Yesterday, The Blaze brought you Pastor Joe Nelms' unforgettable NASCAR prayer. The spiritual leader of Family Baptist Church in Gladeville, Tennessee drew media attention after thanking God for Dodges, Toyotas and, of course, for his “smokin’ hot wife.”
On Monday, Nelms appeared on Sirius Satellite Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint’’ to defend his invocation, claiming that it was an opportunity to offer listeners something heartfelt and lighthearted.
While some may have been taken aback by the references in his prayer, it seems the pastor has no regrets. In the interview, he explains that he wanted his invocation to be different -- something that people would pay attention to and not simply gloss over. He hopes his statements may have even inspired some who wouldn't normally do so to head to church:
“I always said if I get a chance after God told me to preach … to pray at one of the events of the track, I don’t want to do the cookie-cutter prayer, not that we don’t need to thank God for our military men and women, absolutely, we wouldn’t be here without them, not that we don’t desire safety for all of the of the officials, workers and drivers, we certainly don’t want anything to happen to anybody out there. We need a safe race. But it’s the same prayer week in and week out and I’m not sure anybody is even listening to it anymore.
"So I said, I want to get somebody’s attention, so that’s been our desire every time we’ve been up there, to try to make an impact on the fans and give them something they’ll remember and maybe they’ll go home on a Friday night or a Saturday night and say, 'Maybe I ought to get up and go to church in the morning'.’’
Nelms also says that he wanted to use the prayer as an opportunity to reach out to non-Christians. He claims, "I wanted to put the fun in fundamental." While he admits that some people thought the prayer was irreverent and he acknowledges getting some flack for it, he isn't taking the negativity to heart. He quips:
“I had one guy, believe it or not, showing his IQ I guess that said, 'you arrogant SOB, you know God’s a Chevy fan and you didn’t mention them.’ I thought, he doesn’t understand what GM Performance cars and technology is.’’
In directly addressing his family's take on the "smokin' hot wife" line, Nelms says they thought it was funny. Both his wife and daughter were watching the prayer on television while packing for vacation. After hearing the complimentary line about his wife, he says, "...my daughter laid on the floor laughing."
While not everyone is giggling, many people found the invocation entertaining to say the least.