As you may have read elsewhere, a man with a gun shot seven people at a church in Knoxville, Tennessee, yesterday. So far, two of the seven have died. The church's web site asks for prayer. That's certainly appropriate.
Yet, how shall we pray? The church's belief system is not Christian. Its statement of belief never mentions God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit or the Bible. It says, among other things, "WE BELIEVE in the tolerance of religious ideas. All religions, in every age and culture, possess not only intrinsic merit, but also potential value for those who have learned the art of listening." Thus, they do not believe the words of Jesus, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me." Do they believe Baal-worship and Satanism have intrinsic merit and potential value?
Another part of their statement of belief says, "WE BELIEVE in the authority of reason and conscience. The ultimate arbiter in religion is not a church, nor a document, nor an official, but the personal choice and decision of the individual." In other words, they specifically do not believe that the Bible is authoritative.
My first thought when I read of the shootings was that the shootings were sad, but that the church's beliefs were sadder. When seven people are in imminent danger of losing their physical life, it's national news. When a whole church is on the brink of eternally losing their souls, hardly anyone is alarmed or takes pity on them.
My imperfect prayer for them:
Father in heaven,
Have mercy on the people of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. Let them know that you are a personal, just, merciful God who cares about them in this time of their need. Turn around this gunman's evil actions and use them for good. Grant some of the people of the church eyes to see the truth that is in Jesus.