Inauguration '09 (initial thoughts)
At group last Thursday, Sean said he was surprised that I wasn't all excited about the Inauguration, 'cause I do so much church and this is ritual, is community meaning-making. I laughed, and said that I'm really not into ritual though I've been developing a respect for it. I'm glad I watched it, though.
I came in partway through Rick Warren's invocation. I'll have commentary later when I get a transcript. I liked the bits about civility in disagreement and suchlike.
a devout, practicing, Christian and it's weird to me that we have these explicitly God-invoking speeches at national events. (It has been pointed out that all three major religious speakers this Inauguration are Christian -- Bishop Gene Robinson, Episcopalian; Rick Warren, evangelical Protestant; Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, Methodist -- which apparently is not necessarily usual.) He ended with the (Protestant, "trespasses") Lord's Prayer, and I mouthed along (I'll ignore the call to stand for the national anthem, but start saying "Our Father," and instinctively I start mouthing along, and bowing my head), but it felt really weird to me that this very specifically Christian (and one flavor of Christian) thing was being said at a national event. (I appreciated Obama's attempts at inclusion in his speech, though "Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus ... and nonbelievers" was definitely imperfect, especially since the "nonbelievers" sounded almost tacked on to me, even though I knew of course the speech had been written well in advance -- I know that trying to list everyone doesn't work, and coming up with inclusive language that doesn't sound so vague as to be meaningless is a challenge, but hey, I can crit.)
Yo-Yo Ma looked so joyful
. (And the morning shows had been talking about how cold it was out on the Mall -- though Jean behind me just said that it was in the 30s, which as far as I'm concerned is just normal winter weather. Carl on CNBC SquawkBox this morning said the Post had crunched some data and if the expected 2 million people were all on the Mall, each person would get 2 1/2 square feet of space.) In contrast, I wasn't all that taken with Aretha Franklin's performance later, I think largely because I so prize being able to hear and understand all the words in a song, and with the backup singers and whatever I often couldn't.
We were watching it on ABC, and shortly after noon one of the commentators mentioned that the official White House website had changed, as noon had passed in the East, Barack Obama was now the President (which given that he hadn't taken the Oath of Office yet seemed a bit strange to me).
President "to" the United States? Really, Mr. Chief Justice? (redeem147 said
of Obama, "He didn't stumble. He was being fed the wrong words, and he knew it." [Addendum: More from Ann Althouse.
sarah_p said [locked, link for my reference]
, "Hee, Obama just said that forty-four Americans have taken the oath of office....I mean, yes, the oath has been given forty-four TIMES, but Cleveland served non-consecutive terms! HE IS ONLY ONE AMERICAN. Didn't anyone proof this speech? :D"
I was not particularly impressed by Lowery's benediction, but I did love that he ended with Micah. I'd actually been singing that to myself this morning (CWM version -- "What does Love require of you? But to seek [do? I keep forgetting -- and I didn't look it up before posting the other night]
justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with your God..."). [Addendum: After it was over, MaryAlice said something pleased and approving about the benediction, and I almost said that he's Methodist, of "my" denomination -- except that for all that CWM is "home," and thus I've been hearing lots about Lowery not just because we like his politics/theology but because he's a Methodist, I'm
not actually a Methodist. Heh.]