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deciding on prayers in our format

Original Online Meeting Group business agendas, notes, topics, and discussions
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* All who attend OOMG meetings on Zoom or Mumble are welcome to participate and vote in OOMG business.
* The business of the Original Online Meeting Group of CGAA is discussed. At our monthly business meeting, we make decisions by group conscience, guided by higher power. Everyone has a vote on group matters.
* Back and forth discussion of different perspectives is appropriate. We strive to be respectful of all.
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Scott
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:53 pm

deciding on prayers in our format

Post by Scott »

Hi all, I'd like the group to decide on the prayers included in the format. As best as I remember, only one of them was ever discussed and approved in our business meeting. Two were carried over from a old format from pre-CGAA days, and three more were suggested as ideas for ending prayers.

Things I'd like to discuss and propose:
A) that we use all-inclusive wording for higher power
B) that we consider re-wording where it makes sense
C) and that we approve them as a group

In particular, I want our statements to newcomers about higher power to be true. "You can choose any forms of higher power that you want. You will not be pressured to adopt religious beliefs. The fellowship and the program are forms of higher power that many of us use." I also want what we say about our Traditions to be true. "Tradition Three says the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gaming. Tradition Ten says CGAA has no opinion on outside issues. Tradition Six says that CGAA has no affiliation, actual or implied, with outside organizations."

If the format includes a prayer that is addressed to a specific type of higher power that excludes other types, then that is a contradiction of the above statements. I've always liked the Serenity Prayer, and at the same time, it's a prayer addressed to Someone who can grant things like serenity. Higher power concepts such as the fellowship, the program, the universe, recovery principles, and Daoist, Animist, and Buddhist concepts are not Someones who grant things like serenity. They are excluded.

I know that most of our members believe in a deity to whom they can pray, including my sponsees and recovery buddies. That's great. I happily encourage people to use such prayers. Personally, I have higher power concepts to whom I can pray for help with things. So, this is not about me wanting prayers that cater to me and my friends. I want the opposite. For the good of the fellowship and every suffering gaming addict who comes along, I want prayers that do not cater to specific people or higher power concepts. I want to live up to our Traditions and our statements to newcomers about higher power.

The Serenity Prayer is familiar to most of the people in our meetings. I don't want to get rid of it and I do want any rewording to be minimal. Here's my suggestion:

Now: "Higher Power, grant us the serenity..."
Slight rewording: "Through higher power we seek the serenity..."
Or: "With higher power may we find the serenity..."

with love and appreciation for our fellowship and all newcomers who need us, Scott
Scott
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:53 pm

deciding on prayers in our format

Post by Scott »

To be clear, this change is about adding in other higher power concepts, like Buddhist, Daoist, New Age, Hindu, or Pagan concepts and also non-religious concepts, and not about taking out the concept that can grant people serenity.

The new wording works for monotheistic concepts and polytheistic concepts and non-theistic spiritual concepts and non-spiritual concepts, a big improvement in living up to our statements to newcomers and members:


  • You can choose any forms of higher power that you want.

  • You will not be pressured to adopt religious beliefs.

  • The fellowship and the program are forms of higher power that many of us use.

  • Tradition Three says the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gaming.

  • Tradition Ten says CGAA has no opinion on outside issues.

  • Tradition Six says that CGAA has no affiliation, actual or implied, with outside organizations.


We can live up these statements, live up to our traditions, and live up to the principle of inclusivity, which says that CGAA is designed for all who suffer from gaming addiction by making this tiny, simple, two word change. The change carries the tiny cost of minor grumbling among people who liked the old wording until they realize that the new wording works just as well for them. But it carries massive benefits for those who are alienated by the old wording from a religion to which they do not subscribe, for the Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans, New Agers, atheists, agnostics, Daoists, Animists, etc. For some of them, it makes the difference of whether or not they try CGAA, which could be the difference between whether or not they lose a career, lose a marriage, lose physical abilities, or lose their lives to the destruction of active addiction.

with love and appreciation for our fellowship and all newcomers who need us, Scott
Purple
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:46 pm
Location: CT, USA

Re: deciding on prayers in our format

Post by Purple »

I like both of the suggested rewordings, with no strong preference for one over the other, but I don't think it's appropriate to call the result of the rewording "the Serenity Prayer." Instead, let's call it "a prayer for serenity" or something similar.
michaels
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2021 3:15 pm

Re: deciding on prayers in our format

Post by michaels »

We are a twelve step fellowship, and step 2 is coming to believe that a power grater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. That’s a power giving you something, so I don’t see how the serenity prayer as-worded today is any more exclusive than step 2.
Scott
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:53 pm

Re: deciding on prayers in our format

Post by Scott »

Step Two states it very generally: "Came to believe that power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

This fits perfectly fine with the wide range of higher power concepts that people use, including principles, practices, and non-entities like nature or the universe. Reliance on such sources of higher power helps restore people to sanity.

A prayer that addresses an entity narrows the range. Principles and practices are not conscious entities to address.

A prayer that tells an entity to grant serenity narrows the range. Practices and principles do not grant serenity upon request. Many of the other higher power concepts that people use, including some conscious entities, do not grant serenity upon request.

Let's not narrow the range. Let's not use a group prayer worded to exclude many higher power concepts and the people who use them. Let's live up to our traditions and our assurances to newcomers.

The Serenity Prayer was written by a Christian minister for his Christian congregation. Of course it is worded to suit Christian beliefs. Of course it's not inclusive of all possible higher power concepts. The same is true of Hindu prayers and Buddhist prayers and Pagan prayers. Of course it's to be expected that if we're going to make use of any religious prayer, it will need some rewording in order to fit the traditions of our fellowship.
michaels
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2021 3:15 pm

Re: deciding on prayers in our format

Post by michaels »

So if we define:

Belief 1) There is “a higher power” which can “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, etc.”
Belief 2) There is “power greater than ourselves [which] could restore us to sanity”

Can you say specifically what belief set would be contradicted by 1 but not 2? Is it just the fact that it’s singular and not plural?

I also don’t think the fact that it’s written by a Christian means it needs to be reworded to be religion-agnostic. I mean Einstein believed in God—do we need to reword E=mc^2?
Scott
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:53 pm

Re: deciding on prayers in our format

Post by Scott »

Jeff wrote a really good piece on Working Together in Unity, it can be found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1adH ... 4-o7g/edit
Jeff wrote:Working together in unity does not mean that there are never disagreements. It doesn’t mean that there is never a dissenting voice or vote.
However, it also does not mean that we put out our opinions and then fight to defend them. We don’t try to invalidate or dismiss what others say because it is different from our opinion. In short, we don’t try to win. (This is a hard concept for gaming addicts to understand at first.)
For us, unity means that we work together to create a group conscience.
The piece outlines eight principles that are extremely useful in group conscience discussion and process. Highly recommended reading.
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