“Lord, I want to thank you for my smokin’ hot wife tonight, Lisa, and my two children, Eli and Emma. Or as we like to call them, ‘The Little E's,’” Pastor Joe Nelms said during the pre-race invocation Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway.
To quote the legendary Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights: “That’s right … That just happened.”
Yes, the invocation utilized a little humor. It has been played nonstop on CNN, Fox News Channel and all the rest. The reaction from the public has ranged from knee-slapping approval to ambivalence. Only a few have voiced disapproval.
But it was only a matter of time before the holier-than-thou media members weighed in and expressed their concern. Funny, at first they didn’t know what to make of it so they really said nothing at all. Actually the media never knows quite what to say about religion and usually stub their toe when they do.
But now the columns are coming and the media wolves are barking. “Embarrassing.” “Cringe,”
As a Christian, I know God created humor. And while I don’t want to see a rash of imitators – this was funny because it was original – I know there was absolutely nothing wrong with Nelms’ invocation.
So he thinks his wife is “smokin’ hot” and he thanks God for her. Great! Every man should find their spouse attractive. That’s a good thing.
And he thanks God for his two kids -- “the little E’s,” as he refers to them. Tremendous. What’s wrong with thanking God for your kids?
And he appreciates Ford and Dodge and Sunoco and Goodyear and others for supporting the sport. We all appreciate what they do to make the sport so good.
The question I have of these writers that are now questioning the appropriateness of Nelms’ invocation is this: Where is your column on the fact that you don’t hear an invocation at an NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, NHL, college, high school or other sporting events? You hear an invocation at every NASCAR race. It’s an amazing thing to hear a crowd of almost 200,000 people instantly settle down to silence when the invocation starts at a race. You can hear a pin drop.
As long as I run a speedway, there will be an invocation.
So we can debate Pastor Nelms’ prayer, but only after you take the other leagues to task for not even offering one.
In the meantime, I’ll go back to laughing at other people’s jokes. It’s part of God’s big tapestry of color that makes life fun to live. And we can discuss religion and prayer and politics and even the merits of the restrictor plate if you like, but expect to laugh some along the way. Remember, God invented humor.
Boogity, boogity, boogity.