Hope and Virtue

I woke up much earlier than usual on the morning of January 20th, 2009. Remember, I work in the evenings, for the most part, so it's not always easy for me to wake up before 8am. Nevertheless, I set my alarm for 6:45 and was all set to watch the festivities. I won't rehash what you can get from any news source, but I thought I'd share some thoughts.

1) Overall, I thought the ceremony was very nice. It was a stately occasion, but it was not stuffy. I thought that the First Family looked gorgeous. The little girls were cute, Mrs. Obama was very pretty, and the President was very handsome. I enjoyed the quartet; Simple Gifts is one of my favorite tunes. I wasn't impressed favorably by Pastor Rick Warren's prayer. I know that some of my readers love him, but, frankly, I'm not a fan. I did, however, enjoy the benediction. It made me smile.

2) I loved President Obama's speech. I thought he did a wonderful job of showing hope while not ignoring the seriousness of our nation's situation. I loved how he focused on our nation as a whole and not on himself. I found myself inspired and hopeful. My favorite line was this:

. . . know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy

I think that's awesome! What if you . . . we . . . I lived my life as a a builder more often than a destroyer? I mean, deliberately lived that way? Wouldn't this be an awesome world?

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect.

This is kingdom-building at its core--recognizing our responsibility to feed the hungry, quench the thirsty, clothe the naked, and care for the widows and orphans. Of course, I was especially drawn to the line about feeding hungry minds, but I'm sure that if you know me, that's not a surprise. It's the message of Matthew 25. Inspiring!

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

Really inspiring!

3) I found myself really let down by the cattiness and downright hatred from some of my fellow Christians on this important day.

One person, who loves to proclaim herself to be a Christian seemed only too happy to proclaim that she "hates our new President and everything he stands for." Really? Hates? Everything? From what I've seen, our President loves his family and his country, God and humanity. Or, as I posted above,

hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism

Yeah, those sound like things that a Christian woman should be "totally against." Sure, I get that some people don't agree with President Obama's politics, but, seriously, the President said it best in his inaugural address: "the time has come to set aside childish things." Yeah, um, that's from the Bible. Maybe you've heard of it? But maybe you haven't, since you're against "EVERYTHING" that our President stands for. OK, I'm done ranting.

But I urge those of you who approached January 20th with a dirge in your heads rather than a hymn in your hearts to listen--really listen--to what you claim to be against. And whether you agree with what you think Barak Obama believes or you think the change he promises is not what you are hoping for, consider a different mindset. Think instead of how you might build something today. It's what I'm going to do.


MsRay said...

I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

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