Southern Religion

National Prayer Service ‘has many mansions’

The National Prayer Service has Many, many mansions, writes Mark Silk at Spiritual Politics.

In addition to Sharon E. Watkins, says the Presidential Inaugural Committee announcement:

The National Prayer Service will include a traditional prayer for civil leaders, a prayer for the nation, a selection by the Washington, D.C.-based Children of the Gospel Children’s Choir, and, for the first time, feature a sermon delivered by a woman.

Reverend Samuel T. Lloyd III, Dean of the Washington National Cathedral, will welcome attendees to the event, followed by the invocation of Reverend John Bryon Chane, Episcopal Bishop of Washington.

Reverend Otis Moss Jr., Senior Pastor Emeritus, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio will provide the opening prayer, followed by a prayer for civil leaders delivered by Reverend Andy Stanley, Senior Pastor, North Point Community Church, Alpharetta, Georgia.

Scripture readings will be provided by Dr. Cynthia Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Atlanta, Georgia as well as Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, New York City, and the Most Reverend Francisco Gonzalez, S.F., Auxiliary Bishop of Washington. Rabbi David Saperstein, Executive Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Washington, D.C., has been asked to deliver a psalm.

Responsive prayers given by six leaders will symbolize America’s traditions of religious tolerance and freedom:

  • Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President, Islamic Society of North America, Hartford, CT.
  • Rev. Suzan Johnson-Cook, Senior Pastor, Bronx Christian Fellowship, New York City.
  • Rabbi Jerome Epstein, Director, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, New York City.
  • Rev. Carol Wade of the Washington National Cathedral.
  • Dr. Uma Mysorekar, President, Hindu Temple Society of North America, New York City.
  • Rev. Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners, Washington, D.C.
  • Rabbi Haskal Lookstein, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurunm, New York City.
  • Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, Senior Pastor, Windsor Village United Methodist Church, Houston, TX.

The service will conclude with a prayer for the nation delivered by Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., followed by a closing prayer provided by Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori, Presiding Bishop, Episcopal Church USA and a benediction by the Reverend Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary of the Reformed Church in America.

Inclusion indeed.

January 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on National Prayer Service ‘has many mansions’

Inauguration = consecration

Inauguration is the consecration of a president-elect as high priest of the the American civil religion, argued sociologist Robert Bellah .

The Floriday Time-Union explained:

Obama will be just another American citizen Tuesday morning. Tuesday night he will be the leader of one of the most powerful nations on earth. In between, he will undergo a status transformation through a rite of initiation.

“There has to be a ritual way of placing the mantle [of authority] on the person” becoming president, [religion scholar Julie] Ingersoll said. “This is how we legitimize them.”

Rites of initiation are rituals that initiate a person or community into a new reality, Ingersoll said. Such ceremonies establish and celebrate the shedding of an older life in favor of a new life and identity.

Usually invisible to us, as Mollie of Get Religion explained recently, our civil religion has fundamental beliefs, values, holidays, and rituals that said parallel or are independent of our chosen, spiritual religions.

Obama’s consecration is remarkable for the intense interweaving of both civil religion and spiritual religions, symbolizing a broader transition of allegiance and power that occurred during the election and is being steadily consolidated.

Julian E. Zelize, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, wrote recently about how during the presidential election formerly rock-solid Republican religionists changed allegiance:

Polls show that many religious Americans did not automatically move toward the right. Although most evangelicals refused to budge, younger evangelicals turned out for Obama. Catholics moved back to the Democrats and Jews and mainline Protestants voted for Obama in very high numbers.

Although the prayers and other religious ritual are a brief part of the inauguration, the underlying meaning of the breadth of clergy Obama has chosen to involve is lost on no one.

A waning alliance of the religious and political right led this country to catastrophe, and a new and it is to be greatly hoped reviving set of alliances is being forged and anointed.

January 16, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , , , | Comments Off on Inauguration = consecration

Be as dedicated as Hitler Youth, Rick Warren exhorted

Bruce Wilson wrote:

On April 17, 2005, at the southern California Anaheim Angels sports stadium thirty thousand Saddleback Church members, more than ever gathered in one spot, assembled to celebrate Saddleback’s 25th anniversary and listened as Rick Warren announced his vision for the next 25 years of the church: the P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

Towards the close of his nearly one hour speech, Pastor Warren asked his followers to be as committed to Jesus as the young Nazi men and women who spelled out in mass formation with their bodies the words “Hitler, we are yours,” in 1939 at the Munich Stadium, were committed to the Führer of the Third Reich, a major instigator of a World War that claimed 55 million lives. …

You may purchase the entire audio recording of this Rick Warren presentation from Saddleback Church.

The entire blog entry by Bruce Wilson at Talk To Action.

January 16, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , | 4 Comments