There has been much hullabaloo over Donald Miller closing out a night of the Democratic National Convention in prayer recently. Conservatives are throwing stones, saying that the DNC is just catering to the evangelical vote, and Liberals are praising Miller for bringing balance to the force, or something.
I’d like to imagine how Jesus would have prayed, were he asked to, at an event like that. Here we have a massive room full of people passionate about their cause, arrogant about their ability to win an election, and gunning for the opponent. (Also a pretty accurate description of the Republicans, by the way) Without fail, Jesus knocked arrogant zealots off of their little thrones each time he encountered them in scripture. Think of the “rich young ruler” in the gospels. He showed up boasting about how good he was, and Jesus made him very sad. Think of the Pharisees. Jesus regularly ridiculed, rebuked, and otherwise yelled at them.
So I can’t help but imagine Jesus’ prayer at the Democratic National Convention. He’d have probably had his microphone turned off. People using his name to get votes? People who do not care at all about repenting of sin and the work Jesus did in his life, death, burial, and resurrection, but would invite him over so that others would vote for them? I shudder to think the blistering monologue that would result.
Let me reiterate that I think this goes for both sides of the aisle. Republicans are just as guilty. I can’t think of the last time I’ve heard humility from anybody in the discussion, including myself. When we start talking politics, we very quickly become players in a chess game. I have to find the weakness in the other team and expose it. I can’t come across as weak or like I don’t have all the answers. We must demonize the other team and glorify our team.
Imagine if a politician were to say “hey, we are both after the same thing. We are after justice and peace and harmony and restraining the forces of evil in the world. Let’s figure out a way we can best do that, and stop taking cheap shots at the other guy. And let’s not forget that government is not there to solve our problems. It’s there to protect us from ourselves and others who would try to take away our freedoms.
Don Miller, I applaud you for having the guts to use the name of Jesus in a prayer on national television, and before a largely secular and humanistic audience. That was a bold witness for Jesus. But I can’t help but think Jesus would have ruffled more feathers.