Archive for Saturday, April 3, 2010

Faith Forum: Is praying for a March Madness win proper or greedy?

April 3, 2010


The Rev. Shaun LePage, pastor, Community Bible Church, 906 N. 1464 Road

Interesting question with many possible answers:

The Northern Iowa answer: Probably greedy, but it works!

The KU answer: Probably greedy, but it doesn’t work.

The statistical answer: Regardless, it works 50 percent of the time.

The fraternity answer: Could you repeat the question?

The sorority answer: What’s “March Madness”? That sounds scary!

The text message answer: LOL :) AYS? IHNI

The psychological answer: How does praying for a win make you feel?

The philosophical answer: What does it mean to win … really?

The pragmatic answer: Who cares — just get the ball to Cole, play defense and hit the boards!

The pessimistic answer: Hardly anyone wins the national championship.

The desperate answer: If it helps, it’s “proper.”

The optimistic answer: God doesn’t mind a little greed.

The mystical answer: The true “madness” is yet to come.

The postmodern answer: I don’t know.

The epistemological answer: How do we know what’s “proper”?

The Supreme Court’s answer: Where do you want to do this “praying”?

The Pelosi-Reid-Obama answer: What’s “proper”?

The Wall Street answer: What’s “greedy”?

The John Lennon answer: Imagine no losers.

The Bill Self answer: Is it too late to pray?

The Arminian answer: Who chose this question?

The Calvinist answer: Man is hopelessly greedy apart from the grace of God.

The logical answer: Greedy — definitely greedy.

The thoughtful answer: I don’t think God cares about basketball.

The theological answer: Winning and losing games is part of God’s permissive will.

The biblical answer: “… In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6).” Let Him know what you want. If it’s “according to His will” (1 John 5:14-15) and glorifies Him (John 14:13), then it’s not greedy to pray for a basketball game. Now, turning back time for a second chance … that’s a whole different question.

— Send e-mail to Shaun LePage at

The Rev. Josh Longbottom, associate pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.

Basketball is a highlight of living in this town. But almost as awesome as basketball is watching my agnostic hipster friends get religion for a minute.

Nobody wants to talk God when everything is going good, but whenever things get a little desperate, most people put their knees to the floor and their hands in the air and say “Dear Jesus,” “Mother Mary,” “Krishna” or “Buddha.” I even heard someone pray to Jimi Hendrix at my house on that fateful last day of this year’s season.

So here is the deal: I know what you promised God, and I am coming to your house to collect!

Once upon a time, Martin Luther, father of the Protestant reformation, was on his way to law school when he got caught in a thunderstorm. He prayed, “Dear God, save me and I will serve you forever.”

If you find that the only time you pray is during March Madness, then I have one thing to say: Somewhere deep inside, you believe in God. You might not think you do, but I say, when the going gets rough, you pray for stuff, and that, my friend, means you have an undiagnosed theology. You might want to get that checked out.

If you don’t realize you believe in God, but you do, what else do you think you don’t believe in but do? It may well be the case that because you haven’t reflected on your own theology enough, you are feeling good about doing the wrong things and wrong about doing good things.

My grandma always said, “How you think God thinks about you is how you feel about yourself. So get it straight who you think God is, and how you are going to live your life, so that you can be happy.”

And Lord knows, grandma has always been right.

— Send e-mail to Josh Longbottom at


cato_the_elder 7 years, 8 months ago

Shaun LePage, great response. Highly entertaining.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 8 months ago

Kind of a 'trivial' thing to bug God about I'd say. (The Bible calls gambling "filthy lucre" so praying to win the office pool would be inappropriate in my opinion.)

After all, a majority of the posters on here probably couldn't even name last year's champion...I couldn't.

John Kyle 7 years, 8 months ago

Prayer is doing nothing and pretending you did something.

FloridaSunshine 7 years, 8 months ago

I haven't enjoyed and laughed as much at the two answers since I started reading Faith Forum.

Rev. LePage...what a great showcase for your sense of humor...and to let "unbelievers" know we Christians can very likely have a great sense of humor!! (A lot of "unbelievers" seem to think we are very dour...oh, well...)

Rev. Longbottom...Your first two paragraphs are hilarious...Jimi Hendrix!!!! What a great read!!

Thanks to both of you!!!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.