Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rick Warren-A Change of Mind if not Heart

This is a follow-up to the previous Rick Warren related post. I recieved two comments to teh contrary (thanks!) and have done a lot of reading and reviewing other's opinions.

OK--let me first say there is a DIFFERENCE in allowing someone to have opposite points of view; (I NEVER suggested Warren be silenced or not entitled to his opinions) and giving those opposing view points center stage and top billing.

I still would have preferred, if Obama wanted to do this, to have Warren give the less prestigious benediction and let Rev Lowery (who marched with King and supports gay marriage AND who is giving the benediction) do the "prime time" slot of invocation.

But it is what it is; and ultimately the point made by cousin Lynn, Jack as well as bloggers Nate Silver and Lee Stranahan and here(alhough Bob Cesca agrees with me and again) is THIS is how we do things in Obama's America. and ultimately I'm fine with it. I even sent an email to change.gov stating my support now (only to be fair, since I fired off one after I heard the news). There is an upside in that it seperates the men from the boys as far as working together-disagreeing without being disagreeable. And I strongly disagree with Warren (and his boring little book) as well as Obama for giving him the invocation. But ultimately I trust Obama and it is just a prayer--I'm willing to let this one go. Especially in the hopes of securing sure footing in the attempt to extinguish the rancorous and ignorant partisanship exploited by Republicans and conservatives over the past decades. Huzzah! then, I say Huzzah!

To hear Lee and Bob debate the Warren invitation, you can also listen here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rick Warren-I don't like this!

OK, as anyone who has read my blog knows I am very opinionated, and often my opinions are very liberal. I also hope they have seen my calls for bi-partisanship and post-partisanship as well as a need for balance, pragmatism and wisdom. I have spoken for the need for Americans to be united and the President to be President of EVERYONE. Furthermore, I am a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE Obama fan! I trust his wisdom and direction and decisions.
But I disagree and am very disappointed in the decision to have Rick Warren give the inaugaral invocation.
Yes Warren is more moderate on poverty and AIDS issues-how wonderful of him to actually emulate what was Christ's central ministry! And Yes, civil rights veteran Joe Lowery will be given the benediction-so its not like there will be an all out evangelical right-wing fest.BUT, Rick Warren is a lead advocate against Prop 8 in California-"big deal" you say. "He's a evangelical preacher, big surprise?" You say. Well as recent as since the election Warren compared gay marriage with incest and pedophilia. Warren is also anti-abortion in any circumstance and said he agrees with James Dobson on all social issues, his tone is just softer.
Again, "so what" you say. Well here is "so what" we must move past the divisiveness of these issues and they should NOT be legitimalized. I am not saying we should have Gene Robinson-the 1st gay Bishop in the Episcopal Church-give the invocation, I am fine with a moderate-but that is just it-a moderate. Evangelicals have had a disproportionate influence on politics and government and society in the name of "bi-partisanship, patriotism and moral values". They gave us George W. Bush and still support him-the only ones who do. I am fine with Obama reaching out to Warren and other leaders to bridge the gap, and find consensus. I am NOT ok with him having someone who declared Obama would unleash a holocost on the unborn.
Maybe this is personal-I was told that I'd be going to Hell because I supported Obama-who would allow homosexuals to take over and kill babies. And even as I write this post I feel the pull to trust Obama knows what he is doing and that the potential back-lash of progressives opposition could really alienate evangelicals-which is detrimental to our country. But I feel their views are too out of the mainstream, too corrosive and too wrong direction for our country. To me this sends the wrong message! These are the people who have no problem with Sarah FREAKIN' Palin, for God's sake.

I love Obama and I trust him. But I strongly disagree with this particular olive branch!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


OK--Advent has become probably my favorite time of year since I converted to Catholicism. (I guess I'm technically a lapsed Catholic now?)

When I went through my conversion class, a lot of time was spent on Advent-and I think between Christmas and Lent/Easter period; this time gets short shrift. It was explained that Advent was the time of preparation for the feast of Christmas (actually 12 days BEGINNING on 12/25 and ending on Epiphany--ever heard of The 12 Days of Christmas???) In predom protestant and increasingly as "christian" becomes synonymous with evangelical-Advent is heard of less and less, with the exception of the cute calendars and perhaps an occasional advent wreath.

Advent is actually a wonderfully, beautiful time that modern Christians, and Americans could benefit from. Christmas was never meant to be celebrated as the "birthday" of Jesus. Rather it was the official festival where the birth of Christ was celebrated. The difference is not just semantics. When early Christian(Catholic) fathers were growing the faith, it was not uncommon for secular holidays to get hijacked and "rebranded" as Christian feast days. The winter solstice is a virtual "whos's who" of religious holidays-most involving light. Why? It is the darkest, shortest day of the year--what better way to deal with this than celebrating figurative "lights" piercing the darkness. This was the mindset when the day was chosen to celebrate the arrival of Christ into the world.

Advent is the 4 week period prior to December 25th. Each week the believer is supposed to draw closer to God in anticipation of the coming of the Christ symbolically into their life again. Each week there are special readings and lighting of candles that is climaxed by the lighting of the "Christ Candle" on Christmas Eve at midnight.

It would do a lot of Christians good to remember the concept and preparation of Advent instead of touting cliche's like "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" or ranting about the war on Christmas. Perhaps, if evangelicals spent more time in self-reflection and the coming of Christ into their personal lives; then maybe they, their church, and all of us would be better off. Maybe if we all spent time in self-reflection on what it means to be light in the darkness, we'd all be better off as well.