Quick Thoughts on the Inauguration

Was happy that in the invocation Rev. Warren distinctly invoked the name of Jesus.

Love 21 gun salutes.

Surprised President Obama flubbed the oath…as did Chief Justice, John Roberts, Jr.

Think President Obama’s speech was moderate. Expected something more soaring and memorable. He is an eloquent speaker.

Thought the first parts of the benediction were beautiful: the last, pitiful and insulting, not at all appropriate for prayer at the inauguration of our president.

“We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right,” Rev. Lowery said.

Was saddened to hear that ex-president Bush was jeered as he mounted the platform. Must we show such little class?

Barack Obama is now my president. I wish him success in honorably and faithfully leading our country.

39 thoughts on “Quick Thoughts on the Inauguration

  1. Greg, I took no offense at your asking of Jerry’s credentials…and accept your apology concerning the appearance of calling me a racist.

    See, we’re still fast friends.

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  2. Shirley, I wasn’t trying to cast any shadow of doubt upon your Jerry’s qualificatoins as a preacher – I was trying to point out to Bill Post that degrees don’t make te rev – calling and ordination are the qualifications in my understanding.

    I am not calling you a racist – I was trying to point out that the way I percieved the language you used was derogatory of black people in general. There are commentors on this thread who I think are certainly racist – but not being privy to their offline real personas I really have nothing other than their words here to base that accusation on. You Shirley, are not among those people and I apologise for giving you the impression I considered you racist; I do not.

    This is te first time that I will be able to say this(I imagine it may also be the last time I can say it)…I agree with you Brother Webb.

    I am no lover of political correctness – I hate it – “speak your mind”, but be thoughtful and respectful of others – use intelligence and logic – don’t generalise – is how I would encourage people to write and speak.

    I liked your joke – I am always up for a joke!

    Peace

    Greg

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  3. “There were three instances of poetry during the inauguration of Barack Obama: the anointed inaugural poem by Elizabeth Alexander, and then two different parts of the closing benediction by Rev. Joseph Lowery: the opening, which quoted, sans attribution, James Weldon Johnson’s great “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” sometimes referred to as the “Negro National Anthem,” and then again at the end, when Lowery, the 87-year-old civil rights hero who co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with his friend & collaborator, Martin Luther King, in 1957, pulled a moment seemingly out of the history both of the black church and do-wop dee jays¹, with

    we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around … when yellow will be mellow … when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right.

    It’s conceivable that this also is a quote, from the work of Muhammad Ali. ”

    see more at January 23 Silliman Blog
    http://ronsilliman.blogspot.com/

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  4. Greg as I respond to your challenges to some things I have posted I want to first bring a compelling scripture: Jeremiah 17:9 reads, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” I acknowledge that I possess such a heart, and I sincerely believe it is only through God and His enlightenment that I can even know my heart–much less purify it.

    Having said that, though, as far as I can tell, I am not a racist. If I am, I have quite fooled myself–and have deceived others around me, for I don’t believe one among my family and friends would say I am racist. I believe they would say altogether the opposite. Included in this group would be whites, blacks, Hispanics, and a few Orientals and others. (Hope I have named these groups in a politically correct manner…not always sure these days.)

    So when occasionally someone implies that I am racist, it always takes me aback–startles me somewhat, and I try to sincerely examine what I have said to see if there be truth there.

    “Of the 595 words in Rev Lowery’s benediction you carry on about 38 of those words? Why is it not acceptable to use humour in prayers? Is not God able to laugh – are we to never joke around with God? Is he so far and distant that he doesn’t understand or find acceptable our human need for humour…which he created?

    I wrote positively of most of the benediction:

    “Thought the first parts of the benediction were beautiful”

    Yes, I believe in humor, and in a response to James Wilder I wrote this:

    “I’m not adverse to humor–quite enjoy it in sermons, for instance. But in a prayer? An inauguration benediction before 2 million people?”

    I am guilty of one infraction to which you refer; that of overlooking the beauty of the last line of Rev. Lowery’s:

    “That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.”

    I apologize for lumping that line with the rest of the last paragraph. It is not the same as the other lines.

    Greg, the reason I mentioned black preachers speaking in what I think are unacceptable ways is because I have never heard that kind of talk in any except a black preacher. I was stunned a few months ago when I first heard Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for I honestly had no idea any preacher would ever speak like that in a pulpit.

    It further puzzles and exasperates me that some people defend black preachers talking this way…and speaking racial slurs, saying it is just their way, etc.

    When I said I suspect President Barack was cringing at those questionable words of Rev. Lowery, that is just my opinion. I did see on the video that he faintly smiled. He still could have been cringing inside: I certainly hope he was.

    My husband has a Bachelor of Arts degree, and attended a Bible school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is ordained with the United Pentecostal church. I agree with you, though, that it doesn’t take a degree to fashion a preacher. I know many men who are powerful preachers, but who have no degree.

    Are you in the mood for a joke? A young man from the Ozark Mountain area (the area of my childhood: let none take offense.) was hooking up a team of mules. He looked into the sky and saw a gigantic GP. Believing the letters to stand for the words Go Preach, he immediately left the field, stabled the mules, and traveled to a school where a prestigious D.D. was added to his name.

    After a few people heard him preach, they secretly decided the GP must have stood for Go Plow.

    Hope you’re feeling better. Sorry my site made you so angry and upset.

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  5. You couldn’t have looked far

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremiah_Wright#Education_and_military_service Jeremiah Wright actually holds a Doctor of Ministry from United theological Seminary in Ohio

    As for Rev Lowery

    Ordained to ministry of United Methodist (UM) Church; pastor of churches in Mobile, AL, 1952-61, and Birmingham, AL, 1964-68; pastor in Atlanta, GA, of Central UM Church, 1968-86, and Cascade UM Church, 1986–. Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Atlanta, co-founder, vice-president, 1957-67, chairman of national board of directors, 1967-77, national president, 1977-97. Served as administrative assistant to Bishop Golden of the UM Church, Nashville, TN, 1961-64. Co-chairman of 20th Anniversary March on Washington, 1983.

    Ordination is enough to make anyone a reverend

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  6. So where in scripture does it say you need a D.Div or M.Div to be a pastor? The scriptures actualy contain a set of qualificatoins based upon character annd relationship rather than education. According to your reasoning you shouldn’t even be following Jesus – a simple carpenter and having no educational qualificatoins anywhere near what you think people need to have. What about Peter? Fisherman! You’re on the wrong track Bill. As for end times – The apostles thought thwey were in the end times as well…Paul himself thought it not worth it for young people to be getting married as it was all going to be over soon anyway.

    What we are in is historic and world changing times and President Obama is the biggest peice of evidence that thre is enough will for positive change for it to actually happen

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  7. I questioned his “rev” for the same reason I question the “rev” Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. I have searched and not found any of them to have a Doctor of Divinity, Master of Divinity or anything close to what MY pastor and most pastors that I know have. Actual CREDENTIALS. If they were white, I would say the same thing. I question Rick Warren’s credentials.
    All part of scripture and we ARE in the end times for sure.

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  8. You are of course correct Shirley you were referring to Jeremiah Wright with regards to careless speech – but still you make a note that not every black preacher speaks so carelessly – what of white preachers? What of brown or yellow (no matter how mellow)? Why not just simply say – not every preacher – whay refer to his colour when commenting on his words?

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  9. Sorry Greg about my blog’s mind. Your post has now come through and I want to respond, but I must pack up my little MacBook and leave right now.

    Stand by…and relax. For sure you have misunderstood some of the things I have said…or perhaps I did not make myself clear. One quick correction I want to make is when I said, “Not every black preacher….., I was referring to Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Read it again and you will note that to be true. His language is vile.

    More later…

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  10. on the “recent posts’ tab on teh right there is supposed to be a post by Dean following Bill Posts 2 comments before mine – but it doens;t appear inthe comments either? Your blog has a mind of it’s own Shirley!

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  11. So…let me get this straight. Of the 595 words in Rev Lowery’s benediction you carry on about 38 of those words? Why is it not acceptable to use humour in prayers? Is not God able to laugh – are we to never joke around with God? Is he so far and distant that he doesn’t understand or find acceptable our human need for humour…which he created?

    You very neatly left of the final words of the benediction…That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. …hmm sound an awful lot like a certain scripture – Micah 6:8…He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

    Rev Lowery’s entire prayer was about us all – not just you guys over in America – doing what God has asked us to do! And yes James Wilder – to do justice and love kindness in the ways Rev Lowery has done is indeed to be a spiritual giant.

    All of you would claim not to be racist and yet you attribute his supposedly ‘careless’ words to his colour – Shirley you can’t say you don’t when you say things like:

    Not every black preacher speaks in such a careless way, of course. I know many who are godly, and who live righteous and holy lives.

    Are you saying Shirley that Rev Lowery does not live a righteous and holy life? Do you base this on 38 words or do you have some evidence of this?

    Bill Post you place Rev Lowery’s title in apostrophes…”Rev” Lowery as if to say he isn’t really a reverend or that his credentials are entirely lacking – where is your evidence of this? Oh of course – his blackness…because he is “typical of African American Christians”!

    And Shirley, far from cringing, President Obama looked as if he was very much joining in with that prayer…he even smiled during the humourous part. Here is a link to the vision if you don’t believe me – http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=4-EAdktK-Kc

    I have never read a post or thread of discussion that has made me more angry than this one. Here then for those of you who failed to get the enormity of the prayer (not “speech” as Bill Post wants to call it) is the entire text of Reverend Lowery’s prayer:

    God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou, who has brought us thus far along 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 thee, oh God, and true to our native land.
    We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared this day.
    We pray now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration.
    He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national, and indeed the global, fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hands, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations.
    Our faith does not shrink though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.
    For we know that, Lord, you are able and you’re willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.
    We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that yes we can work together to achieve a more perfect union.
    And while we have sown the seeds of greed — the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.
    And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.
    And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.
    Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.
    We go now to walk together as children, pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone.
    With your hands of power and your heart of love, help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, 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.
    Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around … when yellow will be mellow … when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

    AMEN

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  12. Where has my original (and much longer) comment? dissapeared to? Can you email me Shirley if the text ahs dissappeared? Or is that bexcuase it weas very long and had several links that it is in a moderatoin que?

    Greg, I haven’t seen another comment: nothing waiting in moderation. Send it again. Email coming.

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  13. Mr. Webb: His doctrine is less then Biblical.
    I have already explained.
    So, just because he invoked the name of Jesus, as does every football player on Earth, makes him more Evangelical?
    More Christian?
    I think John Wesley, or Charles Spurgeon, or Billy Graham or John Edwards, or Charles Finney, or Billy Sunday would not have written books like “Purpose Driven Life”. They were too busy working to increase the Kingdom.
    Read some of Randy Alcorn’s materials. That will help too.

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  14. Mr. Webb: I HAVE Jesus in my heart. That is the reason why I say what I say.
    I am an very strong, Bible Believing Evangelical. The Bible is THE authoritative Word of God. Jesus is the second in the Triune God, the Son who died for the sins of the world.
    THEN he said “Go and make disciples”. He did not say, “go and write really good books on how to live a meaningful life”. He also did not say “go and make sure we all live in peace and harmony”. In fact he said, believing in Him would split father and son, brother against brother, etc. No, I don’t know what Jesus you want in my heart, but I have THE Jesus, and his precious Holy Ghost in me and that is why I will always call out the False Prophets and charlatans of this age such as Rick Warren with his Post Modern, feel good christianity. It didn’t feel good when Jesus was whipped, beaten, scourged and spat upon. No. Praise to the Father he took it and that is the Gospel upon which I have led my life.

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  15. Rob, I too enjoyed the music immensely. I sat here and grinned to myself watching Yo-Yo-Ma as he smiled and played his cello with such enthusiasm.

    I don’t have time to write about it at the moment–getting ready to head back to Lake Havasu, but I quite enjoyed all the pomp and circumstance of the inauguration. It was truly beautiful. There is truly something uplifting about these events.

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  16. Rob in Gallup

    Not going to touch some of the controversy, but I did want to say that the highlight of the event for me was the instrumental quartet that performed in the middle of the inauguration.

    What a gathering — the best violinist and cellist of our modern day, a rising star of a clarinetist, and the pianist to whose concert I once took a group of my piano students.

    It was unexpected and beautiful. I had not expected anything in the inauguration to move me to tears, but that song was just so beautiful, I couldn’t help but thank God for inventing music and giving these people such gifts to share with the world.

    In case you missed it or want to enjoy it again, here is a link to the video clip of that performance:

    http://tinyurl.com/94owd6

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  17. “Barack Obama is now my president. I wish him success in honorably and faithfully leading our country.”

    I wish Barack Obama happiness and success in his family life.

    I wish his wife and daughters the best of health.

    I do not, however, wish his socialist agenda anything but total failure. The moment Barack Obama’s political aspirations succeed, America becomes something it was never intended to be.

    Your concerns and mine are the same. That is why I carefully phrased the sentence: “I wish him success in honorably and faithfully leading our country. If he honorably and faithfully leads our country, it will not be down the path of socialism. I join your wish for failure of any socialist agenda.

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  18. “We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right,” Rev. Lowery said.”

    The Reverend Dr. Seuss, ladies and gentlemen.

    This latest embarrassment of a preacher was too busy writing childish rhymes and not enough time studying history.

    White already embraced what was right. He began a century and a half ago in Michigan with the beginnings of the Republican Party. He did so on the battlefields of the Civil War where brother fought brother and 600,000 men were slaughtered partly over the issue of slavery. He did so when he fought to keep the union together partly in hopes that slavery would die.

    White Republicans embraced what is right via the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments and when they fought segregation; they embraced right when they worked toward integration of schools; they embraced right when they nominated not one but two black Secretaries of State; they embraced right when they nominated one black man as Supreme Court Justice and nearly a second (Janice Rogers Brown); they embraced right when they signed into law a holiday honoring a civil rights leader.

    But because these achievements came from Republican white males, they are given no weight to Reverend Dr. Seuss, who is too busy writing rhymes worthy of toddler’s books rather than reading the history that might delude him of his foolish prejudices. Shame on him and whoever invited him to appear at the inauguration.

    Thank you, Sisyphus. I get sick of these accusations of the prejudice of whites against blacks; actually it is much more evident in the other direction.

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  19. Disappointing how the subject of race was brought up so much…yes, it’s historic that we have a black President now, but if we’re going to get racism out of our society, it seems the best way to do it would be to just not mention racial differences, and just get on with business, because we’re all Americans and that’s the bottom line.

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  20. Lowery a spiritual giant? Wow… All civil rights leaders are spiritual giants? One who fights for a cause is “therefore” a spiritual giant?

    For the record, please exclude me from the “those of us”.

    Inaugural prayers are always controversial (well, since Franklin Graham’s 2001 prayer). I wonder how the Apostle Paul or Peter would pray if asked for such an event. I’m sure they’d come praying as Paul or Peter and not some psuedo-spiritual guru, trying to fit into the mold of 21st Century pluralism. It would not be watered down. I’ll let Warren off the hook for at least invoke the name of Jesus, as well as several references to Scripture. I’m not a Warren fan, but at least his prayer did that. Lowery also didn’t hide his stripes.

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  21. Brother Webb, Are you saying those of us who see Rev. Lowery as a civil rights (and therefore a spiritual) giant and Warren as a preacher with a popular book are “fools”?

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  22. Sister Buxton:
    I noticed that a certain talk show host seemed to like Rev. Lowery more than Rick Warren. I never heard anyone in the news media even mention Rick Warren.

    Psaln 14 said, “The fool has said in his heart….no God.”

    Brother Webb

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  23. Wow! And to think Jesus died for those “certain elements.”

    You’re right, Helen Jesus certainly did die for all of us. It’s just that there are people who don’t understand that and did not want Jesus mentioned at the inauguration.

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  24. Sister Buxton:
    I waited to see if Rick Warren was going to pray in Jesus Name…and he did, and I’m glad.
    Brother Webb

    Yes, he did. There was concern that to please certain elements he would refrain from saying the name Jesus.

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  25. The benediction’s conclusion was entirely inappropriate. Is has nothing to do with us “knowing it all”, it has to do with a lack of class. The admonishment to all races is to not be a victim, and to us whiteys it’s to not victimize. Just not the right place for racial politics… it was a time to bring us all together, not invoke the race game and finger point at one particular race. Humor or not… many aren’t laughing.

    I can’t even understand it. What does mellow yellow mean? Sounds like Dr. Seus.

    I’m not adverse to humor–quite enjoy it in sermons, for instance. But in a prayer? An inauguration benediction before 2 million people? Unthinkable. I suspect President Obama was cringing. Does anyone read in advance what all participants will say, I wonder.

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  26. Sis. Shirley, I enjoyed your take. The flubbed oath was sort of funny. A huge historic occassion. Not sure what happened… Looked like the CJ paused too long, then spoke over Obama. Obama then shut down and had that marriage vow blank stare like “what am I supposed to say again?”

    Warren’s prayer was okay. Thankful the name was still invoked. I watched this with my whole office and had a warm feeling knowing that we were all participating in national prayer.

    Hi, James. I think the reason the flub was so amusing is that President Obama seems so cool and to have himself under control. Perhaps he is feeing more anxious than any of us think. But then, he wouldn’t be sane, if he did not feel great anxiety. What a job he has now.

    Rick Warren? I’ve never seen him as a powerhouse. He is likeable, though,…and knows how to write a best seller, doesn’t he.

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  27. That speech by “Rev.” Lowery was typical of the African American Christian. Social first, Jesus dead last.
    Rick Warren was a bit of a wimp in his prayer but what did I expect from the “Purpose Driven” preacher.
    Evangelism – 0
    Politics – 100
    final score

    Bill, I remain astonished at the language of many black preachers. I’m sure you have heard that in the past few days Jeremiah Wright was at it again, when after speaking at Howard University, he spoke in a profane way to the media. It sickens me.

    Not every black preacher speaks in such a careless way, of course. I know many who are godly, and who live righteous and holy lives.

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  28. Pingback: Today IS a Day of National Renewal and Reconciliation « Windows Toward the World

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