Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Observations about Rick Warren's inaugural prayer

Mostly I'm sticking to more directly Scriptural, doctrinal, and church/kingdom life stuff on this blog, but I'm going to veer into current events for a moment. Lots of people made lots of noise over Rick Warren's being asked to deliver the invocation at President Obama's inauguration this morning. As with most such storms, the import of Warren's presence got lost, I think, in the cultural warriors' interpretations.

But I was struck by the actual content of what Rick said this morning. Not only was it a prayer I could heartily say "amen" to in virtually all respects, it was truly inclusive from a man who has been vilified over and over again for not being inclusive enough.

Didn't anyone else notice that Warren invoked God as "the Compassionate, the Merciful?" This comes straight from the opening phrase of every Sura in the Quran ("In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful"), and I am certain it is no accident that in this phrase, Warren included faithful Muslims as they pray to God. Likewise, Warren used the Hebrew, Arabic, and Spanish names for Jesus in another bid to be culturally inclusive.

That prayer made no apologies for where he (Warren) stands: how can anyone argue with praying "in the name of the one who changed my life?" But it opened the door for lots of people, and not only Christians, to honestly pray with him.

Good on you, Rick!

1 comment:

RJ said...

Dan, thanks for another valuable resource for studying the Word. Wow, I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree (in a good sense). I will be studying this new resource in the coming weeks.

Yes, some might think that your mom's translation is folksy but in my opinion that is what is tragically missing today. Many if not most theologians, who are the primary book writers about Christianity, seem to lack the skill of using ordinary words. They seem to be more concerned with impressing other theologians with their "theologian speak" than they are to take the Gospel to the masses.
Today we often wonder why the fringe Christians such as those espousing the prosperity gospel have such a strong following. In my opinion one reason is because they use words that everyone can understand. And of course for this group human greed helps too. I know I got flamed recently for daring to say that I could not understand the 100 word sentence that N.T. Wright gave to Trevin Wax in a recent blog interview. I was told to do a lot more studying to understand all his words! To me that is just backwards.
So, give your mother my congratulations on trying to bring God's word to the masses in language that they can understand.