According to longstanding tradition, the 117th Congress was opened with a prayer. As Rep. Emanuel Cleaver came to the end of his prayer, he concluded with “Amen and a-woman.” Yes, you read that correctly, “a-woman.” As if, in some way, “amen” was actually a chauvinistic masculine word. Watch It Here.
To set the record straight, “amen” is an ancient Hebrew word that has been used for thousands of years. It simply means “may it be so.” In other words, after a prayer, we are collectively requesting that the words of the prayer would happen.
There is a tantalizing desire to take this article into the dumpster-fire discussion of politics, but there is a much more important lesson to learn about our culture right now – The United States is ignorant about Christianity.
While Rep. Cleaver may have shown us an extreme example, this religious ignorance is more common than you might think. Personally, I’ve had conversations with people who have “heard of Jesus but didn’t know what He did.” Another person hadn’t heard of Moses or knew anything about the difference between the Old Testament & New Testament. Let’s not even get started on complex Bible words like redemption, sanctification, and righteousness.
The days have long passed when we can make religious assumptions in our nation.
We need to stop assuming people know Bible words.
We need to stop assuming people know Bible people.
We need to stop assuming people know about Jesus.
We need to stop assuming people know how to pray or worship.
We need to stop assuming people know what is happening during worship.
We need to stop assuming people know the basics of Christianity.
The bottom line is…we need to stop assuming.
At this very moment, we’ve reached a place in our nation where people may not know Jesus, know the Bible, or know that “amen” isn’t a gendered word. We very well may be heading towards another time when people are darkened in their understanding because of the ignorance that is in them (Ephesians 4:17-29).
If we’re going to reach our world today and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew. 28:19-20), we need to change. We need to change how we think. We need to change how we teach. We need to change how we talk. We need to change what we do. We need to change how we evangelize.