Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Authentic Disappointment

Interesting title for a blog on a day that should make my heart sing with joy.

Make no mistake - My joy and hope comes from Jesus Christ alone. I am certain that He allowed the leader He wanted to rise up for such a time as this. 

I am also excited at the possibilities that this accomplishment opens up for all people who have unparalleled determination, vision, self-motivation and humility to lead in any capacity.

However - I am authentically disappointed by statements and the tone that the Christian community is taking with our new president.  From the K-Love  (Christian radio station that I support financially) marathon of prayer where every other caller points out how much President Obama needs God's wisdom to the chorus of Facebook disses by many in my network - I am shocked, disappointed and offended by the the insinuation.  The insinuation that President Barack Obama needs more prayer than any other President in the past.   I do not recall this outpouring of prayer support for our outgoing President in 2000 or 2004 after the elections. Especially in 2004 with the nation sorely divided and  the issues we faced as it related to the Iraq invasion. So then, why does the community rise up in a tone of discontent and patronizing prayer support to hide its true feelings?

While many in the Christian community are still smarting from the defeat of John McCain  or better stated -  the lack of candidates that truly represented their views, it is clear that suddenly the venomous rhetoric that permeated the campaign has turned into a false outpouring of prayer support.

It sort of reminds me of when we gossip in church communities about people's hurts in the name of "praying for their needs." 

C'mon brothers and sisters - we must do better. If not us, then who?

Remember, the world has long abandoned looking to the church (us) to do the right thing in many issues as it relates to race and race relations in this country - which I do think plays a big part consciously and unconsciously in this discourse.  Fine - then admit it. Be real. If you are uncomfortable with this President because he is pro-life or WHATEVER - then say it - don't mask your true ill feelings with "let's pray for him".  Let's get out the core issues and discuss them and how we can rise up and make a real difference vs. a passive-aggressive posturing.

By the way - the answer to the abortion crisis is not in a presidential candidate or a law  - it's in the church stepping up in all communities (affluent and low-income alike as they abort their unborn equally)  and helping solve the core issue of the rampant sexual activity without love or commitment that often leads to abortion. But that is another post. Let's stay focused.

The biggest losers in all this is the next generation in our churches. We are displaying huge lack of grace in this moment that could really be used to unite the nation. The spreading of the vicious propaganda pre-election (I am referring to personal emails I received as well as a letter from Focus on the Family pro-McCain and filled with fear mongering and subtle hatred towards Senator Obama) to the insincere words and tone now is not uniting our country but further dividing it. Additionally - it adds to the insensitivity that the church already displays towards race relations and racial reconciliation in this country. WE SHOULD BE THE FIRST TO REACH ACROSS RACIAL LINES - I am not going to act like I said that - I am quoting my pastor Bill Hybels. This presidency offers us a huge opportunity to lead the country in a healthy constructive discussion about race and any other issues that are tough to discuss.

So - I am not above overreacting - see blog from Nov 23 - I am human and could be misinterpreting these people and their intent.  I will leave you with this.

We are called to not even be associated with something the looks evil. 

That said - Is this community sincerely wishing the best for our new leader and praying from a heart filled with grace and humility? 

If not - then we should start a new prayer marathon for ourselves.


  1. Denise-
    I am shocked by your post. I take the opposite approach to asking God to pray for our new President. I think he needs prayer--- power of prayer- by MANY. He is up against what could be the worst time in our countries history- most definitely our lifetime. Hence him needing more prayers than any other President, to me makes sense and I would feel that way no matter whom was taking office right now. Our country is in total turmoil! You know this is not an easy topic for me to comment on- as I was a McCain supporter. We have discussed this- hours upon hours- so I digress. What is wrong with prayer and the outpouring of praying for this man? I said to myself today--- this is a HUGE job for any man/woman.
    As for F.B. or your Christian channel, I do not know as we don't have many friend which cross-over and I don't listen to that radio station, but what I have seen and witnessed is high hopes and expectations for this man. I don't see this as racial issue- abortion issue- war issue- I see this as a president who has hell to work with and solve.
    I sense such cynicism in your blog tonight? Very atypical behavior for the ever-optimist I know you to be. It makes me wonder- did something else happen or enter you consciousness?

  2. Thanks Sophia for posting a response. You know I know where you stand and I appreciate your candor.

    I am specifically challenging something I have seen for months leading up to the election and now from the Christian community. So you could say this was built up frustration but I was praying and giving it time to settle and it did not. It got worse yesterday and leading up to yesterday.

    I agree he needs prayer and I take that very seriously. But I believe that our previous leaders needed prayer as well. Especially in 2004 and I did not see the groundswell of prayer support. It lends itself to a bigger conversation.

    I am still the ever optimist but there are times when I believe you just have to call it like you see it to be true to yourself and what you are thinking and feeling. Like I said - I could be wrong and I hope I am.

    Thanks again for the dialouge

  3. D-
    I have always thought ALL leaders needed prayer in their lives. Agree of disagree with GW- he was always asking for our prayers ... and always referring to the Lord's guidance. This was always, in my mind, in reference to war decisions- Barack will have the war and to compound the situation the blundering economy. HUGE job ahead of him. What I am now praying for is three-fold:

    A) Tthe American people give him a chance
    B) That he has it in his to make the right choices
    C) That this "change" he ran on, happens and happens quickly- although I never really could grasp what change Barack was referring to.

    What I found interesting yesterday, most interesting actually, was his eldest daughters comments to him. That as first African-American President he better do a great job. That really made me think hard about the issues at hand for him as first AAP.
    Time will tell....

  4. As always, your candor, enthusiasm and faith are inspiring.

  5. Bravo Denise! I appreciate what it took for you to write this. Always question....

  6. For me, prayer is a way of embracing and supporting the president who I didn't support in the political contest. He is my president and leader too, and I submit to his authority and ask God's protection and guidance.

    If there is a hidden message, it is across the political isle and is simply one of reconciliation. Broadcasting the message, "My guy one, and I'm praying for him, you should too." might not have been very gracious in '00 or '04 even though I was praying for President Bush as well.

    The people of faith on the right are coming off a series of losses and disappointment in what political power was able to achieve. So many of us were perhaps reminded our true citizenship is in heaven and our true hope is in Christ as you noted above. For me that has also renewed my commitment to prayer.

    Let's face it, we are an arrogant country that is enamored with itself and its power. We ALL really need to humble ourselves. At least I feel like I do.


  7. Thanks pew anonymous - I appreciate your viewpoint. I do agree with you as a country we are arrogant and we do need to humble ourselves.

    I also thank you for having the courage to respond to this - I know it was a difficult topic and I was hoping to hear from "the other" point of view. Thanks for tuning in.