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The war against “thoughts and prayers”

by Greg Krehbiel on 6 November 2017

Whenever some tragedy happens, some people send their “thoughts and prayers,” and other people, increasingly, get offended by that.

“We don’t want your thoughts and prayers! Do something.”

It’s an interesting reaction.

First, it implies that “thoughts and prayers” don’t do anything. But that’s clearly false, since some people take comfort in the fact that others sympathize with their plight, and some people believe in the power of prayer.

Second, it implies that “doing something” — in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy — is the answer. As if we already know what to do, and just have to do it.

Third — and this may be the most interesting — many of the people who decry “thoughts and prayers” think that posting something political on social media is a more noble, fitting reply than “sending thoughts and prayers.”

2017-11-06  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 9

  1. Scott Wicker
    6 November 2017 @ 3:12 pm

    Hmm, this is the first I’ve heard about this “war against thoughts and prayers”. Is it something new? Sounds kind of Scroogey and un-PC.

  2. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    6 November 2017 @ 3:24 pm

    I made up the designation, but seems to have become a standard social media thing after each gun-related crisis.

  3. William
    6 November 2017 @ 4:17 pm

    After a tragedy last year, I used that phrase with someone and they seemed to get a bit indignant…as if I was only suggesting prayer in absence of any appropriate action. Of course, that’s not what I intended but even with further explanation, it still seemed to cause some level of offense. I thought that was a unique occurrence. Yet, it seems as if it’s a real thing now. To quote our president…Sad!

  4. Robin R.
    6 November 2017 @ 7:44 pm

    Naturally wherever prayer warriors get sent out there is going to be a reaction to them. This explains the war on prayers, but I still don’t get the part about thoughts. Are there thought warriors?

  5. smitemouth
    6 November 2017 @ 9:41 pm

    How long since Sandy Hook? It’s been long enough to not be caught up in the moment. People are sick of all these shootings.

    You sort of make their point for them in your reponse: You say, “some people believe in the power of prayer.” One, you don’t identify as the “some people” and 2) you say some people believe in the power of prayer, but you don’s ascribe anything more to it than their belief. You don’t ascribe that the prayers have any actual real power. And, that is where you make the points for the others. They are saying prayer isn’t doing shit. People just say platitudes and don’t do anything.

  6. William
    6 November 2017 @ 10:20 pm

    Faith without works is dead says St. James 2:26 It’s a two pronged proposition. When feasible, there should be action to accompany prayer. Given this, I can understand some people’s frustration if all prayer winds up being is a slogan.

    That said, despite people being exasperated by recent shootings and violence (me included), we should not throw out the baby with the bath water. Even when circumstances don’t “seem” to visibly change, at a minimum, prayer can still be effectual in giving momentary comfort to those in need.

  7. smitemouth
    6 November 2017 @ 10:24 pm

    champagne and reefer can also give momentary comfort. 🙂

  8. William
    6 November 2017 @ 10:27 pm

    If that’s what some people chose…have at it! 😉

  9. Robin R.
    7 November 2017 @ 10:15 am

    I got it! You can have champagne and reefer while you pray. Man, that will bring you so much comfort!

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