The New Christians

The New Christians

Obama Inauguration Recap

Billions of words have already been written and spoken yesterday and today regarding the inauguration, everything from the Justice Roberts oath flub to Michelle Obama’s ball gown.  I’ve got opinions, of course, but nothing particularly new to say.  So, instead, I’ll just post a little around-the-horn from some of the more interesting items I’vbe read.

1) Over at Religion Dispatches, Michael A. Elliot points to Rick Warren’s sermon last Sunday, delivered at MLK’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.  It seems that Warren was his own, common-man self, even obliquely paralleling the outrage over his Prop 8 controversy to the persecution that MLK endured.  Here’s a taste of Elliot’s essay:

I had never
really listened to Warren at length before, but what struck me during
this time is how his charisma stems, in part, from his unthreatening
presence. He’s overweight, but not so much so that one becomes
uncomfortable looking at him. His goatee makes him look a little goofy,
like a high school English teacher. While he raises his voice, he never
seems to give over the religious ecstasy.

I thought Warren’s inauguration invocation was similar yesterday.  To me, the negative was that it was less a prayer and more a sermon to God.  In the positive, I appreciate how Warren is just himself — everyman — in his delivery, so unlike the stilted and affected cadence of the speakers at today’s National Prayer Service. (In fact, that ceremony is so stiff that MSNBC just switched over the the Timothy Geitner confirmation hearing.  So did CNN.  Fox is still showing the prayer service.)

2) Mark Ambinder, via Speech Wars, says the the words, “nonbelievers” and “Muslims” have never before been used in an inauguration speech.  Clearly, Obama both acknowledges and embodies the religious and ethnic pluralism that is our reality in America.

3) Mark Silk was cool on Warren’s prayer, thinking it’s fourfold reference to Jesus was over-the-top Christianizing.  Money quote:

But Warren concludes by saying that he is praying “in the name of
the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus, Jesus
(hay-SOOS)”–which is to say, not just Jesus as named in English and
Spanish but also in Hebrew and Arabic. For Jews, Yeshua is the name by
which Jews for Jesus proselytizes among Jews, as in the pamphlet I was
handed this very day by a member of the Rockville, MD Jews for Jesus
chapter. Praying the Lord’s Prayer in the names of Yeshua and Isa (as
far as Muslims as opposed to Arabic-speaking Christians are concerned),
is an evangelistic strategy. It is not inclusive, as Gilgoff and ABC
News’ Susan Donaldson James believe, but hegemonic.

4.) Bob Carlton points us us to a word cloud of Obama’s inauguration speech:


Comments read comments(11)
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posted January 21, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Rick Warren got a little spirited with the inflection on BO’s daughter’s name. Both guys watching with me at work simultaneously repeated after Warren, “Shascha?” and then glanced around with a did-he-just-say-that-and-did-I-just-repeat-that-out-loud look on their face. Say it with me now, SHAW-SCHA.
Another funny thing: A reporter (not sure what channel) said something like this –
‘I don’t know why I am so excited by this…’ (This was in reference to Michelle Obama’s “post title nine body,” i.e. he was not sure why discussing her hot bod was making him excited)

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posted January 21, 2009 at 12:54 pm

To be honest both warrens and robinsons prayers although not that bad we’re somewhat speach/preach like
gotta give props to Rev Lowery for a prayer expressing genuine thankfullness to god, a prayer with confession of sins and a genuine pettition for forgiveness,

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posted January 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm

As my 19 year old daughter and I watched Reverend Lowery deliver the benediction, we both shocked, bewildered and dismayed as we audibly heard him speak these written words “And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4
“You shall have no other gods before me.” Deuteronomy 5:7
“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder… ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,'[e] and he was called God’s friend. James 2:19,23b

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posted January 22, 2009 at 5:03 am

i just don’t get what you could find dismaying about that
sounds more like you were looking for something to be dismayed by

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Tony Jones

posted January 22, 2009 at 7:57 am

Daniel, that *was* odd. I looked at Doug Pagitt, and we both laughed at that. It’s like he was using his best “missionary to Africa” pronunciation.

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posted January 22, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Re: matybigfro’s comment. I’m assuming your comment is to jcubed08. Hello matybigfro. We weren’t looking for anything to be dismayed about. I wasn’t familiar with Reverend Lowery prior to seeing him on CNN. What dismayed us was the Reverend’s Unitarian/Universalist prayer. I wonder about “the oneness of our family;” which family would that be?
According to the Holy Bible, there is only one true God, YHWH. Therefore, how can the Reverend pray the following? “Let us take that power back to our HOMES, our WORKPLACES, our CHURCHES, our TEMPLES, our MOSQUES, OR WHEREVER WE SEEK YOUR WILL. (EMPHASIS my own)” How can the three monotheistic religions, come to agreement (or any other religion or cult for that matter), when they are not seeking the will of the same God, nor may is the will of each god the same? In the case of our Jewish friends, their understanding of YHWH’s will is substantially different from the born-again Christian’s understanding (emergent’s too?) of YHWH’s will. Jesus said “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.”But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. “For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 10:32-39

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posted January 22, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Matthew 10:32-39 might not be the best verse to *prove* your discontent with Lowery, especially taking into consideration what you chose to shout in caps. Your daughter and you don’t appear to be enemies. Maybe I am missing the part where you and your daughter went all MMA on each other. :)

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posted January 22, 2009 at 10:19 pm

But who am I to poke fun, Tony, I would have done worse than *oaf* or *Shaw-Shca*.
Did you notice how they announced all the past presidents with first, middle and last name and when BO came in they announced him as “Barak *H* Obama” but then, when he was being sworn in, the Justice said Barack *Hussein* Obama. I found that interesting.

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posted January 23, 2009 at 11:46 am

Hey Daniel. I’m not sure what “went all MMA on each other” means. I have a 19 year old daughter; I’m not 19 years old (with a smile). The all caps was not intended to be shouting. I don’t think the comment editor has HTML capability, therefore, I couldn’t add my emphasis by means of italics or underline. I thought it was apparent that I wasn’t shouting, since it was the Reverend’s quote, and would be read in in the context of his benediction, and the fact I stated “emphasis my own.” I’m sorry if you thought I was shouting. My bad.
Perhaps Matthew 10:32-39 wasn’t the best scripture to use to illustrate my concern about the Reverend’s benediction. However, I thought it appropriate considering the Reverend’s attempt to be all “inclusive” and commingle all religions/faiths in a singular family (of God?). He further intimates that all religions/faiths seek the will of a singular god, when he states “Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.” If Jesus said that he didn’t come to bring peace, even within one’s own household (biological family), what makes the Reverend think we can have a “spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family” (again what family is he speaking of), especially when the other religions/faiths are in opposition to Christ and His gospel? Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2 (referring to the book of Isaiah) that Jesus is “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense (de-emphasized as not to appear to be shouting)”

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posted January 23, 2009 at 3:32 pm

MMA – mixed martial arts. ;-)

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posted January 25, 2009 at 3:06 pm

jcubed08 it just sounds like your reading your understanding of the ‘Rev’s’ theology into the words of his prayer over an understanding of his experience and life and a desire to understand what he was trying to communicate.

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