Saturday, August 15, 2009

International House of Prayer

I heard about IHOP several years ago, but I'm usually turned off by anything with a perceived religious branding, so I dismissed it. I since met someone who is part of this organization and I'm intrigued. Not in a searching sort of way - been there, done that, and arrived - but in a voyeuristic sort of way. If I could attend IHOP and observe without being intruded upon, I would go.

The International House of Prayer offers 24-hour prayer and worship services. That's right, church around the clock, 24-7. This idea is modeled after some Biblical story with King David, tabernacles, and day and night worship.

I grew up in a church where black and white was taught: right vs. wrong, sinful vs. holy, you get the idea. I was confused about the other "christian" churches that had different beliefs and rules. To help me reconcile the conflicting messages, my mother told me she'd pondered the same question and received a revelation that: They are all right.

Holy crap. That's the wisest thing I ever walked away with in the context of my religious upbringing. It's true; they are all right - Buddhism, Islam, Christianity. But here's where they are wrong: When they tell other people, "there is only one way." When they tell people, "my way is the right way." When they tell people, "you must think and believe like me."


  1. I've always been puzzled by that viewpoint. How can worldviews that make contradictory propositions or even start from dramatically different presuppositions be equally correct? I've been reading on postmodernism a little bit lately, but I still can't wrap my mind around it. Any help?

  2. I pondered how to answer this and decided the best answer is from my heart.

    When we focus on the differences between belief systems, we will always see limitations. That's just the nature of looking through such a lens. Deciding if another belief system is correct is an ego-based exercise. If you observe someone walking his/her own spiritual path, but they do not believe the same way you do, is it more important for you to be right and convince them to convert to your way, or is it more important to promote peace and be Christ-like? If we shift our focus on the similarities among worldviews, which include the ultimate goal of peace, salvation, happiness, forgiveness, and so on, then it's easy to see that we're all ultimately striving for the same thing. None of us has the right to judge someone else's spiritual path. That's like correcting someone who is washing dishes - there are many ways to accomplish it and it really doesn't matter how you do it.