Needing All the Help I Can Get

 

Slowly I open one eye to check the digital clock. It still says 6:29 a.m., just like it did 30 seconds ago. The clock and I are in a power struggle. It wants me to stay in bed as long as I can since a good night’s sleep often evades me. Technically, I have no schedule to keep. But another part of me wants to greet the day and connect with G-d, so I open the other eye to make sure I can successfully make my way to my place of prayer; I arrive without incident.

*     *     *

Prior to my bout with breast cancer, I made time to pray for several months early in the morning in the kitchen. It is a large room, and although my prayers were my conduit to G-d, the tile floors and bright lights were not engaging. Once I had to go through cancer treatment, I was exhausted and didn’t feel invited back into the kitchen. At least that was my excuse, and my prayer practice went on hold.

But a couple of months ago, I felt the call to reengage and wanted to meet G-d in a different way. I wanted to continue to practice the Amidah, also known as the Shemoneh Esrei (originally a collection of 18 silent prayers). So I found a corner of my office, which was intimate and dark, except for a lamp poised in the corner. As I walked to the corner and turned on the light, I felt invited to step into that comforting space and begin to pray.

*     *     *

Over time I have learned to recite the prayers in Hebrew and am almost fully capable of understanding their meaning, parsing unfamiliar words in context. (In impatient moments I look at the English on the opposite page.) There are several prayers that move me deeply or speak to me on a personal level, based on life in its unfolding: speaking of G-d’s strength and might is especially comforting at times when life seems dark and chaotic; praying about G-d’s holiness especially touches me, since I know that He shares the opportunity to experience holiness with Him, and gives me the strength to aspire to goodness; being reminded that G-d heals is so reassuring, as I still struggle with efforts to achieve wellness, both physically and mentally; G-d’s battling heretics on my behalf means fighting against those who not only betray the faith of my practice, but the faith in my country; I’m reminded that no matter how dire circumstances seem, G-d is fighting the battle with all of us; expressing thanks for the myriad miracles, large and small, that bless my life every day, even when I’m at a loss for next steps–that understanding motivates me. And calling on G-d to give me the power to fight against the evil that I see all around me inspires me.

Finally, I pray for the rebuilding of the Temple, where I might one day serve Him with reverence, as Jews of old have practiced.

*     *     *

My practice as a Jew is like a moth-eaten blanket, barely recognizable, fragile but dearly loved. My prayers are out of context, prayed alone, probably mispronounced at least some of the time. But I have to hope with all my heart that G-d has a sense of quirkiness as He amusedly witnesses my prayer, and knows better than anyone for a multitude of reasons that I am sincere and engaged. My prayers may be a mishmash, not fitting into any accepted prayer process, but I truly believe that He hears me and hope that He appreciates my efforts. I will pray for His Presence and comfort for the years and months ahead.

For all of us.

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    If anyone would like to share his or her prayer practices, whether they are small or large, intermittent or regular, you are most welcome to share them here. We can inspire people to practice or develop their own; we don’t know when or how our prayers are answered, but in one way or another they are. I didn’t mention that I have a brief meditation practice, too, which I’ve been doing for many years.

    • #1
  2. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    If anyone would like to share his or her prayer practices, whether they are small or large, intermittent or regular, you are most welcome to share them here.

    I’m afraid I’m one of those free riders that the ObamaPrayer program was so worried about.

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    BDB (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    If anyone would like to share his or her prayer practices, whether they are small or large, intermittent or regular, you are most welcome to share them here.

    I’m afraid I’m one of those free riders that the ObamaPrayer program was so worried about.

    When I do my meditation, I pray for others, including all my Ricochet friends (as a group). I’ve got you covered!

    • #3
  4. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    My longest prayer time is when I wake up in the middle of the night, whispered so as to not wake my wife.  I start with the Lord’s pattern of prayer that He gave, then I pray for my wife to be blessed in heart, mind, body, soul, strength, spirit, and brain, and now in her right foot, and so forth.  Then I pray blessings for people that I know, family, friends and those who aren’t friends.  Then I pray for the US and the government and for leaders to be lead in righteousness and wisdom.  And sometimes I get as far as praying for Christian groups around the world (which really should be higher priority in order on my list).

    During the day, I pray when I wake up (if I can muster the mental acuity), before I eat and extemporaneously throughout the day when I think something needs to be done or changed.  Or if I need help with something.  In the mornings I tend to remember to go outside and admire God’s creation and pray again, this time for spiritual leading.

    Actually I pray a lot less than positive prayer experiences should lead me to.

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Cassandro (View Comment):
    Actually I pray a lot less than positive prayer experiences should lead me to.

    Your devotion to prayer, just as it is, is deeply moving and inspiring, Flicker. It reminds me, too, that throughout the day I have moments where I experience gratitude–sometimes for little things, sometimes for big things–and I find myself saying thank-you. Your comment is also one of those.

    • #5
  6. Cassandro Coolidge
    Cassandro
    @Flicker

    Susan, everyone seems to do it differently.  And I think that’s great.  Some similarities to be sure.  But mine are rather brief and unstructured.

    I like that you say yours is like a beloved moth-eaten blanket.  I think such prayers are especially heard and answered.

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Cassandro (View Comment):

    Susan, everyone seems to do it differently. And I think that’s great. Some similarities to be sure. But mine are rather brief and unstructured.

    I like that you say yours is like a beloved moth-eaten blanket. I think such prayers are especially heard and answered.

    You bring up an interesting observation about structured and unstructured prayer. I wonder if religion provides the structured prayer to make sure we do prayer at all! And it’s especially helpful, I think, for those who don’t quite know how they “should pray.” I do like the idea that people all over the world are doing the same prayers that I am doing. Yet I like my personal meditation and prayer. I like structured and unstructured–both suit me well.

    • #7
  8. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    God hears all of everyone’s prayers.  It really doesn’t matter to Him how or why you pray.  He really doesn’t care which language you pray in, or whether you pronounce your words correctly.  It’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?  Just the fact that you pray is pleasing to the Lord of Hosts.

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    God hears all of everyone’s prayers. It really doesn’t matter to Him how or why you pray. He really doesn’t care which language you pray in, or whether you pronounce your words correctly. It’s the thought that counts, isn’t it? Just the fact that you pray is pleasing to the Lord of Hosts.

    I know G-d doesn’t care if I pronounce the words correctly, but I do! It’s easy to get sloppy, and not pay attention to the prayers I’m saying, so for me it’s an exercise in mindfulness. It keeps me from drifting to unimportant things like what I might have for breakfast . . . ;-)

    • #9
  10. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    SQ, reading between the lines (rightly or wrongly), I hope that all is well, or as well as it can be.   I do not know you, but I love you.  

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    BDB (View Comment):

    SQ, reading between the lines (rightly or wrongly), I hope that all is well, or as well as it can be. I do not know you, but I love you.

    Thanks, BDB, for your kindness and concern. Mostly things are okay. I’m having difficulty managing my prednisone treatment and there are its related side effects. I must say the prayer has been very helpful. You really should stop freeloading off the ObamaPrayer program!

    • #11
  12. Foghorn Coolidge
    Foghorn
    @Dave Rogers

    Susan Quinn:

    But I have to hope with all my heart that G-d has a sense of quirkiness as He amusedly witnesses my prayer, and knows better than anyone for a multitude of reasons that I am sincere and engaged. My prayers may be a mishmash, not fitting into any accepted prayer process, but I truly believe that He hears me and hope that He appreciates my efforts. 

    My prayer book would have me praying 3 times a day when I’m lucky if I make it once a day. When I do make it I wonder if I’m being sincere when I’m reading words printed in a book. You know He has to have that sense of quirkiness since he listens to and pays attention to us. So like you I continue on knowing that he hears me & hoping that He appreciates the effort. Also hoping that my efforts will lead me into a better understanding of Him and love for ALL his creation, even the ones I have difficulty appreciating.

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Foghorn (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    But I have to hope with all my heart that G-d has a sense of quirkiness as He amusedly witnesses my prayer, and knows better than anyone for a multitude of reasons that I am sincere and engaged. My prayers may be a mishmash, not fitting into any accepted prayer process, but I truly believe that He hears me and hope that He appreciates my efforts.

    My prayer book would have me praying 3 times a day when I’m lucky if I make it once a day. When I do make it I wonder if I’m being sincere when I’m reading words printed in a book. You know He has to have that sense of quirkiness since he listens to and pays attention to us. So like you I continue on knowing that he hears me & hoping that He appreciates the effort. Also hoping that my efforts will lead me into a better understanding of Him and love for ALL his creation, even the ones I have difficulty appreciating.

    I believe it all will happen for you. Especially your last sentence.

    • #13
  14. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    The atheists mock us even as they demonstrate how cold and meaningless their world is without him.

    • #14
  15. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    I can tell you what my prayer requirements are as a Lay Dominican.  [I wrote up a post on what is a Lay Dominican.]  I’m supposed to do Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer of the Divine Office.  In addition I’m supposed to pray a Rosary and go to daily Mass.  But I do work, so I am excused from daily Mass, but the three main prayers, which take about fifteen minutes each, I squeeze in during the day, sometimes on the run.  It’s such a beautiful moment when I can be by myself, relax, and just pray.  In addition I tend to pry as I walk the dog, especially in the morning, or if I’m driving.  I will say, that once prayer becomes integrated into your being, you let out or mumble to oneself prayers all the time as things happen or work or just live.  The ultimate, which I haven’t quite reached yet, is to live in the constant presence of G-d, and to pray at all times without ceasing.  May I reach that one day.

     

    • #15
  16. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    I think God can understand any mutterings we can manage to mutter provided we have our hearts right.  Loving God is essential.  I suspect any sort of heart step toward loving God is a step in the right direction. 

    On the idea that God hears every prayer, scripture tells us he listens to the righteous and not the sinner and I think in the OT the phrasing is something about having iniquity in the heart or harboring iniquity.  It’s in Psalms or proverbs or maybe both. 

    My own idea is we need all the praying we can get.  If praying isn’t an option then hoping as best one can is a move in the right direction.  

     

     

    • #16
  17. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    God hears all of everyone’s prayers. It really doesn’t matter to Him how or why you pray. He really doesn’t care which language you pray in, or whether you pronounce your words correctly. It’s the thought that counts, isn’t it? Just the fact that you pray is pleasing to the Lord of Hosts.

    It’s true, He doesn’t care, but just like a child who you give a present to, the beauty of the present makes the child so much more animated.  It’s worth the effort.

    • #17
  18. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    This reminds me of an exchange between a strict and lax persons of faith.

    Lax Person: Can I smoke when I pray?

    Strict Person: Of course not.  How could you think such a thing.

    Lax Person: Can I pray while I smoke?

    Strict Person: Of course, you can pray when you do anything.

    Lax Person: What’s the difference?

    LOL, well, there does seem to be a difference.  A space set aside for doing holy things does seem to require more formality, and so does a formal act of doing something holy.  Still it’s an interesting exchange.

    • #18
  19. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    On the idea that God hears every prayer, scripture tells us he listens to the righteous and not the sinner

    I would think then, since we’re all sinners, He doesn’t listen to anyone.  Out of curiosity, where does scripture say that?  Somehow I think you’re taking it a little too literally.  

    • #19
  20. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    On the idea that God hears every prayer, scripture tells us he listens to the righteous and not the sinner

    I would think then, since we’re all sinners, He doesn’t listen to anyone. Out of curiosity, where does scripture say that? Somehow I think you’re taking it a little too literally.

    The thief on Calvary prayed an effective prayer. 

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Manny (View Comment):
    I will say, that once prayer becomes integrated into your being, you let out or mumble to oneself prayers all the time as things happen or work or just live.

    I can identify with this, Manny. What a lovely practice you have!

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    My own idea is we need all the praying we can get.

    Indeed!

    • #22
  23. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    On the idea that God hears every prayer, scripture tells us he listens to the righteous and not the sinner

    I would think then, since we’re all sinners, He doesn’t listen to anyone. Out of curiosity, where does scripture say that? Somehow I think you’re taking it a little too literally.

    Somehow I think you’re taking it a little too figuratively.  (couldn’t resist)

    Bearing in mind that individual verses or even chapters may not mean what we think they mean when taken from their place, below are a few verses that seem to indicate there are things that hinder prayer and keep them from being heard.

    In general, there are many instances where God says, “I have heard” in reference to the people or an individual person, which carries with it the idea there are times when He doesn’t hear and gives rise to the question, why wouldn’t He hear or why would He not listen?

    There are instances that indicate God hears everything.  God heard the murmurings of the people when they murmured against him (Numbers 14:27) and murmuring against God doesn’t seem to be a heart-is-right thing to do.  But these were not prayers, at least as we think of prayers 

    “If I had regarded iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not hear;” (Psalm 66:18, JPS 1917)

    “The Lord is far from the wicked; but He heareth the prayer of the righteous.” (Proverbs 15:29, JPS 1917)

    “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.” (John 9:31, ESV)

    A few other verses with a similar theme though they do not specifically mention being heard.  

    “‘Set Thou a wicked man over him; and let an adversary stand at his right hand. When he is judged, let him go forth condemned; and let his prayer be turned into sin.” (Psalm 109:6–7, JPS 1917)

    “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9, JPS 1917)

    “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6–8, ESV)

     

    • #23
  24. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    On the idea that God hears every prayer, scripture tells us he listens to the righteous and not the sinner

    I would think then, since we’re all sinners, He doesn’t listen to anyone. Out of curiosity, where does scripture say that? Somehow I think you’re taking it a little too literally.

    Somehow I think you’re taking it a little too figuratively. (couldn’t resist)

    Bearing in mind that individual verses or even chapters may not mean what we think they mean when taken from their place, below are a few verses that seem to indicate there are things that hinder prayer and keep them from being heard.

    In general, there are many instances where God says, “I have heard” in reference to the people or an individual person, which carries with it the idea there are times when He doesn’t hear and gives rise to the question, why wouldn’t He hear or why would He not listen?

    There are instances that indicate God hears everything. God heard the murmurings of the people when they murmured against him (Numbers 14:27) and murmuring against God doesn’t seem to be a heart-is-right thing to do. But these were not prayers, at least as we think of prayers

    “If I had regarded iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not hear;” (Psalm 66:18, JPS 1917)

    “The Lord is far from the wicked; but He heareth the prayer of the righteous.” (Proverbs 15:29, JPS 1917)

    “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.” (John 9:31, ESV)

    A few other verses with a similar theme though they do not specifically mention being heard.

    “‘Set Thou a wicked man over him; and let an adversary stand at his right hand. When he is judged, let him go forth condemned; and let his prayer be turned into sin.” (Psalm 109:6–7, JPS 1917)

    “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9, JPS 1917)

    “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6–8, ESV)

     

    Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

    — Romans 8:26

    • #24
  25. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    On the idea that God hears every prayer, scripture tells us he listens to the righteous and not the sinner

    I would think then, since we’re all sinners, He doesn’t listen to anyone. Out of curiosity, where does scripture say that? Somehow I think you’re taking it a little too literally.

    The thief on Calvary prayed an effective prayer.

    Good one. I was actually thinking of the tax collector in Luke chapter 18. 

    • #25
  26. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    On the idea that God hears every prayer, scripture tells us he listens to the righteous and not the sinner

    I would think then, since we’re all sinners, He doesn’t listen to anyone. Out of curiosity, where does scripture say that? Somehow I think you’re taking it a little too literally.

    Somehow I think you’re taking it a little too figuratively. (couldn’t resist)

    Bearing in mind that individual verses or even chapters may not mean what we think they mean when taken from their place, below are a few verses that seem to indicate there are things that hinder prayer and keep them from being heard.

    In general, there are many instances where God says, “I have heard” in reference to the people or an individual person, which carries with it the idea there are times when He doesn’t hear and gives rise to the question, why wouldn’t He hear or why would He not listen?

    There are instances that indicate God hears everything. God heard the murmurings of the people when they murmured against him (Numbers 14:27) and murmuring against God doesn’t seem to be a heart-is-right thing to do. But these were not prayers, at least as we think of prayers

    “If I had regarded iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not hear;” (Psalm 66:18, JPS 1917)

    “The Lord is far from the wicked; but He heareth the prayer of the righteous.” (Proverbs 15:29, JPS 1917)

    “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.” (John 9:31, ESV)

    A few other verses with a similar theme though they do not specifically mention being heard.

    “‘Set Thou a wicked man over him; and let an adversary stand at his right hand. When he is judged, let him go forth condemned; and let his prayer be turned into sin.” (Psalm 109:6–7, JPS 1917)

    “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9, JPS 1917)

    “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6–8, ESV)

     

    Hmm. Yeah I see. I don’t know how to balance the other places listed where he does. Perhaps if one is sincere in one’s prayer He will listen. You originally  said one who is not righteous. Being righteous is more than just being sincere. 

    • #26
  27. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    On the idea that God hears every prayer, scripture tells us he listens to the righteous and not the sinner

    I would think then, since we’re all sinners, He doesn’t listen to anyone. Out of curiosity, where does scripture say that? Somehow I think you’re taking it a little too literally.

    Somehow I think you’re taking it a little too figuratively. (couldn’t resist)

    Bearing in mind that individual verses or even chapters may not mean what we think they mean when taken from their place, below are a few verses that seem to indicate there are things that hinder prayer and keep them from being heard.

    In general, there are many instances where God says, “I have heard” in reference to the people or an individual person, which carries with it the idea there are times when He doesn’t hear and gives rise to the question, why wouldn’t He hear or why would He not listen?

    There are instances that indicate God hears everything. God heard the murmurings of the people when they murmured against him (Numbers 14:27) and murmuring against God doesn’t seem to be a heart-is-right thing to do. But these were not prayers, at least as we think of prayers

    “If I had regarded iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not hear;” (Psalm 66:18, JPS 1917)

    “The Lord is far from the wicked; but He heareth the prayer of the righteous.” (Proverbs 15:29, JPS 1917)

    “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.” (John 9:31, ESV)

    A few other verses with a similar theme though they do not specifically mention being heard.

    “‘Set Thou a wicked man over him; and let an adversary stand at his right hand. When he is judged, let him go forth condemned; and let his prayer be turned into sin.” (Psalm 109:6–7, JPS 1917)

    “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9, JPS 1917)

    “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6–8, ESV)

     

    Hmm. Yeah I see. I don’t know how to balance the other places listed where he does. Perhaps if one is sincere in one’s prayer He will listen. You originally said one who is not righteous. Being righteous is more than just being sincere.

    Is it?

    (to be continued)

     

    • #27
  28. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    (continued)

    I also did not say “one who is not righteous.”  The complete snippet related to who God hears:

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    On the idea that God hears every prayer, scripture tells us he listens to the righteous and not the sinner and I think in the OT the phrasing is something about having iniquity in the heart or harboring iniquity.  It’s in Psalms or proverbs or maybe both. 

    It was in the NT that it was related that He doesn’t listen to sinners which may have been the part of my comment that piqued your interest.

    The question to ask might be why do we have the idea that we’re all sinners?  And this might be too much for this thread.  Something to think about for sure though.

    James is the one who comes down hard on praying.  You got to show up with zero doubt.  I read that and think, who can do that, we can’t do that, but then I remember that “with God all things are possible.”

    • #28
  29. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    The question to ask might be why do we have the idea that we’re all sinners?  And this might be too much for this thread.  Something to think about for sure though.

    I don’t know if it’s too big, but that is basic Christianity.  When Adam and Eve sinned, that nature was passed on to all humanity, and that’s why Christ came to save us.  We are all sinners.  In fact Luther and Calvin believed in “the total depravity of man.”  Catholics look at it as man is in a corrupted state, not total depravity, but certainly with a tendency to fall into sin.  That tendency is I believe refereed to as concupiscence .

    As to what is righteousness, there are probably shades of differences between denominations and religions, but I think the Jewish definition is best illustrative.  From the Jewish Virtual Library:

    RIGHTEOUSNESS, the fulfillment of all legal and moral obligations. Righteousness is not an abstract notion but rather consists in doing what is just and right in all relationships; “…keep justice and do righteousness at all times” (Ps. 106:3; cf. Isa. 64:4; Jer. 22:3; Ezek. 18:19–27; Ps. 15:2). Righteous action results in social stability and ultimately in peace: And the work of righteousness shall be peace (Isa. 32:17; cf. Hos. 10:12; Avot 2:7).

    Now in Christianity it might be a little more abstract than that.  Essentially it’s a person who lives out God’s commands.  But no matter how you shade the definition, there is no question that the tax collector I cited and the thief on the cross someone else cited have not been living a righteous life.  In fact tax collectors were the equivalent of mobster enforcers in the ancient world.  That’s why they were so hated.

    Now you might argue that the prayer that both the tax collector and the thief respectively utter makes them righteous, I can be open to that, though that probably requires a lot more knowledge on the subject than I have..

    • #29
  30. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    The question to ask might be why do we have the idea that we’re all sinners? And this might be too much for this thread. Something to think about for sure though.

    I don’t know if it’s too big, but that is basic Christianity. When Adam and Eve sinned, that nature was passed on to all humanity, and that’s why Christ came to save us. We are all sinners. In fact Luther and Calvin believed in “the total depravity of man.” Catholics look at it as man is in a corrupted state, not total depravity, but certainly with a tendency to fall into sin. That tendency is I believe refereed to as concupiscence .

    As to what is righteousness, there are probably shades of differences between denominations and religions, but I think the Jewish definition is best illustrative. From the Jewish Virtual Library:

    RIGHTEOUSNESS, the fulfillment of all legal and moral obligations. Righteousness is not an abstract notion but rather consists in doing what is just and right in all relationships; “…keep justice and do righteousness at all times” (Ps. 106:3; cf. Isa. 64:4; Jer. 22:3; Ezek. 18:19–27; Ps. 15:2). Righteous action results in social stability and ultimately in peace: And the work of righteousness shall be peace (Isa. 32:17; cf. Hos. 10:12; Avot 2:7).

    Now in Christianity it might be a little more abstract than that. Essentially it’s a person who lives out God’s commands. But no matter how you shade the definition, there is no question that the tax collector I cited and the thief on the cross someone else cited have not been living a righteous life. In fact tax collectors were the equivalent of mobster enforcers in the ancient world. That’s why they were so hated.

    Now you might argue that the prayer that both the tax collector and the thief respectively utter makes them righteous, I can be open to that, though that probably requires a lot more knowledge on the subject than I have..

    (to be continued)

     

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