Dr. Gil can pray up a storm

Published 3:55 pm Friday, May 15, 2009

My hair is wet. My socks are mildewed. My joints ache. There is a torrent of water running down the street, and more rain is on the way.


What drought?

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I hate to say I told you so, but well—I told you so.

Remember when Gov. Sonny Perdue had a prayer session at the state capitol in November 2007, at the height of the drought?

I said at that time that you had better get your umbrella ready because he had invited Dr. Gil Watson, the World’s Greatest Preacher, to pray for rain. If Gov. Perdue wasn’t serious about wanting rain, he should have invited one of those weird-dressing televangelists instead. They would have asked the crowd for money instead of asking God for rain.

At that time, the governor said his goal was “to very reverently and respectfully pray up a storm.”

He may have been trying to be funny. Frankly, I doubt it. Gov. Perdue is a lot of things. Funny is not one of them. But he hit the jackpot when he turned the matter over to Dr. Gil, who has prayed up a bunch of storms. Now, look at us. I need a rowboat just to get to the grocery store.

Dr. David Stooksbury, Georgia’s head climatologist, isn’t ready to recommend we all run out and build an ark and start loading the giraffes and elephants. According to news reports, he says long-term rainfall deficits are still a concern and that soil moisture levels across South Georgia remain “abnormally dry.”

Maybe so, but I read the other day that peanut farmers in South Georgia have had to delay planting next season’s crops because of rain totals that are reported to be 500 percent above normal. They got almost 18 inches from mid-March to April. Maybe the state’s climatologist, Dr. Stooksbury, needs to confer with God’s climatologist, Dr. Watson.

It is a theological fact that God likes Dr. Gil a lot. For one thing, neither God nor Dr. Gil has any hang-ups with women being preachers. Women can be governors, senators, secretaries of state, House speakers, CEOs, professional golfers, skydivers and Army generals, so why not preachers?

Before you Bible-thumpers rail at me about what the Good Book says about women in the pulpit, be sure and read the part that talks about how women should dress in church and not speak out. Don’t go choosing the verses that suit your fancy and passing on the ones that don’t. We aren’t talking about ordering cafeteria vegetables here.

And while I am on the subject, neither God nor Dr. Gil would refuse a child her first communion because she was allergic to wheat, and the church said she couldn’t have a rice wafer because it was against the rules. Anybody who wants to defend that piece of wrongheaded thinking needs first to read the part in the New Testament where Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not.” He didn’t add, “unless they have a wheat allergy, and then they are just flat out of luck. Hey, rules are rules.”

God doesn’t care about all the rigmarole that we humans make up just so we can claim to be right and everybody else wrong. He wants us to obey the Ten Commandments and love each other. Dr. Gil does both of those better than anybody I know, with the possible exception of Billy Graham. That is why God likes Dr. Gil and why we are all wearing hip waders to work these days.

Now that he has the state as soggy as a tomato sandwich on white bread, I have this nagging feeling that Dr. Gil Watson, the World’s Greatest Preacher, is going to turn his attention to trying to save my sorry soul. God and I wish him all the best in that endeavor. Making it rain in Attapulgus and Hahira and Varnell is one thing. Making me a kinder and gentler person is more along the scale of feeding the masses with five loaves of bread and a few fish. That would be a miracle.