I recently watched the video clip of Pastor Joe Nelms praying at a NASCAR race. His irreverence was initially shocking to me. I was filled with anger and indignation.
I thought of verses from scripture like Romans 1:23, which says, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
I thought of Acts chapter 8, which tells of a man named Simon who thought Christianity could be used to entertain and perhaps bring him more fame and fortune.
Pastor Nelms obviously doesn’t know the same high and holy God that I serve as pastor.
I tried connecting with Nelms on Facebook. I found his church home page on the internet and considered emailing the office. I had to respond. I had to react. I just was not sure of what to say to this one for his sacrilegious mockery of prayer.
As I prayed about it, my thoughts turned. It is not a pleasant turning. I am not comfortable with it and would not fault you if you disregarded it completely.
His open mockery of prayer is no worse than the secrets of my closet. His lack of reverence is no blacker than my lack of surrender when someone angers me. His open mockery of saying “…boogety, boogety, boogety, Amen” is no uglier than my living without urgency, as if God did not tell me to “make the best use of my time, for the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16).”
His 15 minutes of shame will cost him dearly at the judgment, which is surely coming. Although I am thankful that my moments of shame may be private or of a small audience, my comfort in the judgment will be no more assured.
It seems that every instance of indignation that I encounter ends with reflection of my fallenness, not my superiority over those who are “caught”.