Are absolutely worthless, but some people like to give them anyway.  Like Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop ordained in that denomination, who President-Elect Obama asked to deliver an invocation at one of the inaugural events.

Bishop Robinson said he had been reading inaugural prayers through history and was “horrified” at how “specifically and aggressively Christian they were.”

“I am very clear,” he said, “that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. The texts that I hold as sacred are not sacred texts for all Americans, and I want all people to feel that this is their prayer.”

Bishop Robinson said he might address the prayer to “the God of our many understandings,” language that he said he learned from the 12-step program he attended for his alcohol addiction.

If that is what was wanted or desired Obama could have just invited somebody from the Baha’I faith.  Melinda over at Stand to Reason calls this for what it is – silly.

This is silly pluralism to try to express all ideas at once that really then doesn’t express any of them.  In an attempt to avoid offending anyone, you still can offend since then no one’s idea of God is represented.  The tradition of asking different members of the clergy to lead public invocations is to have different views represented in different individuals.  Pluralism is tolerance as each person expresses their religious belief, not giving up any coherent idea of God and religion.

This God of “our many understandings” is a god which represents no one.  I wonder how he is going to cover the atheists?

18 comments
  1. Is this Bishop a Christian ? Or is he a One Religion pioneer ? I’m not sure you can be both……………………
    Last I heard, the Christian God , or even the Trinity, which is the One manifested in Three, isn’t called the “God of our many understandings”. These OTHER Gods are truly quite different even though the base idea of a power or powers or intelligence/intelligences (words are inadequate for this description) that transcends our understanding but rules all, is universal. The FORM this takes in God and in Religion are as different as could be.
    This might be fine for a mystic contemplative in the mountains somewhere, but it is innapropriate for a Christian minister.
    It’s possible to give an entirely CHRISTIAN speech that would be extremely acceptable to all people. That’s what we have been doing up to now. If it ain’t broke, why fix it ?

    Seems now that everyone has something to say about what a good Christian is, and who Christ was, so that actual Christians are in a minority opinion bracket on this subject. Ridiculous !

    I’m sure that Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell would not have had a problem with the idea of a God of many understandings in an overall mystical sense, but both these men were Christians because they found that to be the best way , the way they chose. For a Churchman to take such a position is not appropriate, unless they are an Interfaith Minister or a Bahai perhaps as mentioned.

    It’s all part of this stupid idea pervasive everywhere that differences are bad and can just be made to go away forever.
    It’s a Marxist doctrine and has been proved not to work.

    Some newspaper today said that it’s like asking a Jew to be happy if a pro Nazi speaker were balanced out with a Rabbi. This is an extreme comparison but you get my point.
    My personal take: Please, someone, get a big HOOK and pull this clown off the stage before he disgraces himself and all of us “normal” Christians into the bargain !

  2. Is this Bishop a Christian ? Or is he a One Religion pioneer ? I’m not sure you can be both……………………
    Last I heard, the Christian God , or even the Trinity, which is the One manifested in Three, isn’t called the “God of our many understandings”. These OTHER Gods are truly quite different even though the base idea of a power or powers or intelligence/intelligences (words are inadequate for this description) that transcends our understanding but rules all, is universal. The FORM this takes in God and in Religion are as different as could be.
    This might be fine for a mystic contemplative in the mountains somewhere, but it is innapropriate for a Christian minister.
    It’s possible to give an entirely CHRISTIAN speech that would be extremely acceptable to all people. That’s what we have been doing up to now. If it ain’t broke, why fix it ?

    Seems now that everyone has something to say about what a good Christian is, and who Christ was, so that actual Christians are in a minority opinion bracket on this subject. Ridiculous !

    I’m sure that Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell would not have had a problem with the idea of a God of many understandings in an overall mystical sense, but both these men were Christians because they found that to be the best way , the way they chose. For a Churchman to take such a position is not appropriate, unless they are an Interfaith Minister or a Bahai perhaps as mentioned.

    It’s all part of this stupid idea pervasive everywhere that differences are bad and can just be made to go away forever.
    It’s a Marxist doctrine and has been proved not to work.

    Some newspaper today said that it’s like asking a Jew to be happy if a pro Nazi speaker were balanced out with a Rabbi. This is an extreme comparison but you get my point.
    My personal take: Please, someone, get a big HOOK and pull this clown off the stage before he disgraces himself and all of us “normal” Christians into the bargain !

  3. “I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. ” What to an Episcopal bishop is like Scripture I wonder?

    “the God of our many understandings,” sounds like the God of our misunderstandings.

    Maybe the atheists can say the prayer in reverse to remove it from their minds.

    AndyCs last blog post..Look What Excites Me

  4. “I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. ” What to an Episcopal bishop is like Scripture I wonder?

    “the God of our many understandings,” sounds like the God of our misunderstandings.

    Maybe the atheists can say the prayer in reverse to remove it from their minds.

    AndyCs last blog post..Look What Excites Me

  5. How could a prayer possibly be ‘worthless’? God of ‘our many understandings’ addresses noone. “normal” Christians. Comparing the inauguration to having a Nazi and a Rabbi speak. It’s pretty clear what kind of people occupy this blog, and they don’t need to worry about heaven.

  6. How could a prayer possibly be ‘worthless’? God of ‘our many understandings’ addresses noone. “normal” Christians. Comparing the inauguration to having a Nazi and a Rabbi speak. It’s pretty clear what kind of people occupy this blog, and they don’t need to worry about heaven.

  7. Uh-oh, Shane. Looks like you won’t be going to heaven! The pluralistic god who accepts everyone’s prayers equally and goes by all names in all scriptures and accepts everyone just as they are without any reform or atonement somehow does not accept you because you dare to have a decisive opinion! I don’t know how you manage to piss off a god who’s so easy to please, but apparently you have done so, and I don’t know how to tell you to get back on his good side! 😉

    Matts last blog post..Christian Crybabies?

  8. Uh-oh, Shane. Looks like you won’t be going to heaven! The pluralistic god who accepts everyone’s prayers equally and goes by all names in all scriptures and accepts everyone just as they are without any reform or atonement somehow does not accept you because you dare to have a decisive opinion! I don’t know how you manage to piss off a god who’s so easy to please, but apparently you have done so, and I don’t know how to tell you to get back on his good side! 😉

    Matts last blog post..Christian Crybabies?

  9. @Ava – I don’t know for certain since I don’t know his heart. I can say I don’t see fruit and that he is theologically confused.

    @AndyC – He does seem to be a confused person doesn’t he.

    @Aquariman – no prayer is not worthless – pluralistic prayer is because he is essentially praying to no one. I think you just distorted what Ava said, she wasn’t comparing the Nazi and the Rabbi speak to the inauguration, but rather finding an example of how different those offering prayers are from one one another.

    I also love how tolerant you are of other people’s opinions.

  10. @Ava – I don’t know for certain since I don’t know his heart. I can say I don’t see fruit and that he is theologically confused.

    @AndyC – He does seem to be a confused person doesn’t he.

    @Aquariman – no prayer is not worthless – pluralistic prayer is because he is essentially praying to no one. I think you just distorted what Ava said, she wasn’t comparing the Nazi and the Rabbi speak to the inauguration, but rather finding an example of how different those offering prayers are from one one another.

    I also love how tolerant you are of other people’s opinions.

  11. I have to take issue with the Bishop as well- we 12 Steppers have “God, as we understand Him” in the literature for specific reason. An atheist, a Hindu, a Jew, a Muslim, and a good ol’ boy all show up at an AA meeting. All five are there because they need to get sober – whether the state has declared them powerless over alcohol or they recognized they had a problem makes no difference for us (though it might affect how long they stick around).

    The wording of the 3rd Step – We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand Him – allows everyone in this rather diverse group to come to an understanding of God that allows them to achieve sobriety without saying “You must believe in this understanding of God in order to get sober.” If AA were in the religion business, and specifically promoted Christianity – which denomination’s rules would be shoved down people’s throats? What if someone truly cannot believe in what Baptists believe? or Assemblies of God? In order to get sober, y’all have to believe that the Catholics, or the Amish or (fill in a denomination or sect of your choice here). We would not see people getting sober, and having the freedom to grow into an understanding of who God is, who I am not, and where we come together. AA allows people to get sober and learn of God – some become Christians as a result of that freedom.

    Indeed, it was that freedom – the ability to throw out my flawed understanding of God as nothing but a vengeful, wrathful, cop-with-a-radar gun waiting to catch me and burn me for my many sins and replace that misunderstanding with a better understanding of how a loving God could allow me to screw up my life royally, and still come home to Him.

    Nowhere, however, in AA’s literature is God to be understood as the Great Perhaps, the Holy Vacuum, or the Omnipotent Mush. I do not believe in such a God – Christ drew me to Himself through AA some 26+ years ago.

    Ricks last blog post..The waiting is over

  12. I have to take issue with the Bishop as well- we 12 Steppers have “God, as we understand Him” in the literature for specific reason. An atheist, a Hindu, a Jew, a Muslim, and a good ol’ boy all show up at an AA meeting. All five are there because they need to get sober – whether the state has declared them powerless over alcohol or they recognized they had a problem makes no difference for us (though it might affect how long they stick around).

    The wording of the 3rd Step – We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand Him – allows everyone in this rather diverse group to come to an understanding of God that allows them to achieve sobriety without saying “You must believe in this understanding of God in order to get sober.” If AA were in the religion business, and specifically promoted Christianity – which denomination’s rules would be shoved down people’s throats? What if someone truly cannot believe in what Baptists believe? or Assemblies of God? In order to get sober, y’all have to believe that the Catholics, or the Amish or (fill in a denomination or sect of your choice here). We would not see people getting sober, and having the freedom to grow into an understanding of who God is, who I am not, and where we come together. AA allows people to get sober and learn of God – some become Christians as a result of that freedom.

    Indeed, it was that freedom – the ability to throw out my flawed understanding of God as nothing but a vengeful, wrathful, cop-with-a-radar gun waiting to catch me and burn me for my many sins and replace that misunderstanding with a better understanding of how a loving God could allow me to screw up my life royally, and still come home to Him.

    Nowhere, however, in AA’s literature is God to be understood as the Great Perhaps, the Holy Vacuum, or the Omnipotent Mush. I do not believe in such a God – Christ drew me to Himself through AA some 26+ years ago.

    Ricks last blog post..The waiting is over

  13. Can you “imagine” (sounds like a name in a song!) if they had a well known Reformed pastor give the Benediction? The media will have a field day with the Robinson/Warren invocations. 🙁

  14. Can you “imagine” (sounds like a name in a song!) if they had a well known Reformed pastor give the Benediction? The media will have a field day with the Robinson/Warren invocations. 🙁

  15. This is really very good article, i liked reading it, time has passed really very fast, it appears it was just yesterday when all the world was waiting to see Obama inauguration.

    Rocky

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