Friday, January 23, 2009

More on Rick Warren's Invocation

A friend asked me if I'd noticed that Warren's invocation started with an English version of the She'ma, Judaism's central creedal statement:

Hear O Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is one.

I replied thusly:

I did notice the She'ma. And he didn't just learn that for the occasion

He also referred to G-d with adjectives typically invoked in describing Allah. He didn't learn that just for the occasion either.

I can't remember the exact adjectives at this moment, but I remember noticing at the time that all three Abrahamic faiths were included --- rendered in American cadences.

He also got constitutional law right. He made much more sense out of the balance between the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause than legal briefs I've read on the subject.

He addressed the Deity in truly ecumenical (if not gender-neutral) terms at all times except when he spoke directly of himself. He invoked Jesus' name in connection with his own religious witness. He asked no one else to pray in Jesus' name. Any who cared to, probably most of the crowd, did.

A perfect balance between Warren's "free exercise" right and our right to be free of from any government-established religion.

Like I said, wrong as hell on equal rights for homosexuals. Which is a big problem.

But he's right on some important stuff too.

This led another friend to ask if I felt the same way about his concluding his invocation with The Lord's Prayer.

To which I said:

The Lord's Prayer really doesn't have anything in it that's not applicable across the religious spectrum, saith Rav David.

I've thought about this a lot because most 12-step group meetings end with the Lord's Prayer, and occasionally with baffled Christians trying to figure out why Jews new to the program might be put off.

It's a Christian prayer because it's a part of Christian liturgy, and primarily recited by Christians. But it expresses nothing a Jew can't pray for or about, in my estimation.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Traditional Judaism views G-d as a Father in heaven. Same with a coming Messianic Age and G-d's omnipotence. (The phrasing's not gender-neutral, but that's a different issue.)

Give us today our daily bread.

That's why we say HaMotzi.

Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.

Bringing Yom Kippur into the rest of the year is a good idea.

Lead us not into temptation,

Acknowledges free will (just like "I have set before you a blessing and a curse, choose the blessing")

but deliver us from evil.

Can you hear the echo of singing Rock of Ages in front of a menorah a few weeks ago?

For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.

Our own liturgy is chock-full of this stuff, especially all the high-falutin' superlatives in the various iterations of the Kaddish.

I can understand the aversion to the Lord's Prayer some Jews feel, because for generations Jewish children were taught:

"Just don't pray goyische prayers, period."

"But, ..."

"Don't ask."

"Bu ..."

"Because I said so."

I'm trying to give [Monkeyboy] a little nuance.

Then I realized I had a new blog post.

Have a good Sabbath everybody, whether you celebrate it today, tomorrow or Sunday.

If you don't celebrate it at all, have a good weekend.


mielikki said...

wow I really liked this post especially your dissection and comparison of the Lords Prayer. Good Sabbath right back atcha.

Moonbeam said...

Nice post.

While reading your version of the Lord's Prayer I realized that some of the verses were slightly different than what I have been taught and always use. So I want to thank you for prompting me to go to Wikipedia and reading very interesting information and comparisons on this along with the very good comparison you gave me to read with regard to the Jewish Faith.

Even tho the verses are slightly different the same meaning is there.

I say it....
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Have a good Sabbath.

dmarks said...

"A perfect balance between Warren's "free exercise" right and our right to be free of from any government-established religion."

I think that anything he would have said would have been OK under "free exercise". Standing at that podium, there's no way he could have imposed a government religion or violated anything like that.

And speaking of religion, for some reason the verification word I have to type now is "Sinai".

Alan M. Feldstein said...

It's a great essay, especially coming from a Jew.

The only place you lose points is with your (off-topic) remark about homosexuality. I assume that Rick Warren expressed support for Leviticus 18:22.