Amen or Awoman?
Emanuel Cleaver’s prayer to open the U.S. House of Representatives this past Sunday has been targeted as tone deaf, ignorant, and void of meaning. Although the fallout has lessened in light of other more serious events this week, it certainly has been an eye opener. Mr. Cleaver has responded by noting that he did that as a nod to the number of women that are now serving in the House as well as the new chaplain who will be serving, who is a woman as well. In other words, he didn’t mean for it to be taken so seriously. I choose to believe him. In hindsight, it wasn’t a wise move and it did not achieve anywhere near what he had hoped it would, but I will take him at his word and let it go.
What I won’t let go of is what I believe to be the worst part of his prayer and what I believe rendered the entire prayer void and meaningless. If you read his prayer, it is a really good one. In it, you can tell that he draws from Scripture in numerous spots. It is an inspirational prayer and moving.
But then he comes to the end and he says the following:
“We ask it in the name of the Monotheistic God” (I am assuming here he means God, I mean, THE God, The God I Am) and then he prays “Brahma, and ‘god’ known by many names, by many different faiths. Amen and awoman.”
Brahma is a leading god in Buddhism.
It begs the question – when we pray, do we pray for those that are listening or do we pray to God?
In an interview with Fox News, Mr. Cleaver said in response to his critics “The prayer wasn’t for them,” He added, “I’m talking to God on behalf of Congress, asking for unity and so forth, asking God to give us that strength to do that.” Since that is true, who did he think he was addressing at the end? God, Brahma, or many different gods?
If you are talking to God, then remember He is God. He is not divided. We can’t say that God is God on one hand and that He is Brahma or “many different names” on the other. Jesus forever changed the narrative that there are many different paths to God.
Jesus said in John 14:6
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
We are not doing the world any favors when we as Christians play to a politically correct, culturally influenced, and media frenzied crowd. Our world needs hope! And that hope is found in Jesus Christ. I wish Emanuel Cleaver, who is a Methodist minister, would have done a better job conveying that.