The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson’s invocation

posted by deacon greg kandra

This got a lot of attention when the news broke several days back. I suspect few actually heard the prayer when it was delivered. Reading it, it reminds me of the Dangerous Prayer of Blessing that was prayed over Henri Nouwen.

Here’s the text:

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.

AMEN.



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Patm

posted January 19, 2009 at 12:58 pm


I think this prayer is a bit outrageous. “instead of the easy answers our politicians gave us” Ummm…which politicians are those? The easiest answer I’ve heard yet is “hope” and “change”.And the “give us patience” is really unconscionable, considering for the last 8 years all we’ve heard is “this is all taking too long, why can’t you close gitmo today?” Now, suddenly, “these things take time.”This prayer is not impressing me.



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted January 19, 2009 at 1:14 pm


Well, maybe that’s why he was praying for patience. There doesn’t seem to be very much of it around. :-) I don’t think it was that bad. For a gay married bishop…it could have been cringe-inducing. Instead, it was fairly innocuous. Dcn. G.



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Patm

posted January 19, 2009 at 1:15 pm


I think perhaps Robinson and all these folks on the left who have indulged themselves in a luxurious hate for the last 8 years do not realize how they are coming off, or that they have inflicted some serious wounds (of hate) on fellow Americans who have done nothing more than dared to disagree with them.Just as Israel has got some responsibility to help Palestinians after going after Hamas, these people have to do more than mouth prissy “aint’ we great” words to those they’ve hurt for 8 years while they’ve indulged themselves and helped create an very poisoned atmosphere.The right has helped, of course…but the left had the schools, the papers, the networks, the media…they did the most damage to the day-to-day discourse in America, and the balkanized state we find ourselves in.



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Patm

posted January 19, 2009 at 1:17 pm


That’s why you’re a deacon and I’m not. You are more charitable to the “gay married bishop” who dares not utter the name of Jesus for being too “aggressively Christian” than I am. I’m just so sick of reading abotu this $170 million dollar inauguration, already. When does Obama actually do something besides receive accolades and pose bare-chested?His kids are cute, though.



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Chris Sullivan

posted January 19, 2009 at 1:27 pm


Nice prayer.Thanks for posting it.God Bless



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Wm Riley

posted January 19, 2009 at 3:43 pm


It was, in essence, a prayer to us which is typical of the last vestiges of cultural Christianity, which is no longer actual Christianity. It takes more to make a bishop than a hat… . Did I just hear Leo XIII whisper, “Utterly null and void?” Pax,Will



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J

posted January 19, 2009 at 5:02 pm


Patm – you are right on in all your comments.Chris Sullivan, what do you mean by nice prayer? What in your opinion is nice about it?”Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.” — Okay, first I don’t know how oppressed his life was, come on! But as to victims of discrimination, my guess is that what is coming (over us like a wave no matter what we do!) is likely only to create new victims: among them, Republicans, Church people of all kinds, abortion protesters and small business owners who still provide most of the jobs in the economy.By the way, don’t call me a racist. I accept and respect Obama’s race – it’s the only thing about him that I like!



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Mr Flapatap

posted January 19, 2009 at 5:16 pm


“…remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.” How about IN THE WOMB?I wonder if Mr. Robinson realizes what he is saying. Reminds me of the professor who told me one time that the Our Father is me most dangerous prayer because we ask to be forgiven as “we forgive those who trespass against us”.



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Michael

posted January 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm


I think perhaps Robinson and all these folks on the left who have indulged themselves in a luxurious hate for the last 8 years do not realize how they are coming off, or that they have inflicted some serious wounds (of hate) on fellow Americans who have done nothing more than dared to disagree with them. It’s statements like the above that have convinced me of the futility of arguing with conservatives.



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Charlotte

posted January 19, 2009 at 7:45 pm


I’m sorry, but this prayer is just pathetic! There’s one or two things in here, that if re-worded to reflect reality, are OK. But otherwise, it’s liberal dribble with a clear agenda.Can’t wait until the coronation is over so that Obama will be open for real criticism based on performance.



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johnny b

posted January 19, 2009 at 11:25 pm


Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.Riiiiiiiight.I think I’ll have my kids say this part of the prayer every night before bed. Very beautiful. Deacon, c’mon man!



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gramps

posted January 20, 2009 at 12:34 am


Jesus warned us about salt that has lost it flavor. Seems like that would define this prayer and most homilies given. If you are praying a prayer for this person, seems like it would have to include a call for God’s mercy and guidance to one so evil that he does not even see evil in partial birth abortion. Maybe it should have ended with “get behind me satan.”



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Rebecca

posted January 20, 2009 at 1:07 am


I’m glad you posted this. I’m currently visiting in DC and attended the concert with friends, even though I did not vote for Obama, and the speakers weren’t turned up so we couldn’t hear Robinson. The hundreds of thousands of people there were chanting, “Turn it up, turn it up!” By the time the volume was turned up, he was on about the last sentence. So, Robinson had very little presence at the actual event!



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Michael Hallman

posted January 20, 2009 at 2:47 am


I thought the prayer was unremarkable, but not as bad as it could have been, given who he is and how awful his theology is. He certainly had a certain social justice element to his prayer, for whatever it’s worth. My biggest problem is with the interview he gave the evening prior, where he said that a) he wanted to be clear that he would not offer a Christian prayer (despite his being a Christian bishop), and b) that he was “horrified” at the “specific and aggressively Christian prayers” offered at previous invocations. Which if you ever look at the previous prayers, they are not aggressively Christian at all. They are beautiful prayers asking for blessing, and usually ending with something like “in Jesus’ name we pray.” Those two points really stuck my craw, that a bishop would refuse to offer a Christian prayer, and that he would be horrified that other Christian ministers would. It really shows where his allegiances lie.



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Anthony OPL

posted January 20, 2009 at 5:12 am


This isn’t a prayer. It’s a monologue. It’s like when you talk about someone very loudly while pretending they aren’t there to hear it – this “bishop” isn’t praying for someone to God, he’s talking very loudly at God in the hope that everyone listening will hear what’s on his mind and praise him for it.Lord help him, and us too.



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