UPDATE: Lauren Green on the two prayers.
Bishop Gene Robinson- who needs no introduction, does he?- prayed at an Inaugural event over the weekend.
Bishop Robinson got the gig not because he is a spiritual leader or is looked up to by Christians, but because he is the first openly gay bishop in the ECUSA. He has become the lightning rod that has split worldwide Anglicanism. He has a way of turning up wherever the issue of gay marriage is on the agenda. He was hanging around the media rooms at the Lambeth Conference, just in case anyone wanted his opinion. And when Rick Warren was asked to pray at the Inauguration, Bishop Robinson’s angry friends- offended that Warren was a supporter of Prop 8 in California defining marriage traditionally in that state- got him the job of praying at this event.
The Bishop didn’t miss a beat in saying he was appalled by the distinctively Christian prayers that had dominated Inaugurations in the past, and he would not pray in the name of Jesus.
And here he is on Youtube.
If you watched today’s ceremony, you heard Pastor Rick Warren’s prayer. Here’s the text to it, and here’s Pastor Rick on Youtube.
If you are not a Christian, and you are wondering what the heck is going on within Christianity these days, I’d recommend these two prayers for your study.
Both have many good statements and thoughts, but a prayer is a very important, unique kind of speech in our faith. You can learn a lot listening to the prayer, to the statements about the difference God makes, the ideas about God that are at work and the emotions expressed toward God and about God.
Evangelicalism, for all its problems, and all its Warren-influenced struggles with relevance, still has something powerful to say to the world about God, and about the one through whom we know who is the God we are talking about.
You can’t talk reasonably and genuinely about a God of many understandings. Not with actual believers in Jesus, Yahweh, Allah and Buddah around. You might as well pray to the cat. (It probably would be better to pray to the cat.) But you can talk about the God who created, the God who reigns and the God we know as we know and believe Jesus.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these two prayers and what they teach us.