Tuesday, January 27, 2009

inaugural prayer analysis

An interesting analysis of Rick Warren's Inaugural Prayer
(by Chuck Norris at Worldnetdaily).

First of all, Warren's prayer was nearly five minutes long. He didn't cower to usual audience intolerance for long prayers.

Second, Warren embarks on what theologians call a Mars Hill (Greek) apologetic, which is a biblical approach and deductive line of reason that the Apostle Paul used in teaching about a Creator God, with whom all can at first identify.

No God-fearing individual could object to Warren's wide appeal in the words:
"Almighty God, our Father, everything we see, and everything we can't see, exists because of you alone. It all comes from you, it all belongs to you, it all exists for your glory. History is your story."

Third, Warren narrows his focus by identifying the Creator as the one true Hebrew God of the Old Testament – something that sounds inclusive of Judaism but also serves as the basis and narrowing of his Christian logic. At the same time, he was culturally sensitive to (but not necessarily endorsing of) Islam, by extolling God as "the compassionate and merciful one," which is a descriptive line that opens all but one chapter of the Koran.
The Scripture tells us, "Hear, O 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."

Fourth, Warren covers the gamut in compassionate petitions: thanking God for racial freedom and equality, praying a blessing on Obama and his cabinet, asking God to help us all unite in freedom, forgive us of our presumption and pride and share and serve all humanity – not just ourselves or our own.

Now for the part that would have earned him nothing but jeers and disdain were it not couched in those preceding four points.

Warren turns on a dime by calling on God to help us remember this universal religious truth: that God will judge all nations and all peoples. Then, for clarity sake, the name of Warren's Supreme Judge is given. He refers to this transforming agent, who changed his own life, in four different languages: "I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life – Yeshua (Hebrew), Isa (Arabic), Jesus (English), Jesus (Spanish) …"

And just when you think the "amen" is imminent, Warren gives a coup de grace to any political or earthly power – a possible subversive chess move to subtly call Obama's regime into checkmate. He called upon the global Christian community to invoke God's power against any and all human strongholds by collectively praying the Lord's Prayer. Warren rallies all branches, traditions and denominations of the universal church by triggering a prayer response through his words, "who taught us to pray saying …"

The proof came as cameras immediately panned the Washington crowds, many of whom found themselves suddenly reciting the prayer with Warren.
(It was interesting to see that Obama chose not to publicly follow or join in.)

So why did Warren close his invocation with the Lord's Prayer? The simple answers could include it is universal, well known, and both relatively inclusive of the majority and yet exclusive to the band of Jesus' loyalists. But the truth is the Lord's Prayer is no trite meaningless religious repetition to Warren.

Reciting the Lord's Prayer is pleading with God to do nothing short of erecting His Kingdom and executing His desires on earth as they are in heaven. It is calling upon the one true God, asking for his nature to overrun ours, his wishes to be fulfilled (not ours) and his rule and reign to be established (not ours). On the flip side, it is the most "dangerous" prayer one can pray if one wants to continue to live selfishly, misuse power and maintain control over others.

The Lord's Prayer is, in reality, the most invasive and subversive prayer to human selfishness that one can say, able to breakdown strongholds within us, within others, and even within political structures. Praying the Lord's prayer is ideal "when your circumstances are uncontrollable, when people around you won't change (they're unchangeable), and when problems are unexplainable."

For most, Warren was reinforcing his image as "a unifying, post-Christian-right figure rather than as a divisive culture warrior." But the reality is that Warren was being as "shrewd as a serpent and innocent as a dove." And most never even caught it.

Say what you will about this purpose-driven pastor, but when you parse it out, Rev. Rick Warren's inaugural invocation was about as purpose-driven as prayers come.

No comments: