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Hurrah for Marriage! (Tennessee Style)

I am so proud of my home state -- really! Especially after this prayer by the Tennessee (Lebanon-near Nashville) Baptist pastor Joe Nelms at a NASCAR race. You may have heard about it -- he thanked God for, among other things, his "smokin' hot wife," racecars and other things he loves in life. . . .

Here is the link to an ESPN blog with criticism and also an embed of the video.

Now, this has raised a lot of interest -- both praise and criticism. My take? High praise. Why? Here is why: In all this hot, tacky, desert summer of a news cycle with nuts out there shooting kids, others in court defending parents who (probably) did their kids in, a bunch of DC elites who refuse to admit the seriousness of America's debt problems, and some New Yorkers (and even more media) celebrating and going wild about that state's declaration that some sort of union is now "marriage," I am just overjoyed to see one simple man stand up and praise God for a "smokin' hot wife" and for REAL marriage! It IS something to cheer about. It doesn't surprise me that many in the media and other more sophisticated collegia are hooting and laughing at the simple proclamation. But think about it. If the pastor had been at a rowing meet in Connecticut and thanked God for a "smokin' hot spouse" who happened to be another man, what would have the reaction been from the press corps? I have a pretty good idea and it makes me shudder.

Now, for those Christians who think he still went too far, we need to remind ourselves of the Bible. Song of Solomon, to be exact. Was not Solomon's public ode to his beautiful Shulamite spouse basically a more poetic version of "Thank you, God, for my smokin' hot wife?" Really! Could you read the whole book out loud up in front of your church, not skipping A WORD? If you have read it, you know what I mean. I once dared a man to do that (he was complaining about some being too literal talking about the joys of married life in church). He refused to do it. He knew if he did read it in public, there would be smoke, no matter what version he read it from.

Life, and marriage, as God made them, are wonderful and to be celebrated. And God gets graphic. I just believe in my heart that God smiles when we get real and celebrate His real gifts. Jesus spoke like a real person about real life, and the "sinners heard Him gladly." (The righteous Pharisees had very furrowed brows, however).

They say the people at the race loved it. The ESPN reviewer (above) did not love it. He thought it made NASCAR look "hillbilly." Well, my friend, it IS hillbilly. Where do you think the sport started?  And sometimes hillbillies are smart. And usually very honest. God love 'em.

Comments:

I got the impression that he was asking people to look at their own wives and think of them as "smokin, hot". And simply expressing his own delight.

The problem is not with the sentiment itself it is that sexual instinct is so disordered that at least some will take it in the way Dan fears.
That's it!
Thank you both for pointing out why I would not want my husband to describe me as "smokin' hot" to anyone else.

Not that he would. If you ever hear my husband yell, "My wife is smokin' hot!" it means I'm too close to the campfire where I'm cooking up a Dutch Oven strawberry-rhubarb pie, or maybe a venison stew - Idaho frontier woman that I am, and the water bucket needs to be dumped over me ASAP. Or maybe I got too intense with roasting the marshmallows just right and started roasting myself as well.
Dan, you have a point. I've heard people say that they're uncomfortable with this sort of thing because it makes them feel that the pastor is asking other people -- i.e., other men -- to think about his wife in the way that only he is supposed to think about her. "Beautiful wife" is one thing, "smokin' hot wife" is another.
No man needs to think of another man's wife as "smokin' hot." I hear our youth and our youth ministers talk all the time about who is "hot." Look up the roots of the word and search your own hearts. It's about lust, not love, about sexuality, not beauty.
Of course Solomon had 999 other Smokin Hot Wives.
Alan, *only* 35 times with a six year old son?!?!? We have a six year old son of our own and I actually had to hide our "Cars" movie for awhile. Then I couldn't find it! My husband cleaned out his side of the closet recently and found it!! It's such a great movie. Except for when Maiter asked, "He did what in his cup?"

Let's see, sneering intellectual 'elites' or honest 'hillbillies'? I'd rather hang out with people who are honest over the sneering ones any day.
Bubbly
Lee - I am not real sure they know what the champagne is. If you watch them, they spray it all around like kids with water guns. I'll bet they wouldn't spray moonshine like that, even if it was fizzy. Yes, the irony is interesting. I used to live about a mile away (in Knoxville) from where the real "Thunder Road" ended and the guy Robert Mitchum played really did die with a load of 'shine in a fiery car crash into an electric sub-station. Of course I was not around in those days!
Gina, "Cars" features not only fantastic humor and a great (and very grown-up) plot, but also a Rascal Flatts tune - suitable for autos that also make *right* turns.

Alan, I'm consistently amused that NASCAR began with the running of moonshine (including in my uncle's mountaintop home outside Nashville), but what do the winners spray all over at the end? Why, hoity-toity *champagne*!

(I was delighted a while back to see a trend toward winners setting an example for kids by drinking not alcohol but milk, even if it *was* right from the carton... :-) )
I should watch that one sometime. Everyone says it's good!
@Ellen
@Ellen - I should have remembered that one! I have only seen Cars 35 times (I have a six year old son).
"Boogity! Boogity! Boogity! Let's go racing folks!" Darrell Cartrip in "Cars".
"Boogity, boogity, boogity" wasn't him speaking in tongues? Oh, wait, he's a *Baptist* pastor; nevermind.

:-)

More seriously, I'd rather draw near to God with my heart and have my lips unorthodox than the other way around.

And if people usually tune out during invocations, that changed with this one.

Plus, when was the last time you heard a prayer being broadcast on news stations and the Internet? Boogity!!
Walltrip the Psalmist?
Hmmm.. well, either Walltrip was immersed in the Psalms or the pastor was copying the apostle Paul's habit of quoting locally respected pundits???? (remember the audience).
Turns out that part was a quote from NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip.

http://aol.sportingnews.com/nascar/story/2011-07-25/pastor-joe-nelms-quotes-talladega-nights-in-invocation-at-nascar-nationwide-race
Thanks for the support!
I appreciate hearing the support - but really expected to hear disagreement. I did get a verbal question: "But what about where the pastor said "Boogeta..boogeta...boogeta..." at the end of the prayer?" My response - I figure it is the Tennessee equivalent of David's "Selah" in the Psalms, a term, according to Wikipedia, that is "a difficult concept to translate." (I had a friend who emphatically believed David used it every time a harp string broke). Sort of the same idea as Boogeta..boogeta...boogeta... You have to be a Ray Stevens fan to get the entire concept.
I’m With You, Alan
.
Would that there were more “fools” for Christ’s sake (i.e., folks who, regardless of how others perceive them, pull out all the stops to worship God in spirit and in truth, dancing before Him with all their might, a la David in 2 Sam 6:14). It is more than fitting, in my opinion, -- more than fitting -- to be intoxicated with the wine of the cup of the new covenant in His blood (Luke 22:20).
One thing I was very happy to witness was that crowd was actually listening to the hillbilly's prayer! At the end, people were smiling.