It’s always the worst when you have to feel bad for rich and powerful people, but I feel bad for Chris Pratt right now. He reacted to news of Kevin Smith’s heart attack with some nice tweets, including tweets saying he would be praying for Smith. I don’t know how many people went after him, but The Wrap has a cross section of folks attacking Pratt for expressing his prayerful intentions.
Chris Pratt is very Christian. He builds a big cross on his property at Easter. I suspect that Pratt and I would differ on a lot of things, spiritually speaking, but I have never heard tell of him being a jerk or condescending or hateful as a result of his faith.
More than that… there’s nothing wrong with praying. Here’s a secret: I do it sometimes. It’s part of my recovery, and I do it even though I don’t believe in God. I don’t think there’s a being listening to my prayers. A lot of times when I pray I don’t even say anything, I just open myself up to hear whatever comes in on those channels.
I get how that sounds weird, but in the past year and a half I’ve come to believe that your intentions make a difference, and that putting your intentions out consciously can be impactful. I believe that we interact with the world in ways that we don’t yet understand (but that will likely be measurable at some point in the future), and that there’s no harm in putting our positive intentions out. I love doing metta meditations – radiating lovingkindness to all beings – not only because I hope that it works on some level, but also because it makes me feel good.
Will Chris Pratt heal Kevin Smith? Probably not. But he’s not harming him, and knowing that people are thinking of you positively – which is what prayer really boils down to in these situations – can be helpful. And it’s important to note the difference between Pratt praying for Smith and politicians offering thoughts and prayers to victims of gun violence. The Dalai Lama had some thoughts on ‘thoughts and prayers’ in the wake of the Paris shootings a few years ago:
“We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.”
Chris Pratt isn’t Smith’s doctor, so there’s nothing he can do beyond offer good, positive thoughts. If Smith’s doctor were offering thoughts and prayers… well, that would be troubling.
A few years ago I would have found someone offering me their prayers offensive. Today I would be touched. I’ve sanded away some of the ego that keeps me from accepting goodwill in any form in which it is offered. Chris Pratt can pray for me anytime. After all, he’s my Star-Lord.