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This fellow needs to be beaten with a large breviary

HT: Romish Internet Graffiti

Have mercy! We Catholics tolerate a lot of nonsense these days, but we absolutely draw the line at sneaking corporate advertisements into NASCAR invocations!

Comments (20)


That was the breviary.

The Elephant

Jeff, it's much easier to listen to in song form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZnDt2wEFjk&feature=related


That was the 'pastor' hitting the ground

thud, squeal, ouch, slap, slap, squeal ouch

The sound of half a dozen Dominican Teaching Sisters armed with nothing but Rulers and board markers giving this 'pastor' a good lesson in how NOT to pray.

"Smokin' Hot Wife"


Some of the Baptist pastors I and my parents knew growing up would have given him a good whuppin' too. In prayer we acknowledge that we are in the presence of God. That was dinned into me from earliest childhood. This is nothing less than blasphemy--pretending to pray while putting on a supposedly humorous performance. Wish he'd gotten almost struck by lightning and scared stiff.

True. Let's have a little love for the Protestants here too! Catholics aren't the only ones who'd know how to deal with him. I'd like to see Paul Washer take him down. Whooo-eee!

The Elephant

In Jesus name, boggedy, boggedy, boggedy [sp?], Amen.

I don't know what that means, but I'm pretty sure I'm offended. Maybe he should stick to praying in tongues.


This is a rather old controversy, although there is nothing wrong in you brining it up again for the readers of W4. I first became aware of the goofy pastor (who, by the way, is riffing on a movie character played by Will Farrell in "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby") when I read this unconvention defense over at "First Things":


Matthew is usually a sensible blogger/writer so I was surprised by his take on the matter. The comments in that post are interesting.

What's really crazy is that anyone could think that a performance fake-prayer alluding to a movie is somehow less offensive than if the same words were said without alluding to a movie. From the blasphemy perspective, it's almost worse. Prayer is talking to God. He isn't. He's putting on an act. Put up your lightning rods.

Elephant and Jack: Nice work, boys. Thanks for taking care of the situation. I knew I could count on you. :-)

Lydia: I'm sure you're right about the Baptists you knew growing up, and many Baptists today for that matter. I, too, think this joker was only pretending to pray. But doesn't spontaneous public prayer almost always degenerate into a message for the people listening rather than a prayer to Almighty God? Here's a much more serious "prayer" - equally blasphemous, in my view - that is really nothing but a political lecture:


Jeff Singer: Looks like I'm late to the party, as usual. We don't have television and I don't keep up with this kind of thing. Just browsing Scott W's blog last night and had a good laugh. (I suppose it should have been a good cry.) Never heard of Talladega Nights.
Didn't Will Farrell play one of the characters on MASH?

But doesn't spontaneous public prayer almost always degenerate into a message for the people listening rather than a prayer to Almighty God?

Nope. Certainly, you know that others are listening (as does someone engaging in out-loud liturgical prayer), but if you aren't definitely *speaking to God*, if you are simply engaging in a performance, then something is seriously wrong. In either case. The writers of liturgical prayers also knew that the prayers would be teaching. Isn't there a saying in Latin that means something like, "As we pray, so we believe"? (I think it's "lex orandi, lex credendi.") It isn't wrong per se to be aware of the congregation. It _is_ wrong not to be speaking to God.

No time to listen to the political prayer at the mo.

Ewwwwww. That "political prayer" was Rick Warren's invocation for Obama's inauguration. Watch with pepto-bismol on hand.

The Elephant

On Rick Warren's prayer (and I don't like Rick Warren, by the way):

--I think he was sincere, he really was praying to God, so I can't agree that it was anything like as blasphemous as the main post prayer.

--It was not spontaneous, so its faults cannot be attributed to spontaneous prayer. He clearly wrote it ahead of time. You can see that in all the parallelisms and the careful wording, including the silly multi-language set of names for Jesus.

I know a priest who was tapped to pray at the opening of the local 40 Days for Life meeting. He wrote a liturgical-style prayer of his own and prayed it for them and has now incorporated it into the liturgy of his own parish. It fits in quite well.

The category of "prayers written ahead of time by a single individual" is its own kind of thing. Neither spontaneous nor traditional liturgical. Can have the faults and the advantages of either spontaneous or liturgical prayer, or of both.

--Warren was clearly trying in some sense to perform. This was accentuated, not diminished, by the pre-written and crafted nature of his words. That same quality was present in his deliverance of the Our Father, which is of course fully liturgical in every sense.

--Warren of course worked in contemporary and political references. This is annoying and was probably intended in some sense for his audience. By the same token, however, prayers for any public occasion will work in what the writer of the prayer thinks specially important for and appropriate to the occasion. For example, the BCP prayers for a wedding contain (IIRC) a special blessing that the couple may have children. There are plenty of other examples that could be given of liturgical prayers for special occasions.

What is at fault here is not the notion that one would include in a prayer on a public occasion specific references and allusions relevant to the occasion but rather Warren's taste and decisions in selecting the references to make. Again--I think the appropriate criticisms are criticisms of what one might call liturgical choices. Warren or some speech writer for him obviously wrote the prayer and in so doing produced what is actually a piece of individually written liturgy. From there on, if we don't like what's in it (and I don't), that's what we're quarreling with--not "spontaneous" prayer but poor, politicized, and propagandistic liturgy.

Didn't Will Farrell play one of the characters on MASH?

No Jeff, he's a fairly recent Saturday Night Live alumni who moved on to movies. I wish I didn't know that and I'm happy for you that you didn't know that.

Agreed, I would definitely say it's not on the same blasphemous level as the NASCAR "prayer."

It is hard to listen to without feeling a bit nauseous though. Your categorization of it is probably fair, but that's some dad gum awful liturgy there.

The Elephant

Jeff C.,

I can't break free of the hold popular movies have on me, but I am grateful to have largely given up on TV over the past 10 years or so (except for kids shows -- I'm a sucker for SpongeBob), so like Bruce, I'm happy that you can go through life without any knowledge of who Will Farrell is (although I must admit, I find him very funny, especially in "Old School" and "Anchorman"). You were thinking of the actor Mike Farrell from "M.A.S.H."

Anyway, this struck me as interesting: "But doesn't spontaneous public prayer almost always degenerate into a message for the people listening rather than a prayer to Almighty God? "

I'm part of a small ecumenical Bible men's group here in Chicago, and most of the guys are non-denominational evangelical Christians (there is one other Catholic besides me). At the beginning and at the end of every meeting we open and close in prayer -- and the duties are passed around. I'm always uncomfortable leading the prayer and I just think this is a Catholic cultural thing -- I'm used to reading and listening to prayers and/or silently praying to God (often those silent prayers are also traditional things like Hail Marys or Our Fathers). Whereas the guys in this group seem to naturally know just what to say and direct their prayers to God but also to the group in a way that is meant for us all to take comfort and ultimately join in thanks that Christ died on the cross. Every time it is my turn to lead a prayer, I have to stifle the urge to just fall back on the Our Father and actually think of something relevant to say to God (which I like to do, even if it brings me out of my comfort zone).

that's some dad gum awful liturgy there

Yup. Warren is in plenty of bad company in this regard. What people who have suffered (e.g., in modern Episcopalian churches) from modern liturgy don't know about what dad gum awful liturgy is like would fill a thimble.

Whereas the guys in this group seem to naturally know just what to say and direct their prayers to God but also to the group in a way that is meant for us all to take comfort and ultimately join in thanks that Christ died on the cross.

Just a matter of practice, Jeff. :-)

I occasionally think of it as if speaking in reverence to a great king, surrounded by friends, family, or children, etc. I want to come to the great king and speak to him in a way that draws those (at least, those Christians of good will) with me into the petition spiritually, closer to the king, so that they can say "amen" to it and can be enriched by joining in heart in that petition to and adoration of the great king.

Of course, anyone who reads my personal blog knows how I love the great liturgy of the BCP as well. He is a rich Christian indeed who has both kinds of good prayer (good spontaneous prayer and good liturgical prayer) in his life.

Thanks Jeff

Btw I forgot to mention that the 'pastor' also suffered a concussion from being hit repeatedly on the head with local Priest's Brevium Romanam

Well, I made the culpable mistake of clicking on the relevant scene of "Talladega Nights" on YouTube. Then I made the mistake of continuing to watch for a few more seconds than I knew I should. And then, after watching for another minute or two, although I knew I should have stopped immediately, I continued to watch until the end of the filthy five-minute twenty-four second clip. Some people never learn.

This is what passes for comedy in America today? I suppose I knew that already. I could laugh at the preacher, because I thought he was sincerely doing whatever he was doing, but I couldn't laugh at the movie because of its cold and calculated blasphemy and sheer offensiveness. It was an assault. I keep forgetting that the rot is absolutely everywhere. We're doomed. I need a shower.

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