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What do you pray for?

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It’s 2005. What role does prayer play in your life? How and why do you do it?

If you have your answers to these personal questions ready go straight to comment and I am personally extremely interested in the answers. If you want to know more about my interest, read on.

A Dec. 2004 series of articles in US World and News Report examined prayer. An article by Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, “How We Talk To God,” teamed up with Belief.net for a poll of 5,600 people:

• 64 percent said they pray more than once a day.
• 65 percent said their prayers relate to health.
• 56 percent say they most often pray for family members.
• 3.3 percent said they pray for strangers.
• 41 percent say that their prayers are answered often.
• 74 percent say that when their prayers are not answered the most important reason is that they did not fit into God’s plan.

So I thought I’d bring those questions here.

Yes, these are all personal questions, so if you don’t feel comfortable answering them, do not. And since I’m asking, I’ll offer a little insight into my lack of religion.

Religion is not dead in America, in Mexico, in Belgium, in Senegal or anywhere else in the world. It produces awe, it produces great understanding; it produces community and a sense of collective and individual worth. A lot of good work is done in the name of religion.

For the purposes of my comments I won’t dwell on the negative aspects of what religion has wrought or the merging of politics and religion (See Happy Easter, right?). That will, I’m sure, be taken care of in the comments. And that’s great.

I have never knelt at my bed, pressed my palms with my fingers tight together and asked for or about anything. Therefore I have no concept about why there are millions of children and adults who do.

I have never sat on a mat and knelt and bowed toward Mecca and asked for inspiration and holy direction and directives. I have never paid homage to Vishnu or Ganesh.

I have never ceremonially done anything to ask God for anything. And for me to try would be like asking questions of Santa Claus. However, millions of people have a connection that they need and desire and welcome into their lives. They don’t need me to say it, but I have absolutely nothing against their vision of faith and belief. I have no animosity in my heart or mind against what others hold deeply in theirs.

Sitting through Christian weddings, as well as funerals of people I did not personally know, my main feeling in church is bemusement. Not superiority of any kind, just a complete disconnect from what is being said. People I know, people who are my friends speak of a fidelity to God and devotion and living according to God’s law. I have a friend I’ve known since community college who’s a missionary, who has gone to Israel and Mexico and other places around the world to try and convert men and women and children to Christianity.

And she occasionally asks me about my agnosticism and, though she has said once or twice that I might end up in hell, I don’t hold it against her and in a twist of some kind of irony I don’t condemn her for condemning me to a place I don’t think exists. That’s because she’s willing to put that aside for friendship.

Personally, that’s all I ask. At this point, I’m 33, but probably since I was a sentient being, there wasn’t going to be anything that would make me believe in God. Any god. That’s just the way it is. I don’t make any apologies for who I have always been and I don’t want salvation.

I have no faith.

Though I don’t think one exists, the existence of God is a fascinating question. But I’m not going to try and convince anybody of that because I have no answers. How did humans came to exist? How come we are perhaps the only species to be able to question our existence?

I don’t know but if you believe in God you don’t either. But you do have a tremendous faith in the power of God.

Faith is something you have or you don’t. Just saying “It is God’s will” is beyond my comprehension, but as long as someone does not insist that I believe that, I enjoy knowing they have a strong faith; I enjoy knowing that there are people who have the will power, the purpose and the strength of being to continue to believe.

I would praise every facet of religion if I didn’t see people trying to change society toward their idea of God. Most of these people who work at the national level rather than in their community lack morality. They have belief but they think that alone equals morality. If they are right in that belief, their soul has long ago withered.

People who continually say I’m going to hell become annoying because they are not understanding that I don’t agree. Saying something over and over is not going to convince me of anything except that you are on a power trip. Believe me. I cannot comprehend. It’s not anything of which I’m afraid.

For many hell is a place on earth and improving that is where my interests lie and that goal is also shared by many with a to-the-core belief in God. But not by all.

People who pray do so for a reason, and I remain open-minded enough to be curious.

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About temple

Always been a writer, always maintained an interest in politics, how people communicate and fantasy worlds within photography and books. Previously wrote for Blogcritics back in 2005 and interested in exploring the issues and topics I'm interested - the changing landscape of entertainment. all from the POV of a creator first, consumer, second.
  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Guess no one prays around here …

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Damned straight. Prayer is for wimps. If there’s going to be praying I want it to be either for me or to me.

    Dave

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Now read the post :-)

  • gonzo marx

    oh i pray…

    i pray to Bog that the evangelicals don’t find me…

    i pray that the next election cycle breaks the totalitarian single Party rule that grips our Nation…

    i pray that our Supreme Court is NOT taken over by Justices like Antonin Scalia , who said, fomr the Bench, 2 weeks ago during the proceedings about the 10 Commandment cases.. “our Laws come from God”

    i pray that Reason wins out over Fundamentalism of all types and stripes

    i pray that there is another cookie left in the bag…

    not that i Believe it does any good or harm…but it feels better to self articulate Thoughts sometimes…

    but what the hell do i know…

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>i pray to Bog that the evangelicals don’t find me…<<

    That reminds me, Gonzo – are you a practicing member of the Russian Orthodox church?

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    nope..raised Episcopalian until my communion at age 13

    chosen taoist…who believes in various Enlightened Ones that have been among us puny humans…Siddhartha…Yeshua ben Miriam…the current Dalai Lama..many more that we will never know…

    but Divinity?

    i feel Ben Franklin’s thoughts on theism and the like suit me best so far…

    when i too pass from this mortal coil..then i’ll Know…until then..why worry? just do the best i can

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Ah, was just wondering because you keep referencing ‘Bog’, which is Russian for God.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    bolshoye spasebaw, tovarich

    ya will find i am more subreferencial than when Dennis Miller noted “aren’t there 2 a’s in Klaatu?”

    ya will find many of my lil “quirks” have both style AND substance behind them

    but yer a quick one fer the most part…i bet ya figgered that out yerself by now..

    {8^P~~~~~~~~

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Yes, sir, this was a serious question and I’d love better answers.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Temp, I think the problem is that we’re all a bunch of heathens and atheists and we aren’t praying for anything. That certainly describes me. I don’t believe in asking god for anything. If I want something I believe in earning it, making it, or working for it myself. Why bother god with my trivial issues? Things may change if I ever become unhealthy or have health issues in my family, but I certainly hope I don’t become one of these whiny folks who go crying to god to solve all their problems.

    What does surprise me is that you haven’t gotten more responses to this which take it seriously. Where are our religiously motivated conservatives now? They’re on the spot when it comes to talking about right to life issues, but they don’t pray? Seems hard to believe. Surely they at least pray for unborn fetuses or Terry Schiavo or for homosexuals to be converted to straightness.

    Dave

  • Bennett Dawson

    Temple, Nope, I don’t pray. Mainly because I don’t think there is anyone listening. Kinda silly to ask for things from a superior being, as if one were on a telephone to god. If prayer works, why does cancer kill? Why are children raped and murdered? Why are there tsunamis that wipe out entire villages of devout prayer-sayin’ innocents?

    I’m fine with other folks using the tennants of a belief system to keep to the straight and narrow, or to the kind and generous, so long as they leave me alone to deal with the complxities of life in my own fashion.

    I manage to discern between what’s morally right and wrong without a man-made guide book for reference.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Thanks Dave, Bennett. I have those questions 1000-fold. Perhaps it was just the timing? Easter time – those who would pray are at church and doing Easter things.

    I really wanted to find out what people get out of prayer these days – or 20 years ago

    >>I manage to discern between what’s morally right and wrong without a man-made guide book for reference.

    That’s pretty much where I am. I’m big on man-made laws however, though not toward morality. There are some exceptions.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Maybe edit the post to put Schiavo in the title and you’ll attract the kind of respondents you’re looking for.

    Bet it would work. People will pick it up off google news too.

    Dave

  • Bennett Dawson

    Dave, you could be right. If Temple does that, I expect that you and I would get told that we’re going straight to hell…

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Sort of “Is Schiavo worth praying for?” That type of thing?

    Can’t do that now. I wanted it to be something other than

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    How about “Would Prayer Save Terry Schiavo?”

    Dave

  • http://www.anti-everything.us a-[e]

    How about “Is Terri Schiavo Worth Praying To?”

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=43489

    Personally, I think prayer has little value. At best it you’re talking to an invisible friend. At worst you may be having some sort of psychotic episode.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Wow, Terry IS Catholic. We could make her an instant saint. We should start cataloging her miracles now and you’re the man to do it a-[e]

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    What role does prayer play in your life? How and why do you do it?

    If you have your answers to these personal questions ready go straight to comment

    The only time I pray is during times of extreme stress and even then it is more of a release, there are no expectations that the prayer will be answered. It usually is not. I also do not believe that if prayers were answered, that only the prayers of the faithful would be answered. I do not believe that a ‘parent’ would turn from a child, even if that child rejects the ‘parent’. Certainly not on a higher spiritual level, and assuming that God does not have the limitations of man. (A human might turn from a child, but then again a human is only human, know what I mean?)

    I believe in a higher power, but I also believe we are here to learn something or to accomplish something etc. and so we don’t get help. Why wouldn’t God have answered prayers during the holocaust or any one of the African genocides? I believe that the answer is because we have to figure it out for ourselves. We have to find the answer, it could very well be what we are here for.

    I believe prayer has a psychological benefit for many people and that is it’s only real benefit.

  • http://www.anti-everything.us a-[e]

    Dave: I was thinking about sainthood too. Don’t they usually try to keep relics of a saint’s physical body?

  • Jake Meathook

    I pray for money.

    I pray for nubile 16 year old girls to sexually molest me.

    I pray for money.

    I pray that the crszy women living across the street spontaneously combusts. Along with her flea infested cat.

    Then I pray for money.

    I pray that the next person who asks me what i thought about the OC/Survivor/Idol etc. would spontaneously combust.

    I pray that the future is not in the hands of every moronic teen working in customer service at my local grocery/restaurant/clothing store.

    Then I pray for more $$.

    I pray that I can meet more people who think for themselves and arent slaves to hype.

    I pray that I win my NCAA bracket.

    Then i Pray for more $$

  • Ritch

    I think I am going to give up Lent for Lent the next time around.

    Maybe pray for no more prayer.

    Ask God to kill himself once and for all.

    We could vote on a new belief system every four years.

    Vote Atheism, vote for nothing and you will never be disappointed.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Is that deep sarcasm Ritch or deep cynicism?

    :-)

  • Tristan

    i pray to the Holy Peep ~~~

    you know; those spongy little yellow chics
    around Easter ~~ PEEPS~~!!!

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Yo! Ya dissin my PEEPS, dawg? Dont diss my PEEPS! Yo!

    Oops, somehow I got this mixed up with one of those articles about 51 Percent or whatever his name is. Never mind.

  • Eric Olsen

    peep diss? sacrilege, this time of year in particular

  • Eric Olsen

    whether you are religious or not, prayer makes perfectly good sense from a cause and effect standpoint as thought is nothing less than energy, and positive, directed energy can’t hurt

  • http://trinimansblog.blogspot.com/ Triniman

    Joke: What does an agnostic, dyslesic, insomniac do?

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Stay up all night wondering if there is a dog.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Don’t encourage him.

    Man I guess I misread my audience. We’re all goign to hell – maye, maybe not.

    Maybe I’ll go post this at belief.net :-)

    So what am I to draw from this?

    1- Blogcritcs are not at all representative of America? Nor are its visitors?

    2- Artsy people are not religious?

    3- The political people here are not of the religious persuasion, they just play it on TV?

    4 – They known gay contributor – Steve S. is the most religious of all?

    5. People really don’t pray at all, ever? Even those who believe in God and it’s all a myth?

    6. Religious people don’t want to talk to a room full of non-believers?

    7. My argument was so sound, I’ve made everybody drop their belief in God?

    Life – it’s a funny old game innit?

  • Dawn

    Temple, sorry I didn’t comment sooner. I pray daily and frequently for different things.

    I pray for my kids, my loved ones, and for those who are ill, I pray for peace, serenity and to be a better mother. I pray for release from my financial wows and I pray for people I don’t even know. I pray for all the children of the world, I pray for God’s wisdom and to help me be a good person. I pray for people I don’t like and that I may learn to forgive them for sucking.

    Mostly I just pray to tell God how much I love him and how thankful I am.

    I am a regular Jesus freak if you must know.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Somehow between all the fucks, godamns, dicks, shits and assholes I couldn’t quite tell. LOL

    Thanks Dawn.

    Like I said, i’m not disparaging anyone, i’m genuinely curious.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Temple, I’m not sure I’d say that Blogcritics.org is made up of the mostly irreligious, but there are enough people here who are very hostile to Christianity in particular to make people like me (a devout Christian) loathe to make any statements at all for fear of stirring up a, um, storm.

    But for the record, I pray regularly about many things: the salvation of the world, peace in the world, wisdom for parenting, confidence in my beliefs, and so on.

    P.S. Though I tend not to swear, it is primarily a curious byproduct of American puritanicalism that makes people think that Christians don’t swear. IIRC, Dawn is a Lutheran, and Martin Luther was a serious potty-mouth.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    :-) I don’t swear much publically at all. I do in print more.

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    i pray, morning and night. snigger as thou wilt.

    what for you ask?

    morning – for givin me another day for to moan through, to help me be patient and tolerant with other folks, (treat others as i would like to be treated gets a mention, too), to help keep me away from a particular thing i like not to be faced with, and for knowledge of his / her / it’s will and the strength to carry it out.

    NIGHT – a thanks for bringing me through said day, for keeping me away from the thing i wanted to be kept away from, for any and all disputes and pleasantries, and thanks for helpin me react as i did, or, alternatively, help to react different next time.

    motherfucker.

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    and i might add i’m not “religious” by any means, but i try to keep right spiritually, although this is not always especially simple.

    and i think the bible holds a lot of truth. It lots a lot of nonsense, sure, but truth also.

    and i also think i can’t blame the book for some of the folks who read it. as i said somewhere or other at one time, regarding a subject i’ve forgotten;

    have you seen some of those folks who read the harry potters?

  • http://wisdomandmurder.blogspot.com Lisa McKay

    Well, I don’t pray, Temple, being a devout agnostic and seriously lapsed Catholic (so lapsed that I don’t consider myself a Catholic any more), but I do start my day with meditation, which is not in any way directed towards a deity or a supreme being, but which does keep me connected to my spiritual self. Touchy-feely enough for you?

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    A little less on the touchy, a little more on the feely please :-) Nice. Thanks Lisa. I don’t do it but I think I could benefit from just taking a few moments to breathe deeply and relax in the morning. Can’t do that in the bathroom, though TMI?

  • http://wisdomandmurder.blogspot.com Lisa McKay

    I’ve been studying tai chi for several years now, and I have finally learned the value of just stopping every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, and just…being.

  • Dawn

    Using words like you described above which I readily admit I use in print with whatever frequency the subject requires in no way makes me less a Christian or a spiritual being than anyone else. Perhaps Temple, I will pray for more temperance in my cursing – oddly enough, I have consciously chosen to swear less on BC than when I had my own blog, and in general I swear less as I get older, but I reserve the right to a.) not be judged for it, and b.) to tell people to fuck off whenever I feel like it.

    They are merely words and I can think of worse ones, like war, hate, death, hell, apathy, callousness, cruelty and the list goes on.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Remember, I love the Mondo Irlando Podcast – I ain’t judging. But then, perhaps your comments were meant for a broader BC audience.

    Swearing is to Christianity like spelling is to genius.

  • Dawn

    We are always judging, always.

  • gonzo marx

    heh..
    “judge not lest ye be judged”

    or the ever popular..
    “let he who is without Sin , cast the first stone”

    would that some remember these Lessons from thier Teacher before they spout off..

    Wisdom can come from many places…would that all who do so pray for the Enlightenment to abide by their Teacher’s single Law..
    “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

    a damn fine bit of Philosophy there…observed more by it’s absence than it’s adherence for many who profess the Faith involved…

    i’m too much the Cynic today..and the above was NOT meant at anyone in particular…just general Observations..

    take it with a big grain of kosher sea salt…

    Excelsior!

  • Eric Olsen

    I pray for things to return to normal around here after a week of hell

  • http://www.bitter-girl.com Shannon

    I’ve been known to take the name of any god I can think of in vain when exclaiming about the latest right-wing political folly. Loudly, with vigor, and with plenty of off-color words thrown in…

    As someone who got kicked out of both church and the Girl Scouts, I have a difficult time taking organized religion (or organized anything) seriously. And as someone who’s made in-depth study of religion, I realize they’ve all got so many things in common, that particular archetypes are probably the only certainty we have in religion. My master’s thesis is on religious syncretism during the conversion period in the northeastern Germanic lands, ca. 1000 CE.

    (Try saying that 5 times fast!)

    In non-history-dork terms, that’s: “hey, you pagans got a mother goddess? we got one, too! her name’s Mary…ok, check it out, you kinda can’t pray to her LIKE THAT, you gotta do it like this…” Repeat until “heathens” accept religion as you think it should be practiced or until you have to wipe them all out and start over.

    So, if today I want to invoke the Buddhist goddess of compassion to help me through the day, and tomorrow Kali’s more like it…well, there you go. I pick and choose because they’re just different emanations of the same overall force.

    An apple is an apple is an apple, no matter what you call it. It’s more important to treat people as they should be treated.

  • Vern Halen

    Well, there are different types of prayer, and different reasons for prayer. I think as you grow older, you (hopefully) pray for the right reasons. A five year old prays for a new skateboard, hoping that God like a generous distant relative will send it to him. An adult shouldn’t pray for that sort of think – I would hope an adult would pray for patience, undertanding & humility, that sort of thing.

    And I believe God answers all prayers. Sometimes He just doesn’t give us the answer we want, so we don’t recognize it and consequently assume He just didn’t hear us. But if God intervened constantly like an overprotective parent, or even worse, a puppeteer, then the whole concept of free will is pointless. Stuff happens folks, and sometimes you just have to pray for the strength to carry on for another day.

    I don’t want to tick off those out there who profess athiesm or whatever, but I’ve come to the conclusion that even if you don’t believe in God, He believes in you, whether you like it or not. And if you do your best with what you’ve got, well, that’s a prayer itself. So, like I said, I don’t wish to offend anyone out there, but simply put, in my opinon there are no athiests.

  • Tristan

    better late than ever, eh……?

    what goes hippity hop and jumps in mud puddles?

    the easter pig.

    from your friendly local blogcritics pagan…….

    (no–i do not believe in the devil; the devil is a xtian concept–you must believe in a heaven and hell to take faith in the devil concept)

    i pray often each day to what i refer to in my thoughts as the god and goddess….for lack of anything better…. but i pretty much accept almost all deities….equally….

    Kali does happen to be a pet …!!!

  • Tony Dalmyn

    The questions make some assumptions about what prayer is and how people are supposed to pray. If God is transcendent and unknowable, praying by saying words involves a basic act of imagining God as a person who is listening to you. Asking for results in the real world, as opposed to asking for inner resources to act in the real world involves imagining God to be disposed to act. Many people have faith that God is that kind of being and is listening, and I think that their method of prayer is fine as long as people don’t think that God owes them something. There are other ideas about prayer. Prayer doesn’t have to be a rational argument or a petition or a one-sided conversation. Prayer can be a conscious acceptance of the fact that life is a gift. I think many people who see themselves outside of any religious belief systems can and do pray in that sense.

  • gonzo marx

    can’t … resist
    must … try .. and … fight … it

    Disclaimer: i do NOT intend to insult or belittle ANYONE’s Faith..what one feels deeply in their Heart is precious and important to them, and i Respect all forms of True Spirituality that helps and enhances anyone’s Journey of Life…now..on with the snarky satire and couching subtle food for Thought

    “God is Omnipotent,Omniscient and Omnibenevolent”….it says so right here on the label…

    don’t get me wrong here..i am a Theist in much the same vein as our Founding Fathers…

    in Recognition of the Significance inherent in the clues we have been left…to wit..Pi and two mirrors facing each other each demonstrate Infinity

    the DNA molecule, a hurricane, and the Milky Way galaxy are all in the shape of a double spiral helix

    personally, that is enough for me to go..”wow..ok..something is in charge here”

    but it boggles my tiny lil mind, and flies in the face of Reason to imagine that whatever could have laid all this out could give an aerial fornication intersecting a rotating pastry about what happens to any carbon based microbe on a tiny rock out in the corner of nowhere amidst a plethora of gas clouds and star formations…

    i mean..you don’t think about the hopes and dreams of the flora and fauna that reside happily in your gastro-intestinal tract, do you?

    that’s not to say i have any Proof that the Allmighty AIN’T listening, and doesn’t know when “a sparrow falls”…but if anyone claimed to hear the Voice of God and had the latest Chapter of the Bible right here we woudl see him rapidly locked away and examined…unless he had his own satellite channel and TV station..

    but i digress…

    my own, personal Gnosis tells me that within Infinity and Allternity, there is MORE than enough room for EVERONE to be Right in these matters…somewhere and somewhen…

    so, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else (NO witch hunts or Inquisitions, thanx much) then i can see no harm in folks having whatever Faith works for them

    so pray, meditate, burn incense, rub blue mud into your belly or sacrifice whatever ya like short of another human being…if it helps you make it thru your day..then it’s all good

    but that’s just my one sixth billionths of the World’s opinion…

    what’s yours?

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    My own view of prayer was that really what it achieves is for ONESELF to think about what one really wants and so it focuses life’s priorities and goals and, post-prayer, a sense of enlightment comes from within one’s own brain.

    Again though, I stated upfront I have no answers and consider my mind boggled when I think of these things (I love that feeling). If I did I would be God. Despites oem people’s opinions of themselves and willingness to comment on everythng – no one does (that I’ve met). I deeply appreciate all serious responses – and having been able to get some learning out of this question I can also appreciate some of the humor. Thank you.

  • Tristan

    and believe it or not—-
    the guy at the Vatican in charge of the Department of Sainthood (or whatever the hell it’s called; was I being blasphemous there? Oh my~!!!!) —
    actually made a statement today in support of Terri Schiavo—didn’t actually come right out and say anything alluding to putting her up for “sainthood” but, come on~~~~ take a little leap of faith here, eh????? why else would he be making a “statement” to the world press ……………
    this is really getting disgusting—just when we thought it was “over” …….!!!!

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    i pray every day and constantly… for my kids and family, for thanksgiving, for the sick, dying, poor, and oppressed, for peace and an end to all violence, for justice, for equality, for strength, for forgiveness (for myself and everyone else), for a liveable world, for the fortitude to stop myself from committing suicide (prayed about 10 times each day, sadly), for salvation and rescue,.

    today i am praying for the pope. i am not a fan of his particularly, but he is a child of the creator and deserves prayers.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Natalie I like that response. Thank you. Well, except for the constant suicidal thoughts. I’ll talk to you about that off blogcritics if you like.

    Perhaps it’s like taking the whole world on your shoulders and feeling terrible that so much is going on that you can do very little about. I have those moments but in those moments I remember just protecting and caring for your group and your family and your friends is achieving so much that wil last for decades, if not longer. And it will have to do for a while until greater inspiration and or time comes.

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Nothing to talk about, really. One wants what one wants and often, one can not have it. Inevitably, it will come. In the meantime, pray.

  • Tristan

    “Prayer” is simply church-approved “Magic” ………………..

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    OK, it’s just that people I’ve heard talk about it (not any family) are in a pretty bad way. But then I guess saying such on a public blog is halfway to saying, it probably ain’t that bad. Hard to tell, really.

    For example I just read about a third of that self-mutiliation thread and I understand comments like “go get some help” arent very useful without exploring the issue more. Or offering to help yourself, as Douglas Mays has done there.

    Keep on truckin’ Ms. Davis

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Why not say it if it’s true? It’s germane to the topic. Going through with it would be selfish and illegal, but wanting the truckin’ to come to a rapid halt is no crime. I’m not ashamed of it. Should I be?

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    I don’t know you well enough to answer.

  • Tristan

    Temple:

    having worked in the “Recovery Community” a bit and going through that whole scenario re: the self-mutilation board thousands of times and having a little even MORE personal experience myself, telling someone to “just go get help” seldom (if EVER) has any effect if the person you’re speaking to is in denial and is totally unaware that they NEED help….

    In most cases, we never listen to those closest to us–no matter how well-meaning and no matter that they can see our “problem” much more clearly than we can…being a bit dis-associated from it.

    IF, we DO begin to HEAR and make a somewhat tentative and feeble 1/2- hearted attempt to “get help” — the denial we are in fights it tooth & nail the entire way…….

    This is why “Interventions” began to arise originally.The truth is that the vast majority of interventions don’t achieve the desired result.In a FEW cases, the subject of the intervention when placed or when reluctantly agreeing to endure “The Program”,will hear “something” during that stay, which hopefully at some future point “kicks in” …………..
    So—interventions really are better than nothing, but don’t get your hopes up…it is still out of “our hands” and simply “some get it- – most don’t” …
    It’s a very sad situation, poignantly so when it’s someone close to us that we love and care for. Look at the Joan Kennedy saga going on right now. My heart aches as I’ve been reading the recent news , having lived through exactly this scenario both personally in my immediate family and many, many times through working in the treatment centers I worked in. I did work several years at Hazelden, which reportedly is the best in the world. I was a therapist there and helped do assessments for Admissions there as well.
    I almost went down and helped open Eric Clapton’s treatment center in the Bahamas at that time when he first opened it, but I was beginning to get the inevitable “burn-out” which is extremely prevalent in that field due to living day-in and day-out with that immensely high threshhold of emotions resulting from many of these volatile encounters each day at work. This field not only has one of the lowest paid professionals but takes one of the highest mental tolls due to the constant crisis environment. It is quite similar to working in a hospital emergency room, sometimes quite literally when a prospective client goes into medical detox and might die in front of you.

    Enough – it’s allready beginning to make me tense up just remembering here!!!

    But—never “give up” ….
    Just try as well as you can to keep away from “giving advice” and try to always give the individual as much love and nurturing as you can. Usually lack of love and caring is the common denominator that got the individual to that place in almost every single case.
    Love and compassion is what most of them are seeking desperately and not even aware of until much later down the Recovery process.

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Indeed, Mr. Stark, you do not know me at all.

  • Dan

    Temple Stark, to properly call oneself agnostic, you would be one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God. You seem to be committed to the nonexistence side, but without the accompanying haughtiness that often characterizes God scoffers. Good for you.

    I too consider myself agnostic, though I hope (and pray?) that there is a force for divine justice, to reward my efforts. It’s not the same as faith, but faith isn’t what keeps me on the straight and narrow. Perhaps I’m not properly agnostic as well. Or maybe I’m just on the opposite end of the agnostic spectrum from you.

    Anyway, throughout history, people of extraordinary intellect have taken religon seriously. Isaac Newton was profoundly religous. It takes a remarkable arrogance for some atheists to feel, in matters of divinity, mentally superior to a guy who sets out one morning to solve a problem, and invents a whole new discipline of mathematics replete with proofs and theorems before supper time. I know I’m not up to it.

    It would be an ironic but perfect hell for those who routinely mock Christian fundamentalists to, upon their death, be confronted by a throned, white bearded old Man, complete with cheesy robe and sandals, in a foul mood.

  • gonzo marx

    also a perfect Hell for those Fundamentalist..of ANY persuasion..”christian” or “muslim” or ANYthing to wind up in a pristine jungle with JuJu the Elephant god standing over them ready to pass Judgement by hauling them up in his trunk and tossing them into His enourmous Maw for proper Diogestion so they may retrun to the shit from whence they came…

    in a mere blink of an Eye on the cosmic scale of things, we will all pass form this Mortal Coil..

    hopefully our Answers will be discovered then…

    my personal Hope is that in the vastness of Allternity, there is room for everyone

    nuff said?

    Excelsior!

  • Dan

    I think I’ll start being nicer to elephants.

  • http://www.google.com Hmmmm

    I always enjoy reading posts on this topic, however I wish they’d get more original. No matter how it begins, they always deteriorate into a “why I hate religion” with lists of varying lengths on all the ills organizated religion has perpetrated on the world; missing the point that it is man who is carrying out these deeds and whether they attribute them to a god or greed, they’re still wrong and against all “Holy Books.” And why is Christian bashing okay these days?? I’d love to see someone get online and post about bashing gay people or women in university or Wiccans and see how fast those posts last!

    Believe what you want, just stop whining to the freakin’ world about how you’ve been wronged by some religion or another. We get it already.

  • shanise

    I pray day and night thanking God for everything! being alive is a blessing to me, a simple meal is a girt.
    God has done so much for me, and has changed my lifr completly!
    Evertime i need help, even at school with some work, he’ll help me.
    God always has his different ways of helping people,and even if what you asked for didn’t happen, it doesn’t mean God isn’t listening.He’ll help you for sure! It all depends on what it is you ask for. If he doesn’t do what you want, then theirs a reason for it, and at the end of the day, you’ll realise he was right!
    You dont have to pray with using christian vocab. God listens to anyone that talks to him from their heart. If you dont mean what you say, then whats the point of praying.