Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Childish things

A quick note about the inauguration.

After being so moved by the inauguration, a couple of thoughts. First, the benediction by Joseph Lowery was wonderful, far more positive, rooted, poetic, and appropriate to the moment than the mess presented by Rick Warren. If we need such things, (we need the poetry, not the theism), inclusive ecumenical expressions will beat exclusive, divisive ones every time. And it was better poetry than the official "poem" as well!

The line that encapsulates the inaugural address for me is "the time has come to set aside childish things". This is the tenor that Obama is bringing, after 20 years of food fights in Washington, brought to us by the power-at-all-costs bomb-throwing of Newt Gingrich and colleagues. In several ways and times Obama touched on this theme, in what is surely an attempt to extend his personal inclusiveness and judiciousness to the general tone in Washington which has been mired in so much stasis. A government which, as Obama pointed out, has put off so many important hard decisions while deranging our institutions and public morals in favor of a fearful security state.


  1. I have not responded to your posts lately. I have two reasons:

    First, my intention is to simply (not simplistically) engage in a charitable conversation with you. I offered what I thought was an invitation to (also simply) begin to arrive at a common vocabulary (a lexicon) so we could be assured that we were hearing each other. In response to that implied invitation, I received a collection of, in my opinion, statements that bypassed rather address the invitation. I take that as a "No, I do not desire to arrive at common ground" from you.

    Second, I do not hear a "teachable attitude" in your approach. It seems like (I could be all wrong on this so forgive me if I am) you have a more than intense ax to grind that goes beyond the desire for truth.

    Now, of course, I am guilty of both #1 and #2. I fully admit and confess the fact. I guess what I am trying to say is that I don't hear a willingness to acknowledge that same. Such a confession is fundamental to a fruitful discussion whether it be between theologians and theologians, scientists and scientists, or theologians and scientist, etc.

    So, I will sign off from what I had hoped would be a well-intentioned conversation. My best wishes to you in all your endeavors. My prayer is that all your endeavors will prosper and shine with the radiancy of the real truth that gives us life rather robs us of life.

    Fr. Lazarus

  2. Hi, Lazarus-

    Thank you for your comment. It is not imperative that we reach common ground if one of us happens to be incorrect. We can find out whether one is incorrect by criticizing each other's statements, especially in terms of what evidence might be available from observations of reality. I appreciate that your truth is quite different from what I regard as truth/reality, derived from my tentative interpretations of such observations. I am open to new evidence, but I doubt that is what you would be supplying via a charitable conversation, however common the vocabulary. As for the efficacy of prayer, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficacy_of_prayer .