Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bishop Robinson

A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack Obama
By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire
Opening Inaugural Event
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
January 18, 2009

Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.

© Copyright 2004-2006 by The Diocese of New Hampshire, The Episcopal Church

Good Stuff

I've decided this blog is now just a place to keep stuff I like for future reference.

Text of Rev. Lowery's inauguration benediction

Text of the benediction by Rev. Joseph Lowery during President Barack Obama's inauguration, as transcribed by CQ Transcriptions:


God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou, who has brought us thus far along the way, thou, who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.

Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand true to thee, oh God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day.

We pray now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration.

He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national, and indeed the global, fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hands, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations.

Our faith does not shrink though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

For we know that, Lord, you are able and you're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that yes we can work together to achieve a more perfect union.

And while we have sown the seeds of greed — the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together as children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone.

With your hands of power and your heart of love, help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid, when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sermon from "The Bishop's Wife"

From one of the most delightful Christmas movies, and one of my all time favorites. And starring some of the best there ever were: Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven, Elsa Lanchester, and Monty Woolley.

Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking.

Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry, a blazing star hung over a stable, and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts.

But especially with gifts. You give me a book, I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer and Uncle Henry can do with a new pipe. For we forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. Its his birthday we're celebrating. Don't let us ever forget that.

Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then, let each put in his share, loving kindness, warm hearts, and a stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.

Monday, December 1, 2008

God in the Details

The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass; it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.

Henry Miller

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Some highlights from last night

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled -- Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America -- I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you -- we as a people will get there.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn -- I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time -- to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth -- that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America."

Even Pravda Gets It

"Eight Years of Hell Are Over"

The US presidential race, the grand American soap opera that continued for almost two years, became the most scandalous, dramatic, unpredictable and the most expensive campaign in US history.

The candidates have spent about $2.4 billion on their fight for the White House despite the global economic crisis at the time, when hundreds of thousands of US voters were losing their jobs and homes.

Other records of the campaign include the unusual activity of young and Afro-American voters. These electors vote for Obama. The Illinois Senator became an honored member of the 12,000-strong Indian tribe in May, during one of his pre-election trips. The Indians named their new brother as Barack Black Eagle.

Eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency marked a crucial era for America and the whole world.

September 11, 2001. Terrorist attacks took place in New York and Washington. The Pentagon declared the war on terror.

October 7, 2001. Washington launched a military operation in Afghanistan at the approval of the UN and overturned the Taliban regime in the country.

The fall of 2001. The US Patriot Act came into force. State-run structures were given access to private information of US citizens.

January 2002. Bush used the term “axis of evil” towards Iran, Iraq and North Korea. The list was then added with Cuba, Libya and Syria.

September 2002. The Bush’s doctrine was presented. The USA is ready to act single-handedly, without the approval from the international community.

March 2003. The White House launched a military campaign against Iraq. Over 4,000 US servicemen died there during five years. The war cost the USA its global reputation and triggered massive protests inside the United States.

July 2003. CIA agent Valerie Plame was disclosed. The story looked like a premeditated affair against Plame’s husband, former US diplomat Joe Wilson, who accused White House officials of manipulating the intelligence information about the situation in Iraq. It became one of the biggest political scandals during Bush’s presidency.

2003. The president initiated the tax reduction program, which made it possible to overcome the economic setback. However, the reform resulted in the budget deficit.

2004. The notorious Abu Ghraib scandal hits the world.

March 2004. Then-Prime Minister of Israel Ariel Sharon withdrew troops from Palestinian territories at the mediation of the United States. The event marked landmark success in the regulation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

January 20, 2005. Bush takes his second term as POTUS. Condoleezza Rice replaced Colin Powell as the US Secretary of State.

August 2005. Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. The actions of the US administration were later considered incompetent.

November 2006. Republicans lost the mid-term elections. Democrats control the two houses of the US Congress.

February 2007. The relations between the United States and Russia took a turn for the worse. Putin slammed the NATO expansion and the missile defense program during his speech in Munich, Germany.

March 2008. Bush officially supported John McCain as a presidential candidate.

August 2008. A military conflict between Georgia and Russia occurred. Bush threatened Russia with international isolation and promised a billion-dollar-worth humanitarian assistance to Georgia.

I called it the day I met him

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We were there...sort of

"The ultimate color line has been crossed"

Time for cake and champagne!!!!!!!!!!

How sweet it is!

We're partying early with our buddies Karen and Lynne, but no cake or bubbly till it's a done deal.