20 August 2007

Protection Prayer

Whenever my wife embarks on a journey or activity, she prays for protection from harm. It's a pretty standard prayer type that a lot of the faithful do with some regularity.

A couple of nights ago at softball, my wife was playing catcher. The batter took a mighty swing with his $300+ carbon fibre composite bat. At the moment of contact, the bat sheared in two just above the handle sending the barrel, edged by razor-sharp serrations, whizzing past my wife's head, bouncing of the backstop behind her, and whizzing by the other side of her head in the opposite direction.

My wife claims that her prayer for protection saved her from getting a bat in the face and likely seriously injured. I have a small quibble with this: is God so petty that He would give one of His faithful a mouthful of carbon fibre unless she remembered to ask for protection from it in prayer? It's a good thing I'm not like that:

KA: (walking up to my friend Bill) "Hi Bill!"
Bill: "Hi King Aardvark!"
KA: "Say, you didn't ask me not to kick you in the nuts today!"
Bill: "Uh, is that really required?"
KA: "Yup! Sure is!" (kicks Bill in the nuts really hard)
Bill: "AHHHH!!!" (slumps to the ground in agony)
KA: "Remember, you're my buddy and I'll always protect you from kicks in the nuts as long as you ask me nicely."

However, that's not my real quibble about the prayer for protection. You see, a few innings after (allegedly) protecting my wife from a bat to the teeth, my wife stretched to catch a high fly ball, missed, and the ball landed squarely on her big toe. It's not broken, but her toenail is turning black, the toe is swollen, and she'll be limping around for the next few days. Her toenail will likely fall off soon, yet she still claims that God protected her because of the whole bat-not-quite-hitting-her-in-the-face thing.

So does this prayer for protection only cover one item per prayer, thus requiring separate prayers if you suspect you will be injured in two or more different ways during a given event? Regardless if this is the case or not, my wife surely doesn't blame God for not coming through on the toe thing and is content to focus on praising him for the bat thing. It seems like a weird deal to me.

In fact, listening to my wife pray for stuff, especially protection, seems to be more like trying to get wishes from a genie; you have to word it exactly right or else the genie will twist your wishes around to give you a suboptimal or even harmful result. I doubt this is a version of God that most would find comforting.

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At August 20, 2007 1:38 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

KA, please don't kick me in the nuts today, I pray thee. And may only those who truly deserve it fall outside your protection.

I'd like to thank cosmic karma that QA didn't get hurt by that bat in exchange for a lost toenail. Seems like a fair deal to me.

The genie analogy is good. My experience is that failed prayers can always be explained by some combination of:
- not god's will
- not worthy for god's blessing
- god's will (incomprehensibly cruel as it may be)
- insufficient faith

God is _not_ great.


At August 20, 2007 5:59 p.m., Blogger Necator said...

Mel has nuts???

If the X-tian god is that petty, I want none of it. It's like being in an abusive relationship. You're terrified of god but sort of develop this Stockholm syndrome thing where you love your tormentor.


At September 12, 2007 9:34 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like your kick in the nuts analogy, plus it's funny.

At February 05, 2008 2:06 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

its not like a genie, its like the mafia. selling you protection. from who? the mafia.

At February 07, 2008 2:51 a.m., Blogger Rugosa said...

Don't catchers in your wife's league wear face protectors? I have seen MBL games, where the catchers have full-face protecting screen masks. That might be a surer method of protection than prayer, which seems to rely on god's whim. (if the prayer doesn't work, it was god's will that you got your face mushed.)

At February 07, 2008 8:28 a.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

Not in our league. It's actually slo-pitch, no one wears helmets/facemasks, and I've never seen anything like that happen before. But as they say, God helps those who help themselves, so a facemask would certainly provide better protection than a hope and a prayer.

At March 17, 2008 1:02 p.m., Blogger Not Important said...

#! /usr/bin/perl

while() {
print "King Aardvark, please don't kick me in the nuts today.\n";
sleep 60*60*24;


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