I’m going away for the weekend. We have a vacation place in West Palm Beach—there’s nowhere you’d rather be than Florida in July! My hubby, David and I are looking forward to a get-away. We’ll relax, enjoy some restaurants, sit by the pool, and do something together separately on Saturday. He’ll go play golf and I’ll go to my winter synagogue on a summer day. We fly into Palm Beach International. It’s still a relatively small airport by today’s standards. There’s a spot near the escalator that takes you to the baggage claim where you’ll get a welcoming smile from one of the many Floridian senior citizens. But this greeting is different from the official welcome you get from an aqua-jacketed volunteer from the Department of Tourism. She has gray-permed hair, a flowered dress (always a flowered dress), sensible shoes, and a sign that says “I’ll Pray for You.” What a nice offer! She has no open guitar case; she’s not asking for money, she just wants you to take a leaflet. The one I got says,”Would You Like to Know the Truth?”
Jehovah’s Witnesses are very active evangelists. They are also pariahs in many of the online Christian prayer sites I’ve researched. Webmaster Ed and I have been visiting chat rooms and forums to get ideas for a new feature we’re looking to add to the Prayables website. We’re building an online sacred space for women of different faiths to come together prayer. I found myself on My Guiding Light. Here is a greeting taken directly from their site under Chat Room Rules:
We do not allow promoters of false doctrines and heresies such as JWs, Mormonism, Oneness theology, Baha’i faith, Arnold Murray, Etc.
It’s a free country and far be it from me to pass judgment, (ha, ha) but this just doesn’t seem right. I suppose a heretic could muck-up a pleasant chat, and maybe we’ll need to “keep ‘em out” of the Prayables sacred prayer space when it’s up and running. But don’t bet on it.
Wouldn’t it be a better more peaceful world if religious tolerance, rather than religious intolerance were the rule? There’s a wonderful group doing just that with a great website; Religious Tolerance. They have a staff that consists of a Zen Buddhist, Wiccan, Christian, Atheist and Agnostic. They don’t agree on almost every theological principle. But, they have a very long list of what they do agree on and it starts with:
“We do believe: In the inherent worth of every person. People are worthy of respect, support, and caring simply because they are human.”
I know that the little old lady in the airport who is praying for me, is worthy of respect. I know the folks in the My Guiding Light chat room are worthy of respect. I know that I am worthy of respect. Three of us with very different points of view, who likely would not agree on most things theological, have something in common. We share a respect for ourselves, and a respect for the dignity of prayer.
A prayer from Prayables.com
I need You
I weep for You
I reach out for You
I feel You
I think of You
I worship You
Guide me to be
a better person today
Let the joy of worship
manifest in me
and others will
know your comfort
- Brenda Scott