Obama inaugural thoughts (random … very)
(photos c/o BBC)
Apart from what was obviously an extraordinarily symbolic day – and one that is a right cause for rejoicing and history-making – I was moved by much of what happened. Here are some thoughts from yesterday’s momentous events:
- Obama is a great loss to preaching – he is clearly a brilliant and persuasive communicator. He even quoted the Bible (of course, his use of 1 Cor 13:11 was not exactly preserving the context, but we’ll let that rest because I think its wider context does have acute relevance to what he was saying).
- What was interesting (to me at any rate) was that this speech was different from many we’ve heard from Obama. For yesterday, he wasn’t campaigning. He doesn’t need to for the moment – he’s already entered the history books for all kinds of reasons. Nor was this like the King’s or Queen’s speech at the start of a new British Parliament. It wasn’t a manifesto as such. No – it was an appeal… an exhortation… a sermon.
- So his sermon to the nation (and indeed to the world) contained some of the key elements of an evangelistic address – a searing analysis of the seriousness of the problems facing America and the world; an impassioned plea (for a unity of purpose); a profoundly challenging ‘altar call’ (urging his ‘fellow citizens’ – he could so easily have begun ‘My brothers and sisters’ – to bear the full weight of responsibility to make change).
- What’s more, that call to service (which he described pithily as the ‘price and promise of citizenship’) is one he explicitly made in the context of God’s purpose and plans (although of course American unlike British politics needs lip-service paid to divinity however defined)
- He certainly didn’t pull his punches – there were no easy platitudes about how things were all going to be ok now. I was impressed with how hard-hitting it was – although of course there are political reasons for doing this (it simply magnifies the gulf that lies between the legacy of 43 and the challenge faced by 44).
- His rhetoric even occasionally resembled the civil rights preachers of the 60s – was I the only one to discern the echoed strains of MLK Jr?
It was an amazing spectacle all in all. Glad to have watched it – and it spurred my prayers for the new administration.
- Here for the full text of Obama’s Inaugural speech
- Britannica has some fun but otherwise useless Inauguration trivia
- Rick Warren did a magnificent job with his prayer (Mark Driscoll has the text). And Joseph Lowery’s prayed sermon was cool!
- 9 Facts about the Bible & US Presidents and 10 Bible Verses used by Presidents (c/o Faith Central)
Also check out this from the BBC about how CHINA CENSORED THE SPEECH