Eugene Cho

pray for those liberals…


I remember being instructed as a new Christian many years ago to pray for influential Hollywood people.  I did as I was instructed and I still remember praying for numerous including Tom Cruise…umm, I should have prayed more. So, I kind of chuckled when I saw this article recently from the Christian Post entitled, Prayerful Americans Called to ‘Adopt a Liberal.’

I’ve been called lots of different names and labeled with different words including the ‘liberal’ word. I’ve also been called a ‘narrow minded fundy,’ ‘wanna be progressive’, ‘classic conservative’, ‘christian communist’ and the list goes on.

The positive about being labeled is that I might actually make it on someone’s prayer list and who doesn’t want prayer?  :)

I’m a fan of prayer. I’m a fan of civility. I understand the nature and necessity of politics. I don’t really like some of the views of the folks on the list but I also don’t know them as people – personally. And I know that while we’re instructed to pray for our ‘leaders’ but the ‘adopt a liberal’ thing sure seems weird.  How long before we get an “Adopt a Conservative” initiative? And thus, the perpetuation of the “otherizing” and worse, “demonizing” of others. Which leads us to the big picture question:

Is there another way?  What is the “follower of Christ” way?

Enough of me. What do you think?

Here’s the article:

A Christian legal group has introduced a new initiative to encourage prayerful Americans to “adopt” liberal leaders.

Fla.-based Liberty Counsel’s “Adopt a Liberal” program, inspired by the exhortation of the Apostle Paul, as recorded in 1 Timothy 2:1-3, invites prayerful conservatives to pick out a liberal or two who is in a position of authority to be the target of “regular, intense prayer in accord with St. Paul’s admonition to his disciple, Timothy.”

“Prayer is powerful! It allows God to change the minds of those for whom we are praying. In fact, we fully expect that many of our adoptees will ‘graduate’ from this prayer program with vivid testimonies of God having changed their lives and worldviews,” Liberty Counsel stated.

While the legal group admitted that there is a certain amount of tongue-and-cheek humor associated with their new program, they said they do want it to conform with the biblical passage in Paul’s letter and for it to move liberal leaders and cause them to be the kind of leaders who will encourage others to lead “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

The Rev. Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and one of the liberal leaders listed by Liberty Counsel, expressed Thursday that he’s thankful for the prayers being said on his behalf by supporters of the Religious Right group.

“This is quite an honor,” Lynn said. “I’m pleased that Liberty Counsel considers me such a threat that I rank alongside President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.”

But Lynn added that Liberty Counsel shouldn’t expect him to change his views and warned that any Liberty Counsel supporter who “adopts” him had better be prepared.

“I like to stay up late, and I’m not doing any chores around the house,” Lynn quipped.

Currently, Liberty Counsel’s list includes 11 individuals – Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Congressman Barney Frank, Director John Holdren, Barry Lynn, Secretary Janet Napolitano, President Barack Obama, Senator Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Senator Olympia Snowe.

Participants can also select “The Unknown Liberal,” a liberal not on the list who also “desperately need[s]” their prayers.

“Please pray daily for the liberal(s) of your choice, so each can become a good influence on our Nation’s culture,” Liberty Counsel stated. [original link]


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17 Responses

  1. Tonya says:

    I am not a person who generally picks a “star of the week” to pray for, but then I am a person who listens to God. Here’s the story.

    7 years ago I read a memoir by Jennifer Aniston’s mom…don’t ask me why, it was trash. But on the last 2 pages I distinctly heard God ask me to commit to praying for Jennifer and then-husband-Brad. So I did…regularly, for over a year. Feeling a bit silly about it the whole time.

    At a silent retreat I ran into friends from college who had since become missionaries to Hollywood (note, we are all Minnesotans…Hollywood is a loooooong ways away). As they were leaving we broke silence long enough for us to greet each other and for me to ask how their ministry was going. Still feeling sheepish…I asked if they had any interactions with Jennifer Aniston. What they told me was enough to convince me that it was no accident that God had me praying…and even that some of my prayers were answered.

    Wow…for a brief moment God pulled back the veil and I could see what previously was only seen “in a glass darkly.” A year later I was released from praying. I believe that whole episode happened, not so much for the power of prayer (although, HELLO!) but for the sake of renewing my faith in prayer. I just have no idea of the mysteries of God and how he works…

    So, if anyone feels lead to pray…for anyone (myself and Pastor Eu included) please do. God is working and desires for us to join him!

  2. Lee Gibson says:

    Why do we need to impose our vision of God’s will on somebody else?

    It is the height of arrogance to think that I know God’s will, that other person doesn’t, and I’m going to pray to God to tell them to agree with me. Because, of course, it’s me and God against them.


  3. It is appropriate — and biblical to pray for those in positions of influence. The “adopt a liberal” approach to doing so is a bit obnoxious.

    Also, the statement, “Prayer is powerful! It allows God to change the minds of those for whom we are praying…” sets off my theological crap detector on several levels.

  4. Tonya says:

    Lee…”Why do we need to impose our vision of God’s will on somebody else.” I agree 100%. How would I even know what that person actually believes, let alone what they should be believing?? I think praying for leaders should be more general prayers…for wisdom, for the ability to see from a kingdom perspective (even if they are NOT believers!), for protection from evil, for soft hearts, etc. General principles that are biblical. Our prayers would only add to the power of the work that God is already doing in and around them.

  5. Rose says:

    I would rather a ministry that is more along the lines of “Adopt an elected official” rather than liberal or conservative or whatever. I have prayed for many years for people of influence in the entertainment industry. It’s the industry I work in, and I see nothing foolish about it.

  6. I have felt led to pray for Christopher Hitchens before, but not as a serious, committed part of my ministry.

    Just my 2 cents.

  7. Joe Louthan says:

    Uh, do we get to pray for the older brother, err, I mean, the conservatives?

  8. elderj says:

    I don’t know much about this particular initiative, but I am aware that there are groups of people who regularly (and as noted in the post scripturally commanded) pray for political leaders. I noted this first during the Bush administration. And if the content of the prayer is as suggested in the post (entirely scriptural) then I have no problem with it at all. It seems to me that if people committed to prayer can employ a bit of tongue in cheek humor (a la “adopt a liberal”) we can abstain from casting aspersion on them or their efforts.

    I would take issue with it if they were explicitly praying for certain political policy things (like liberal Christians groups praying for the adoption of health care reform cough cough), but if they are praying for “them to be the kind of leaders who will encourage others to lead “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” then I’m all for it.

  9. Angela says:

    There can’t be too much prayer. So has the ‘Adopt A Conservative’ parallel started yet?

  10. pjchris says:

    Okay…Olympia Snow and Arnold Schwarzinager (sp?) are liberals?

    But seriously, I too agree that we should be praying for our leaders, but I disagree that one group with political leanings one way needs more prayer than any other group. I fairly sure that when the Bible says that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)that it means “all”. Our leaders are human, just like everyone else, and we all need prayer.

  11. @ Lee Gibson-I am there with you.

    If God puts it on my heart to pray for someone, I will. But these “programs” to pray for certain people–especially those with “liberal” views–seem artificial.

  12. Jim says:

    I like to pray through the contacts list on my blackberry

  13. Brian Clayville says:

    I say pray away for whoever you feel a need to pray for. If we are really wanting to advance the kingdom, we will pray with out ceasing and this will include all types of people. Some who happen to have massive influence.

    Using the labels does not help us advance God’s kingdom, it merely irritates those whom we disagree with.

    Most of the “progressive” politicians do not act in a way that shows any desire to serve God in their public lives. Therefore it is probably a great idea to pray for them more intensely. I can’t say that a lot of so called conservative politicians act much differently in their public lives so let’s pray for them too.

  14. I have no problem with it whatsoever as long as their motives are in check. There have been so many other obnoxious “outreach” activities over the years that this latest move is like a breath of fresh air.

  15. Erick says:

    It’s interesting that this group is focusing on praying so hard for liberals and not conservatives and the light in which they are doing so shows that there is something wrong with liberals and not conservatives…even though both political groups are leading our nation. The idea of “these sorry souls” bothers me because it sounds holier than thou. Yet I am convicted because I hardly pray for our leaders and their decisions, I really should do that more.

    Good post…

    ps Kind of funny that you wrote this today Eugene, I was called a socialist earlier this morning for taking a playful jab at corporate America, namely Walmart, on fb…I had to laugh.

  16. James Haynes says:

    I put this commentary on my read it later tab of my browser, so I am just now commenting.
    I am an active member or an evangelical congregation in the South. I am as disgusted by this “pray for a liberal” program as I was when our church took the President off of the prayer list. That action was uncalled for, because he was still in office. More disturbing was the clandestine racism in our congregation by not putting our newly elected President on the prayer list. Okay to pray for a man they agreed with, but not his successor. If they disliked him so much should not he be a “Priority” on their list?
    I continue to be appalled by Christians that are pious on Sunday and use Limbaugh and Beck as apostles of the Second Coming the rest of the week. Truly, well meaning Christians should really listen to what is said by their ilk. They too would be as disgusted as I.
    I receive many hate spewing emails from these fellow Christians. In the past I would answer with facts. I resigned to the fact that they were blinded by ignorance, prejudice and hatred. These normal friendly people are used to spread untruth and rumors. All this because they trust the person that sent them the information. If these friends would spend as much time in the Scriptures as they do watching Fox News, perhaps they would be more discerning.
    Veritas-Truth will always set you free.

  17. […] and religious legalist; the other person on the fence on that hot theological issue; the other liberal or conservatives; that feminist or ultimate fighting Jesus lover, and on and […]

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One Day’s Wages

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People often ask, "How does one stand all that rain in Seattle?" Actually, it doesn't rain that much. I like the rain. Keeps everything "evergreen" and clean. Keeps our air fresh. What's challenging is the gray weather. Give me a few more sunny days. 99 more days to be specific. 
Regardless, still love this city. Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother.

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