Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Alternative Invocation

As part of the Inaugural services today for the swearing in of President Obama, Rick Warren will deliver the invocation. Warren is a conservative mega-minister who spreads a message of God that is too often unforgiving and hateful. Of course, he is not alone in his religious belief and vision that is mean-spirited. These clergy preach a version of faith for the soulless.

Quaker Dave at The Quaker Agitator has set up a blog for The Alternative Invocation, asking bloggers:

We ask that you post a message of compassion, empathy, tolerance, diversity, and true Christian (or other) love to America. Post a message that stands in opposition to the messages that Rick Warren and those of his particular political persuasion use to divide our country.

Truly, the best Alternative Invocation is that of the Prayer delivered by Reverend Gene Robinson at the Lincoln Memorial.

And then there is this:

As we all know, the times, they are a changin'. Thanks to Blue Gal.


Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm not very religious. With that caveat in mind, here are my thoughts:

Hope & Change.

Those were the words upon which President Obama premised his campaign. Hope and change is what he promised us if we entrusted him with our faith in him to lead us going forward. Hope for the future and change in our ways.

Of course, many of the grave problems that we face today are the result of us having lost our way. Greed, power and self-interest became the mantra by which we lived. It has led to war, economic distress and a national depression in spirit and in deed. As we now know, that is not the way.

My prayer today is one of hope and change for the country, its people and its faith in God.

As the country has lost its way, so have many of its Churches. Religion has all too often become a microcosm of Wall Street, with a cross replacing the dollar sign. Greed, power and self-interest have replaced charity, mercy and love of fellow man.

Sermons of priests and ministers preaching that we judge our fellow man is not what God -- or Jesus -- asked of us. Forgiveness requires mercy, not condemnation. Dogmatism in the name of religion has fostered divisiveness and hatred. Christianity is no longer Christ-like.

I hope that we once again separate Church and state. As the country has been divided politically, so has the Christian religion. The Church has become as partisan as the nation. Politics is God, according to the sermons. We need change in our Churches and hope in our hearts and souls instead.

What is religion if not a belief and hope that we have the power to change -- for the better? Let us remember the true foundation of faith in God.

Love thy neighbor as thyself. Turn the other cheek. The meek shall inherit the earth.

Let us hope, and pray, for change.

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