Rick Warren Punts His Inaugural Prayer

Plays it safe, punts, takes no chances, whatever. HT to Brad Greenberg for the transcript of the inaugural prayer of Rick Warren. Brad asks, "Seriously, is there anything there that Christians, or even simply religious people across the spectrum, would strongly disagree with?"

Agreed, I suppose. When you start with the Shema, "Hear O Israel..." a verse from the core of Jewish prayer, and you end with the Lord's Prayer, how could anyone criticize? Here is how. First, why not an iota of creativity? Second, when you invoke the fact that we Americans are united by a, "commitment to freedom and justice for all," do you mean our "all" or do you mean your "all"?

Third, what the heaven does the non-sequitur, "History is your story" mean? It's not a prayerful phrase. As we see it, history is the story of humans, not the story of God. Some forms of theology are the explanations of that human story, placing God into the narrative.

We might quibble with other choices and the organization as a whole. You decide. Amen.
Almighty God, our father, everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of you alone. It all comes form you, it all belongs to you, it all exists for your glory. History is your story. The Scripture tells us, ‘Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one’ and you are the compassionate and merciful one and you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now today we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 43rd time, we celebrate a hinge-point of history with the inauguration of our first African American president of the united states. We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where a a son of an African Immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans. United not by race or religion or by blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all. When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us.

When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. when we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us. And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches and civility in our attitudes—even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all. May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day, all nations, all people will stand accountable before You. We now commit our new president and his wife Michelle and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life—Yeshua, Esa, Jesus, Jesus—who taught us to pray:

Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be they name. They kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
For a more sympathetic view of these prayers see the Velveteen Rabbi.

1 comment:

tzvee said...

upon further analysis and reflection we don't appreciate warren reciting the shema, the verse that forms our core jewish prayer. we find that confusing, not inspiring.