Perpetually orange/tan Florida Gov. Charlie Crist told a group of Florida real estate agents last Friday that he has been personally placing, or having someone else place, a prayer in the Western Wall of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem once a year since he became Florida’s governor.
Commonly referred to as “The Wailing Wall” the structure in question is the only remaining portion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Originally built around 960 BC by King Solomon, according to the Bible (and numerous non-religious sources, as well), the “First Temple” was destroyed by the Babylonians in the war leading to the Babylonian Captivity which dominates a good segment of the Old Testament.
Around 516 BC, Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great, in a move heretofor unique in history, set the Hebrews free and underwrote, out of his treasury, much of the reconstruction of the city of Jerusalem AND the Temple. Amazing! The gift of freedom and economic support to a former enemy by an absolute monarch of a completely different ethnic culture and religion. A burst of generosity and peace completely unprecedented in human history. And never equaled except, perhaps, when Pres. Harry Truman created the plan to rebuild Europe and named it for his Secretary of State Gen. George C. Marshall. (Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1953.)
Rebuilt over several hundred years, the Temple was again destroyed in 70 AD, this time by the Romans. Never since reconstructed, the only portion of the original (2nd) structure is the wall on the Western side, hence the Western Wall. The sobriquet “Wailing Wall” comes from the tradition of offering prayers, in the form of chants to Yahweh while facing the Temple Wall, most often from a standing position while rocking back-and-forth. Particularly important prayers are commonly written out on tiny “scrolls” of paper and inserted in the crevasses between the stones of the wall. It is this tradition, the written prayer inserted in the Western wall, that Gov. Crist, a Methodist, was referring to.
What does this have to do with hurricanes? That is exactly what the governor was purporting to explain to the meeting of agents. He noted that in the two years before his elevation to the governor’s chair, Florida had been hit by a total of eight hurricanes.
“Do you know the last time it was we had a hurricane in Florida? It’s been awhile. In 2007, I took my first trade mission. Do you know where I went?” said Crist, a Methodist, referring to a trip to Israel.
He then told of going to the Western Wall and inserting a note with a prayer. He said it read, “Dear God, please protect our Florida from storms and other difficulties. Charlie.”
Crist had a friend, Sen. Nan Rich, place the same prayer in the Wall on a trip to Israel during 2008. This year, in May, another friend repeated the same task.
“May, June, July, August — we’re getting closer,” Crist said. “Knock on wood. I would ask you all to say a prayer.”
Afterward, he said he’s not taking credit for the lack of storms in this hurricane-prone state.
“I give that to God,” Crist said. “But it’s nice.”
Nice that Charlie doesn’t want to hog all the credit. But here’s my question. Is God, in all his bloodthirstiness, sitting out there just itching to blast significant portions of Florida away, killing a few of his beloved subjects in the process, and only held in check as long as Orange Charlie keeps sticking scrolls in the wall?
Follow up question: Given the state of the real estate market throughout Florida, do you think that what the agents most wanted to hear was about how Charlie is in good with The Lord?
July 4, 2010 at 5:05 pm
Everything else seems to be okay ecxept that Temple image description. That is model of the second Temple, the extra stairways and pillars were added by Herod. The Temple Solomon build according to the instruction of God had two pillars, those pillars were like feet, and the whole Temple structure was in resemblance of the man. You can see head, hands, eyes and everything if you look “the floorplans”.
So, now you know why Church is called Body of Messiah.
May 29, 2010 at 2:23 pm
Interesting comments, and thanks for sharing them.
FWIW, the Bible has numerous accounts of God using various weather patterns to communicate His pleasure or (more often) His displeasure with His people. Think of Elijah praying and God withheld the rain for over three years. Or Samuel’s response to the Israelites when they came to him demanding a king of their own: He prayed and God sent a huge thunderstorm to communicate His displeasure with the people’s request for a (human) king.
Those are but two examples.
Given the moral and religious decline in America over the past few decades, it is not unreasonable to believe that God is and has been using meteorological events to try to warn us and communicate His unhappiness over what we, as a nation, are doing these days.
And, if that is the case, then it is also not unreasonable for Governor Crist to pray to God for the protection of his constituents from God’s wrath. In fact, it speaks well of him that he has the wisdom to both recognize the true nature of some of these events and to beseech God (unlike MANY of his political contemporaries) for mercy and protection.
If you do not believe that God is in the business of using His Creation (including the weather) to communicate to the people He created something of His will and warn them (us) of His coming wrath, then you would be well advised to go back and re-read your Bible–ALL of it.
September 6, 2009 at 4:30 pm
I should add that, again, though the power of prayer should never be underestimated, prayers that go unanswered do such for reasons only known to God.
September 6, 2009 at 4:28 pm
Thanks, I appreciate the compliments.
And I do understand what your saying. Personally, I do believe that God’s will is done in all situations and that he is in control of all situations. So Pat Robertson can pray a hurricane away from the states all he wants, but if that’s not the will of God then he better hope he’s got good flood insurance.
As you said, deep conversations over blog comments is not ideal, so I hope this explained what I was trying to get across. If not, I’ll be glad to clarify.
Great blog and I’ll be back!
September 2, 2009 at 10:38 am
Good comment, Rick. It may have seemed that I was demeaning the power of prayer, in general. I did not mean to do so.
I respect the tradition of the Wailing Wall prayer supplication and have no doubt that some prayers bring results.
What I do question, though, is the idea that major weather disasters are being conjured up, or held in abeyance, in accordance with the religious behavior of an individual, or even of a group. Or that hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons and monsoons are directed punishments for the misdeeds of certain peoples. I think the idea of Pat Robertson “praying” a hurricane away from the east coast is more a matter of a runaway ego than it is sound theology.
This is a deep subject for small comment bubbles. And that creates an opportunity for poor communication and offense.
I appreciate you speaking up. I think understanding and progress come out of a willingness to test ideas against one another.
Please come back.
September 1, 2009 at 6:06 pm
As a Christian, I never underestimate the power of prayer. The real estate agents’ opinions, however, depend on the the personal views of the real estate agents. I imagine that real estate agents strong in their Faith would be comforted by Crist’s act, while those that are “lukewarm” in their Faith or have none at all would probably be less than thrilled.