Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Do Justice and Love Mercy
Rick Warren & Joseph Lowery at the Presidential Inauguration

For the past weeks I've heard of the disappointment of many people regarding the the participation of Rev. Rick Warren (because of his yes on 8 stance and words) in the Inauguration. Yet whether you agree of disagree with the well known and best-selling author of a purpose-driven life, I was much more by the benediction of purpose, passion and compassion by Rev. Joseph Lowery. His were the words of faith that will be remembered: theological, philosophical, rooted in tradition yet pointed towards the future – prophetic. And as the same time, there was no Imam or Rabbi present in the ceremony, which either reflects the faith choice of our new president or overlooks the pluarlism that is our nation.

Here’s a video of his benediction and a LINK to the text.


Adar said...

Thanks so much for noticing that there was no imam or rabbi involved in the service -- no Catholics, either. As a Jew, I did feel excluded, and more so when Rick Warren chose to pray in the name of Jesus (and did that weird business of calling him "Yeshua" and some other names - did he think that was going to make this more palatable to Jews? Or am I missing out on an aspect of his theology?)

The Rev. Lowery made it all good, though: he prayed with grace and power, humor and joy. He did indeed speak for me.

Monte said...


I couldn't agree more about Lowery's humor. That's what did it for me - and for the crowd there, you could see the shoulders shaking from laughter. I heard someone on NPR say that the comments, including colors, was offensive and that the humor took the edge off. I guess it's a quote to some extent from a song.

As far as Warren's comments on Jesus - I admit I'm a follower of Jesus (not so much of Warren's approach) and I felt uncomfortable at how it seemed like he was nearly making a proselytizing sort of proclamation. Calling Jesus by Hebrew (Yeshua) and Arab (Isa)didn't take the edge off at all (I suspect he thought it would).

In the end I think I'm most struck, at least still thinking today, about the poem "praise song for the day" by elizabeth alexander.

"We encounter each other in words, Words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed;
Words to consider, reconsider."


I'd say that maybe Warren should have read her poem before crafting his invocation, but maybe that just continues the culture wars and religious wars/polarization instead of working towards the WE that President Obama encouraged us to continue working towards - not in a PC way, but in a live-in-community way.