids who have been labeled uncool, lame, and losers by the “cool” kids. The “cool” kids are taught to think this way by the “cool” adults who think the same way about the parents of the misfit kids. When they try to be part of the scout troop in town, they are forced to form their own. Zero is assigned as the troop number to make a point.
Most people say they pray. Even among those who don’t connect with a religious tradition or even believe in God, a fair number still say they pray. For some, prayer is like a purchase we make. We ask God to fill a need in return for our promise to be good, or at least better. For some, God is a therapist, listening to our rage or pain, and providing comfort in return. For some, prayer is an obligation we must meet to stay in God’s good graces. Still others offer prayers because they feel helpless and don’t know what else to do. There is nothing wrong with any of these prayers. The psalms (the prayerbook of the Bible) show us a broad variety of prayers spoken in gratitude, despair, lament, confession, and praise.