Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ramblings: Prayer and The Punisher

On occasion I listen to a podcast entitled Theology Nerd Throwdown.  That certainly sounds like something I would listen to, doesn't it?  I would direct you towards it, but that would violate these ramblings' current ban on links, footnotes, and other cumbersome formatting which inhibit productivity.

During one such podcast, the good hosts were conversing with the authors of a book with a title along the lines of Never Pray Again.  The title is both sensational and in jest.  They don't truly advocate you cease praying, but take the stance that, often, prayer is counterproductive.  What they mean is instead of someone praying about the ills of the world, that person gets up from their knees and tries to go assist in correcting those ills.

Think of it this way: instead of spending hours praying for God to help the impoverished and starving in my community, I go volunteer at the local food shelter and actually participate in providing for those I would be including in my prayers.  Certainly, it is far easier to do the former.  I can pray from the comfort of my own home and when I'm done it does feel like I have, at least, done something.

One commentator mentioned that with this mentality, prayer is often for our own benefit.  It makes us feel good.  He went on to say that such prayer is like so much masturbation, and that actual masturbation would probably be more beneficial.

That may be a little extreme, but it made me laugh.  I don't think anyone in that podcast will actually never pray again.  The point they make, though, is interesting.  When I pray, is it for any purpose other than an attempt to make me feel better?  Well, honestly, I do need to be comforted quite a bit.  And prayer, as communication with God, is quite important.  However, I can definitely see a point where prayer becomes nothing but lip service, a simple act to make us feel like we've tackled a problem instead of actually going out into the world and facing that problem.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting enough to ramble about.

And now on to Wednesday!

Hey, do you want to hear my unpopular opinion of the Punisher movies?  Most people prefer the version starring Thomas Jane and John Travolta.  I, however, greatly prefer the not-really-sequel starring Ray Stevenson, Punisher: War Zone.  Now, I do admit that the Thomas Jane movie has a better story and, over all, is made better.  But the story is also drawn out and the action is fairly limited.

War Zone, however, binges on action.  It is gleefully violent and filled with absurd action scenes that I can't help but love.  I don't want to watch the Punisher sneak around with a fake fire hydrant when he could be out shooting bazookas at parkour villains!  It is a crazy movie, and I can understand why it's not for everyone.  But it is definitely for me, and I have often argued that point, even with ticket takers at the local cinema.  In 2014.  War Zone came out in 2008.

And those are my ramblings.

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