The Real Offense of "Amen and Awoman"

If you think 2020 was filled with foolishness, wait until you see the first days of 2021.

Last week, in the opening session of the 117th Congress, Representative Emmanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri, prayed the prayer to open the session of the new Congress. In a sign of his virtue signaling, he famously ended the prayer by praying “Amen and Awoman.” He took a word that is not gendered, Amen, and he turned it into a gender term, I suppose he did this to show how inclusive and sensitive he is.

Amen. I understand, A M E N. But Amen is a word that shows up in virtually every language on the planet. It originally comes from Hebrew. The word Amen (אמן) and it’s not a gendered term. It’s a word that means affirmation or approval. It’s translated literally, “may it be so” or “so be it.” And so, it’s usually utilized at the close of a prayer because what it means is, the prayer that’s been offered to a deity, you finish with Amen because that means “may this prayer occur as I’ve asked it, may it be so.” Amen.

In his silliness, he made himself look like he has no idea what the word means. This is despite the fact that Representative Cleaver is an ordained Methodist minister. But showing how sensitive he is, how woke he is, he closed his prayer with Amen and Awomen.

The problem is that the foolishness of that closing is not even the most egregious part of the prayer that he prayed. As he actually wrapped up his prayer asking for peace in the country and peace on the floor of the House, he finished by saying this, “We ask in the name of the monotheistic god, Brahma and god known by many names in many different faiths. Amen. Awoman.”

Now, the Amen and the awoman part is just silliness. It’s just nonsense. He’s virtually signaling to show that he is so alert to the great issues of our day. But the most egregious part of that prayer was the silly statement that this prayer is in the monotheistic god, Brahma and god known by many other names in many other faiths.

Let me tell you what the problem is. First of all, it reveals that he has a disingenuous motive in the prayer. He was not speaking a particular deity. He was not calling on God to involve Himself in the affairs of men in this generation. He was trying to prove by virtually signaling just how woke he is.
Here’s the reason that that’s clearly so disingenuous. Because to pray in the name of the monotheistic god as well as Brahma, who is a foundational god in the Hindu pantheon of gods, and then to sort of tack on this umbrella phrase and god as he is known in all other faiths; what he did was, he insulted every follower of any religion on the planet. Because what he did, was he associated all the gods and prayed this generic prayer and just sort of threw it out there to the universe. In all religions, gods by definition are exclusive. Even if we go back into the ancient world and see the Greek and Roman pantheon of gods, there were still real rivalries among those gods for the specific and individual loyalties of the people that were worshipping them. Gods do not share their loyalty. And so, this silly prayer is not only an insult to Christians and Jews and Muslims, that’s who I assume he’s talking about when he prays to the monotheistic god, as if Allah and the God of the Bible are the same God, which they are not. But then he throws in a Hindu god and then he has this umbrella term for all other gods. And what he did was he told every follower of any religion on the entire planet that their exclusive claims to belief are invalid. They mean nothing. Let’s just have a list of all the possible gods in the whole world and we’ll just sort out a good vibe in to the universe and see who hears it. It’s like sending out radio signals hoping some alien somewhere picks it up. Particularly for a man who is an ordained Methodist minister, this is nothing short of act of public blasphemy.

What he did was he prayed to a Hindu god. Now, I believe in religious liberty. If Congress wants to have a prayer offered to Brahma, then let’s have a Hindu come and pray to his god. If Congress wants a prayer offered to the gods of the stones and the trees then have an animist come and pray to the gods of the stones and the trees. But if they call on a Christian minister, the expectation should be that he lives up the tenets of his faith and calls out to the God of Christianity.

I can’t tell you how frustrated I am by this. If the Methodist denomination had any theological integrity left they would strip this man of his ministerial credentials and label him a heretic.

Now, when I say that people are going to say, “Oh, you’re so divisive. You’re so hateful.” Let’s talk about Tolerance. We tolerate people but we don’t tolerate error. I mean, think about it. There’s no architect worth his salt that would tolerate a building with a faulty foundation. There’s on physician that would treat a patient and tolerate an infection. There’s no mathematician that would do anything less than demand that 2 plus 2 always equals four. There are foundational truths necessary for the functioning of all of those disciplines. And yet, we live in a culture that tells us that there’s no absolute truth. There’s nothing objective that is immovable that we can attach ourselves to that is trustworthy. Everything is up for grabs. And truth is just a matter of preference or opinion.

The problem with that is, those people who stand for truth, who declare that truth is an objective reality, that it is outside of us, we don’t determine truth, we either align ourselves with truth or stand in opposition to truth. Our culture now believes that people who argue for truth are hateful, that they’re bigots, that they’re judgmental. Traditionally throughout western civilization, it has been those who bring false teaching that have been recognized as the divisive ones. Somehow, we’ve flipped on its head this idea of truth so that now when we stand for truth, when we argue for truth, we’re the bad guys. And yet, without objective truth society cannot long survive.

Today we have ministers in Congress praying to Hindu gods to show how inclusive and woke they are. Let me tell you what’s coming folks. If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ it is time for to do some things. I don’t know what your 2021 resolutions were but let me give you some steps that you need to be about as we move forward in this year. Because we now have abandoned truth in any kind of recognizable way. In fact, we are just about to inaugurate a new President who has a long history of elaborating his back story. And a Vice President who has been caught plagiarizing most of the stories from her childhood. In other words, truth doesn’t matter.

What do we do? How do we respond? Well, the first thing you need to do is make a decision that you’re going to know the Word of God. There is one trustworthy source of truth that I can point you to and it is the Word of God. But when we are more influenced by the main stream media, when we are more guided by the content of social media platforms and we don’t know the truth of the Word of God, we are at a serious disadvantage of knowing how to move forward. You need to know the Word of God. You need to be in the Word every single day. One motto that you might live by, one resolution that you might make is, “No Bible, No Breakfast.” You get up in the morning and you make your way into the presence of God and you spend time in His Word. And you let that Word become implanted in your mind and in your soul.

Secondly, find a Biblically faithful church. Listen, I know if you’ve been in a church for long time it’s a terrible thing to contemplate having to change. But if you have a pastor who preaches series or messages based on hashtags, if he loves to quote trendy academics about social justice matters, you need to be alert to the fact that your church is moving away from God’s Word not towards it. Find a church that teaches the Word of God, that gives attention to hermeneutics, that interprets the Word of God correctly and properly. You gotta to know the Bible for yourself. You’ve gotta be in a community of believers who are seeking out God’s Word and learning it and living by it.
And thirdly, you need to practice discernment. We have got to develop the ability to know when we’re being lied to. Practice discernment.

Let me share some verses from 1 Peter. In 1 Peter 1:13 Peter says this: “with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Peter says that in a day like ours, one of the crucial disciplines for a believer is that we’ve got to be mentally prepared for the challenges of our day. Set your mind on action. In fact, some translations actually say, “gird up your minds.” It’s the picture of the ancient world where they wore long robes. But when you needed to work manual labor or if you were going to run, you would reach down and you would take the robe and you would tuck it into the sash. You would gird yourself up so that you were unhindered in the ability to do what you needed to do. Peter is telling us gird up your mind. Get ready for the hard work of being intellectually consistent and standing for truth.

In chapter 2:1-2 he says this: “rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the Word, so that you may grow into your salvation.”

Jesus followers, now, today more than ever before in our lifetimes, I’m calling you out to know the Word of God, to hunger for it like a baby wants his milk. This is the foundational response to everything that we’re going to face in 2021.

We call this commentary "TruthCurrents." It’s an attempt to evaluate current events by truth. Come along with me in the word of God. Seek truth because, I’m telling you, very quickly we’re going to be the only ones left trying to find it.

God bless you, in the Word, in a Biblically faithful church, practicing discernment.

This is TruthCurrents.

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