Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Warren's prayer — first impression


If this is an accurate transcript, pathetic. Edgeless, billowy nothing.

The man who transcribed the prayer asks, "Seriously, is there anything there that Christians, or even simply religious people across the spectrum, would strongly disagree with?"

Yes. With that. That Warren is supposed to be serving one who said that He came to cause division and bring a sword, who was hated by the world and said His students would suffer the same fate. Who pronounced a woe on us when God's enemies speak well of us.

The unborn had no advocate in Warren. The lost heard no Gospel from Warren. The land heard a call to niceness. Not to repentance.

Obama made a good pick in Warren.

From his perspective.



Kevin Rhyne said...

Maybe, I’m a little softer, but I thought it was better than I expected. He said, “And may we never forget that one day, all nations and all people will stand accountable before you.” There’s some gospel there, right? I mean, there’s at least Jonah’s message...right?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

There are parts of Pastor Warren's prayer where I would give a grade of "Pass".

"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."


"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."


"And may we never forget that one day, all nations, all people will stand accountable before You."


"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."


Daniel said...

I dunno. Warren's prayer was inoffensive and harmless, and it is telling that he probably spent hours honing it to be just that.

RT said...

It's so irrelevant. Praying over this event is the moral equivalent of re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

DJP said...

Kevin and TUAD, I suppose it's all in what you think Warren's mission was and should have been...and also your expectations.

I'm thinking maybe I'll do something at Pyro sometime giving my end-thoughts on just that point.

Michelle said...

I was looking forward to hearing your impressions, Dan, and you did not disappoint!

"The unborn had no advocate in Warren. The lost heard no gospel from Warren. The land heard a call to niceness. Not to repentance." Excellent analysis!

He prayed "May we have a new birth of clarity in our aims ...". He brought in the need for a new birth, just not THE new birth.

He also called for all people (of good will) to work for a peaceful planet, instead of calling them to the Prince of Peace.

I got the sense too that the prayer was crafted so as to make amends for his tarnished reputation on the homosexual "rights" issue with his "... when we fight each other ... forgive us" and "... even when we differ."

I was just pleasantly surprised that he prayed in the name of Jesus and I give him credit for that.

Carol Jean said...

Did y'all catch the benediction prayer(if you can call it that) by Rev. Lowery?

From The Washington Times...
Mr. Lowery's prayer began with the third verse of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a hymn known as the "black national anthem." Several sentences later, he repeated a phrase from another hymn, "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."

Then he cracked a few jokes: "We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around (people started to laugh at this point), when yellow will be mellow (more laughter), when the red man can get ahead, man (more laughter) and when white will embrace what is right."

Ha ha.

DJP said...

Oh, good grief.

Well, it must be nice to have that "I Can't Be Called A Racist" card.

Michelle said...

To Dan's last comment, yes, it all depends on what you consider the purpose of the prayer to be: a clarion call to repentance, or a prelude to a great big group hug.

I think Rick Warren succeeded at the latter.

Michelle said...

Oops, Dan's second-to-last comment.

David Rudel said...

Funny, I thought a prayer was neither a clarion call for repentance nor an invite to a group hug. Where I grew up, a prayer was a conversation with God.

Seems to me God does not need to be told who counts as a human being, nor is the Almighty likely to appreciate our saying "prayers" as a way to score political gloatage.

Which only makes my remarks here more justified.

Al said...

I am one of those who believes that Warren should have prayed (which he did). That he should only pray in Jesus name (which he sorta did), and that he should pray that the President lead us in righteousness (which he sorta did again).

I would give him a C+ on his prayer. Now, the question is...

Does God grade on a curve?

al sends

JackW said...

I think Lowery was just trying to make up for the lack of rhymes in the alleged poem. ;{)

LeeC said...

I'll say this much. His was a gem compared to the one by the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery...

"We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around (people started to laugh at this point), when yellow will be mellow (more laughter), when the red man can get ahead, man (more laughter) and when white will embrace what is right."

LeeC said...

Lotta posts happened between when I started typing and when I posted I see.

Michelle said...

David, there are beautiful examples in scripture of vicarious prayers of repentance on behalf of nations - see Moses, Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah and Daniel.

I said prelude, not invite, to a group hug. And I don't get the relevance of the "God does not need to be told who counts as a human being" part.

LeeC, maybe Rev. Lowery actually prayed "... when white will embrace what is Wright." ;)

Trinian said...

Dear God, thank you for making us so awesome. Please help us to be even more awesome in the future. Amen.

David Rudel said...


With regard to the "unborn" statement, I was referring to but one of many examples of things evangelicals would have liked to see in the prayer, some indication that the unborn are living. My point is "What would that look like...Warren informing God of who is a living being."

You evidently misunderstood my remark about political gloatage. I have no problem with people praying for nations or for people. There is nothing in Jeremiah's prayer that says "Look, I'm going to say something that bothers all you soft Christians and non-Christians, and I'm doing it as part of a public display, and you cannot stop me."

This whole idea that we should "grade" this prayer based on how much it separates "us" from "them" is totally cracked. A prayer is meant for God, not for offending the unchurched or the soft-churched.

This is one point I brought up in the article I referenced.

~Mark said...

Wow, Warren, Lowrey, "Vicki"...what a trip. Dan, if you don't mind my linking, here's a little something I wrote which White folks may not be able to say for four years or so:


Carol Jean said...

Jack W. said, "I think Lowery was just trying to make up for the lack of rhymes in the alleged poem."

My 17-year-old (who doesn't appreciate the nuances of non-limerick, poetry and prefers a good sea chanty) said, "He's better than the poet!"

He also on the phone with the White House, asking when his fig tree will be arriving...

....when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid, when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Here's the transcript

Michelle said...

David, I agree that a prayer is meant for God, but there is also great responsibility and great benefit in the corporate prayer of believers, and prayer on behalf of a nation, giving both horizontal as well as vertical significance.

RT said...

I confess that I remain unenlightened as to what any of the prayers uttered today accomplished or could have accomplished given the secular character of our political institutions, the religiously heterogeneous public and the rigidly enforced "Hippocratic Oath" of political rectitude: "First, cause no offense." There is no sense in which these prayers were, or could have been, the "corporate prayer of believers", given that most of those praying and most of the audience probably fall outside that category. The concept, moreover, of any of these three (Robinson, Warren or Lowery) praying "on behalf of a nation" is equally fatuous. I doubt God gives any more attention to the politic preacher than he does the nancy in purple and I certainly hope He ignores, on principle, silly prayers addressed to him in rhyme. No, I return to my assertion that it would be far better to skip the prayers and just get the ceremony over with.

David Rudel said...

Whatever benefit comes from corporate prayer should not derive from interpersonal effects. Exhortations are for interpersonal effects.

Michelle said...

I agree, David, that God alone EFFECTS as a result of prayer (corporate, public or private), but our corporate or public prayer AFFECTS others and so carries a horizontal responsibility in so far as it has the potential to edify, encourage, call to repentance, etc. That's all I'm saying.

ThirstyDavid said...

[yawn] My, wasn't that inspiring?

Picayune pedant that I am, the first thing I noticed was the typical "evangelical" appeal to a popular ungodly but superficially religious icon. I'm not sure God is impressed with hearing how pleased a liberal, modalistic adulterer, "Reverend" or not, is with this event.

NothingNewUnderTheSun said...

Warren's prayer was actually better than I was expecting. Before someone becomes too critical about it , how does it compare to prayers for GW Bush in 2001 and 2004 and HW Bush in 1989?

Susan said...

Here's the Youtube clip of the entire Rick Warren prayer (he just said something about Dr. King shouting in heaven--don't quote me--just watch it)....


Tim Bushong said...

"Exhortations are for interpersonal effects."

So why not exhort and then pray?

Face it- it was a weenie prayer to the weenie nice civil God, and there was absolutely no prophetic voice, unless treating the planet badly is something that God judges...

David Rudel said...

Because it was an invocation. How often does your pastor get up on Sunday and, before doing anything else, preach a hard-edged version of the gospel?

An invocation is for calling God into an assembly and asking for the Almighty's blessings upon it. That is what Rick did. Your pastor probably does the same thing every Sunday, and my guess is that you do not attack him for not being hard-line enough.

DJP said...

Absolutely right, Tim.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Liberal, mainline Christians join in the criticism of Pastor Rick Warren's prayer.

"Yet even as the founder of Orange County's Saddleback Church appeared to mollify those who have fought with him over gay marriage, he raised other eyebrows by invoking Jesus' name and concluding with the Lord's Prayer -- both distinctly Christian practices on a day that has typically been characterized by more general expressions of "civil religion."

I don't think he acquitted himself very well," said Randall Balmer, a professor of American religious history at Columbia University who considers Warren a friend. "To lead the nation in saying the Lord's Prayer, which is so particularly Christian, was a mistake."

From Rick Warren's inaugural invocation gets mixed reviews.

Tim Bushong said...

"An invocation is for calling God into an assembly and asking for the Almighty's blessings upon it."

Fair enough- but this wasn't the 'assembly'- it was (to use an analogy) the Areopagus writ large! It was the perfect time for an Acts 17-style "Men of America- I see that in every way you are very religious!"

It was also the perfect time for a good ol' imprecatory Psalm.

And, BTW, I am the pastor that, every Lord's Day, beseeches the Most High with an invocation, and that is done in the assembly, the church.

Rick's mistake was is asking God to bless- BLESS- pagans.

DJP said...

I think his biggest mistake was wanting pagans to like him.

Tim Bushong said...

"I think his biggest mistake was wanting pagans to like him."


Can't we all just get along? Hmm?