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August 27, 2008

Video: Donald Miller's wish list

I promise this is my last post on Donald Miller, who gave the benediction last night at the Democratic National Convention.

He accepted the invitation last week after Relevant founder Cameron Strang backed out, he spoke with me yesterday and then prayed after Michelle Obama's keynote last night.

I overheard a conversation today that pointed out that although Miller used the name of Jesus, he seemed to emphasize the word "I." He said, "I make these requests in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice." Why do you think he worded it that way?

Here's the video I took of our interview yesterday in a restaurant. I cut down the full interview for those with short attention spans, but he said something later I found noteworthy when I asked him about negative reaction he has received. He said, "It's interesting that you could do something scandalous like deny the trinity and get less flack than support a Democrat for president."

The video focuses on the issues he believes should be important to the Democratic Party.


Perhaps he is (unkowingly?) following relativistic/tolerant protocal, i.e. emphasizing that though HE is praying in Jesus' name, he doesn't expect that everyone is, or even ask that everyone else does.

I agree with Kristen. A lot of times people pray "we pray..." but in this case Miller probably didn't feel like he could rightly use that phrase.

Are you seriously asking why he used "I" with reference to making this entreaty in the name of Jesus? Obviously because he was not speaking in a church gathering but in a gathering of a pluralistic democracy. It was actually the Christian thing to do. He couldnt assume everyone in there was on the same page.

I think Miller showed great theological astuteness by recognizing that corporate prayer becomes anemic civil religion when one prays assuming that everyone is a believer. His prayer was responsible as a public witness to Christ, an encouragement to the Christians in his hearing who no doubt joined in the prayer, but did not presume that unbelievers in the crowd were actually believers. This is a distinction that most evangelicals fail to appreciate, and thus they get frequently used by civil religionists. Kudos to Donald Miller.

I like how he doesn't try to generalize everyone's beliefs by assuming that they are praying along also when he stresses the word "I." That's pretty sensitive of him. From the interveiw: what is all this garbage about representing to the world a "Christian nation?" First of all, what is a christian nation? Is it one where everyone in it is Christian? Is it one with Christian values (in which case we need to consider what those are and I think a lot of different people will have different ideas about that)? Where is there an encouragement or mandate in the bible for nations (besides Israel in the Old Testament which is a different circumstance) to represent Christ? It's one thing to represent Christ to the world as an individual or group such as a church. But a nation, with the power of the sword, and the ugliness of politics, is not mentioned in that way. It should not be one of the goals of a nation to represent Christ to the world, especially not this nation, in which the state is seperate from the church, and the state does not try to be the church to anyone, here or internationally. This kind of arrogance and usurpation of our historical state-religion seperation, this evangelical agenda which dismisses all other religious veiws in our country is what makes Christians look so bad. Not to mention the Bushies, and the irresponsible Republican party who Miller referances in the video.

What does he mean fighting abortion will cause many many lives? Does he mean more babies will die? I don't know where he's coming from.
The Democrates want to keep Roe vs Wade intact, and even more firm, so that babies can continue to be slaughtered. In 1973 after amny years of fighting for the right kill babies, the world got it's way. Surely i will conitnue to pray and speak out for the millions of children ripped apart, and who have their skulls crushed, and brians sucked out, and even left to die in a closet, which is infanticide, which Obama endorses, which is Barbaric, don't you think.
Abortion is barbaric. It's evil, and should not be done. And no way should be legal.
Does Miller agree with this? I guess not.

I didn't like the Democratic talking points as prayer. Since when do political party talking points (Republicans included) become Creeds we recite. And if I were Blue like a Dem I would've loved the prayer.

This emergent "middle way" is going to go to Obama. Strang talks about all life being sacred, etc. and he's right. But abortion has killed more human lives than all our military incursions since 1973 collectively and by an exponential amount -- ditto capital punishment. Going for Obama will only increase that number (not directly, but by his policies of course). Not to mention the creepy cult of personality they've built.

I feel duped for voting for Bush due to my views on abortion alone. We didn't find Bin Laden, we made a new country of terroists by invading a place with no WMDs, we lost most of our respect from the world, we have worse schools and we are losing more and more great teachers to other work fields, and Abortion is still legal! Abortion is legal, and we can save lives by simply reaching women and giving them the means and options to keep their babies.
We need to help the poor, the sick, the weak, the unemployed and stop helping the rich oil companies and white haired men who have owned our vote for so long.
Thank you, Donald, for explaining so beautifully my feelings and the feelings of many other believers I know.

It was very scary to hear so many political policy references at the end of Miller's benediction, in which he essentially invoked the Lord to bring liberal platforms to fruition. Of course they were all Democratic policies, but it would be equally scary if they were Republican.

The more we cave to the demands of the culture, the less we rely on God and His Word.

I think many people lost a great deal of respect for both the Church and Donald Miller after this talk. It was incredibly sad to hear, and as Christians we need to be much more cautious in our rhetoric; whether it's in front of 3 people or 300 million.

Miller's prayer was the merriment of Devils and enjoyed the applause of hell. This prayer was politically correct, but spiritually vacant. It is the kind of prayer that sinful men will embrace, but God ignores. Personally, it left me feeling blue like jazz; but maybe that was the point.

Donald, may I encourage you to burn your political Jesus and honor Him as the one true Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ of the Scriptures once again. Prayer is not just about man and his needs... it is also about God and His glory.

Remember that the next time you decide to play politics with God.

2 Cor. 4:5-7

There are many, many young Christians who listen to leaders like Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis et al. When I read/listen to their unbelievable excuses and reasons for tolerating aborting the life of a God created "least of these", one of the things that always comes to mind is the scripture from Luke---"It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble." These guys WILL answer for leading their little "flock" of followers to accept the "theology" that the murder of unborn babies is legitimate and acceptable doctrine.

I was disappointed by his saying outlawing abortion is a "pipe dream." Imagine saying that to other civil rights victims, telling African-Americans that outlawing slavery is a pipe dream, that women's rights are a pipe dream, etc. These civil rights are now sacred as we are now embarrassed by our history, as people have been recalling this week how they never thought a black man or a woman could be elected president. Why should we lose hope that people will someday respect the sanctity of life even if it is unborn? It doesn't mean we have to cast aside the needs of women, but we can't buy into the "choice" premise that the rights of women and the unborn are incompatible.

I'm also annoyed with those who commented condemning Miller to hellfire, etc.. Inflamatory, angry and damning rhetoric on abortion only strengthens the pro-choice position as it communicates an attitude of noncompassion, judgmentalism (remember Jesus with the woman caught in adultery) and violence. So it is rather hypocritical actually. You cannot show compassion for unborn babies and then demonize others. This is as intellectually inconsistent as Obama's own pro-choice postition.