Prayerlamentary Procedure

from the Gospel According to Bob, Chapter 9, vss. 1-31 (this is a spoof, not the real Bible…)

1 “Yea, verily, I say unto you,” said Jesus, “God will attend to your petitions, and will give you what you ask in my name.”  2Robert, also called Bob, perked up.  “Our petitions?” he asked.  3”Yes.  If you petition God, God will grant you the desires of your heart,” Jesus replied.

4After a moment, Robert prayed aloud, saying,

5”Hear my petition, O Lord, which I ask in your Son Jesus’ name,

6Whereas, the Pharisees are acting like know-it-alls and won’t listen to us, and,

  Whereas, the scribes won’t give us the time of day, and,

  Whereas, the Sadducees are really stuck up and condescending,

7Therefore be it resolved that we would humbly request that you soundly smite them all, and…”

8”Hold it!” exclaimed Jesus. “That’s not what I meant at all.”

9Robert hesitated.  “So you wish to speak against the petition?” he asked.

10”Yes I want to speak against the petition!  This is supposed to be a prayer, not an order of business!” Jesus explained.

11”But you said we should petition God,” replied Robert.  “I am simply doing what you said.”

12”I didn’t mean like this,” responded Jesus.  “You don’t petition God to smite people!”

13Bob reflected for a moment.  “That’s two consecutive speeches against.  I’m afraid you’re out of order – Robert’s rules.”  Jesus was silent, staring at Bob.

14John rose to his feet.  “Bob, I would like to make an amendment to the petition.  I would like to add, ‘and whereas the chief priests are mean to us and try to kill us,’ after the third ‘whereas’ and immediately preceding the ‘therefore be it resolved.’”  James piped up, “Second!”

15Exasperated, Jesus spoke once more.  “This is unacceptable.  You can’t pray to God to smite your enemies; you are to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

16”So, would you like to make that a substitute motion?” asked Bob.

17”Yes, yes, that’s exactly what I would like to do.  I want to substitute love for smiting… and grace for judgment, and forgiveness for condemnation, and mercy for violence.  I would like very much to substitute all those things!” Jesus shouted.

18”I’m sorry.  You can’t move a substitute after making a speech against.  And anyway, we already have an amendment before us…” Robert explained.

19Jesus rolled his eyes heavenward and sat down, shaking his head, muttering to himself and the Holy Spirit.

20”So, the amendment before us is to add the chief priests to the ‘to be smitten” list.  We have a second.  Any further discussion?”

21”I think we should ask God to smite the Samaritans,” added Peter. 

22Robert consulted himself.  “I think you would need to move that as an amendment to the amendment.  If we get a second, you can speak to it.”

23”Second,” offered Judas.  Robert gestured for Peter to speak to his amendment.

24“Well, uhm, you know, I hate the Samaritans.  I would love to see them get a good smiting.”

25Jesus leapt to his feet.  “Point of order!”

26”Huh?” asked Bob.

27”Never mind,” said Jesus.  “This is insane.  I tell you, the business of God shall not be reduced to the business of humans.  You make the will of God a travesty when you make motions and amendments and take votes.  You who were once under the Law are now servants of the grace of God.”

28”That’s all well and good,” said Bob, “but how shall we ever get anything done?  How will we know what we are to do unless we vote?  How will we know who to love and who to revile without a clear process?”

29”Well, here’s an idea,” offered Jesus, “why don’t you just love everyone?  Why don’t you trust the Holy Spirit of God to direct your decisions, and whenever you are in doubt, err on the side of kindness, mercy, justice, and compassion?”

30Bob considered this for a moment.  “I think we’re going to need to refer that one to a sub-committee… Okay, back to the amendment on the floor to add Samaritans and chief priests to the smiting list.  All in favor?”

31With a sigh, Jesus whispered, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

12 replies

  1. Dan, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. You certainly have made your point about prayful discernment (if discernment is the “ability to judge well” does di-scernment = two or more in agreement after judging well?). Perhaps the Standing Rules could be changed to encourage more prayer? [This is movement toward your position, correct?] Still hoping to meet you. I work the middle paige/marshall shift. Will be at marshall position 7 from 1:30 – 6:30 pm.

    • I will look for you. (And yes, I would welcome more prayer and some time for discernment conversations between the delegates).

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