Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Warren's Invocation

I listened to Rick Warren's invocation at the Inauguration on NPR as I was heading back to work from lunch, and you know what ? The man did a decent job. Nothing negative, nothing partisan. All quite uplifting. Couldn't find anything to disagree with.

It was, most assuredly, way too Jesus-y for a lot of folks, but what did you expect there ? He's Rick Warren, the pastor of a conservative, evangelical megachurch. And he certainly didn't change my mind on any of the religious or social issues on which we differ. But all in all, not bad.

Feel free to discuss below. We'll post links to the invocation once we find them.

UPDATE: The text of Warren's invocation from BeliefNet.


James said...

Yes, mostly uplifting except the person who delivered it.

The benediction was much, much better.

My thoughts were much more personal in reflecting on this event.

Ann said...

But the benediction - beginning with the words from Lift Every Voice and Sing.
God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.

Padre Mickey said...

I'll be happier once we do away with invocations and benedictions at government functions.

David |Dah • veed| said...

We are watching on CNNESP. My two roommates, listening to the Spanish translation, said that they thought that Warren was supposed to be praying, not preaching!

JCF said...

I thought Warren was schlocky. It didn't sound as if it was written, but rather an emotive, extemporaneous "Prayer of the Just" (i.e., "We just want to thank you, Lord"). But yes---it could have been worse.

Rev. Lowery, however, showed everybody how it's done! :-)

[Prayers for Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd, both of whom took ill at the luncheon]

David said...

Heh, heh... "Prayer of the Just" ;)

I have a fair number of friends and relatives who're Baptists, and this is all too familiar :D

dr.primrose said...

My favorite nickname for this kind of prayer is the "We-jus' Jesus" prayer.

James said...

When I was growing up, that type of prayer was called the 2nd sermon prayer. The preacher said all the things he forgot to say in the sermon and sometimes that "sermon prayer" would go on five minutes.

What I saw was a man trying to dig himself out of a huge pit of bigotry and he tried, but I thought it was just plain disingenuous.

I made my honorary son get up to watch the inauguration (almost had to drag him out of bed), and his comment about the prayer was "who does that guy think he is? Is he praying or running for office?" Josh is completely unchurched, by the way.

The Rev'd Mr. Lowery ("Rev Lowery") did show us all how it's done.

Kevin said...

GREAT JOB RICK WARREN!! Thank you President Obama for having Warren give the invocation. God Bless you all.

JJ said...

Why would Rick bother trying to "dig" himself out of anything? What is there to dig out of?
His devotion to God and JESUS clearly shows that he has no interest about what people say about him in relation to his faith.

James said...

Ah, the trolls have descended :)

Ann said...

I call them trools--- trolls drooling on blogs.

Padre Mickey said...

As a missionary, I'm devoted to GOD and JESUS, but I still think that we should eliminate invocations and benedictions at government functions in a nation in which there is constitutional separation between Church and State.

And God and Jesus told me that they agree with me; sorry J.J.

Ann said...

Yes - Padre Mickey - I agree. Here is an opinion on public prayer.

MarkBrunson said...

In South Georgia, we have the similar "Lorjus" prayers, e.g.:

"Lor'jus' look down on us and Lor'jus' hear our prayers and Lor'jus' be with us here today!"

They are often used punitively by my Pentecostal aunt when people start eating before everyone's at the table. Another reason to love my Mom: the Thanksgiving she said "For God's sake, Pat, He already knows! Now, let's eat!"

Anonymous said...

Warren spoke neither to me, or for me. So what else is new?


David G. said...

AAAh yes Kevin, (with a private account)...

Lots to say,...and LOTS TO HIDE ..obviously .. .. lol.

R.W. ... Speaks for himself ...and no one else.

Christ isn't On His Team!

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Agree with most of you ;=)

David said...

I wasn't trying to defend Warren by any means. He and I still differ greatly on most things theological and political.

But he did little to no harm, other than a few, relatively gentle, attempts to over-market the evangelical Gee-zus. (for my money, Bp. Robinson did a much better job at prayers for a country which isn't just one religion, but see below...)

And for the record, I'm with the good Padre. Invocations, benedictions, and such really have no place at official gov't functions in the U.S.

klady said...

This whole thing necessarily sparks a number of opinions and feelings. I understand that for some, nothing Warren said could engender anything but pain and anger. I have no quarrel with those who feel that way. However, I'd like to report what it was like to be there yesterday, on the Mall. I could not see the Jumbotron screen during the Invocation, but the African-American women next to me put an arm around me, we and many around us bowed our heads in prayer, recited the Lord's Prayer together at the end, and opened our eyes with tears streaming down our faces, many in the crowd uttering Jesus and Amen. Those who did not pray, at least out loud, seemed more than happy to join in the general sentiments expressed in the Invocation, whatever their beliefs or lack of religious convictions. It was one of the the most powerful, emotional moments of the morning for the crowd, save the actual swearing in, as it was one of the few rare moments of silence and reflection and a sun-drenched beginning of a glorious moment in history. The words drew people in. It mattered not who spoke them.

David said...


Great post, and you make an excellent point.

If Warren is too broken & beyond repair for God to use him, then there's no hope for me, either.

To paraphrase Bp. Tutu, God welcomes, and uses, all kinds of sinners. His standards are actually quite low... ;)

JCF said...

Heh-heh: loved how Jon Stewart mocked the way Warren said "Maliiia. And SASHa!" (Complete w/ jazz hands)

There really is something Kinda Gay about Reverend Rick. ;-p