Saturday, May 03, 2008

National Day of Prayer and the National Day of Reason

Thursday, May 1, the Linn County Association of Evangelicals (I serve as secretary) sponsored a National Day of Prayer observance on Mays Island in Cedar Rapids. It was a great day and I am thankful for a fair turnout of folks who came to show their support of this great nation we live in and to ask God's continued blessings on it.

The woman whom I am pictured with above is Dr. Lydia Hartunian, and she teaches at Kirkwood College where my son is attending, my wife attends, and I perform with the CR Jazz Band. Dr. Hartunian teaches Encounters in Humanities, Working in America, and Culture and Technology. She is also the faculty advisor for s student group called The National Day of Reason, a group that believes in secularism and humanism. She is also President of Atheists United for a Rational America. Dr. Hartunian is the founder and director of THE GREAT AMERICAN GOD-OUT!–an annual lecture series/celebration in November that encourages people to learn about godless living and critical thinking skills.

So you're asking yourself, what in the world are you doing in a pic with an avowed atheist? Dr. Hartunian came to the National Day of Prayer observance in order to show that there are citizens who do not embrace theism of any sort and so that they would be represented. But there's a twist...

Lydia led a group of students who held up signs encouraging people to "Pray, then act." In fact, they were collecting money for veterans in order to help them because they believe that hope is found in us rather than in God.

I thanked Dr. Hartunian and the students for their support of veterans and assured her that as a church we could always do a better job at reaching out to the downtrodden and disenfranchised.

We chatted for a long time and found that we have common ground in many things, not the least of which is that people need to be reminded that one of the greatest things we can do is to reach out to others, regardless of our motives.

As believers in God, our motive for loving others comes directly from God's own son Jesus Christ:

“I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 NET Bible

I thank God for bringing a new friend into my life. Tye out.

1 comment:

Th3 Li0n said...

Great article! We're very excited to see that Atheists and Christians can come together for meaningful conversation and working toward a better community. Congratulations to Lydia on bringing the atheist community such positive publicity!