Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nothing to add

One of the strange side-effects of getting some positive feedback on this blog (mixed with a decent sized ego) is a growing desire to post, and to make my thoughts and opinions known. But, what to do when I can't find anything new to say about an important event?

I'm watching the pre-inauguration on-line, and I'm truly taken by the historic nature of the event. Whatever you think about Bush, about Obama, about politics, the simple fact that a black man is becoming our president today is, in every sense of the words, awesome and extraordinary.

I can't imagine saying anything that hasn't been said, ad nauseum, in the past few weeks. So, I will instead just quote Pirkei Avot:

Rabbi Simeon ben Gamliel said: "I have been brought up all my life among the wise, and I have never found anything of more benefit to man than silence."


Stephe Bucholtz said...

Assuming you watched the Inauguration, what was your reaction to Warren's invocation. He started out fine, with a rational, inclusive tone. But he just couldn't help himself at the end and had to invoke the name of Jesus. Do you find this offensive, exclusionary, or have you become so used to this that you just shrug it off.

Rabbi Jason Rosenberg said...

I don't mind Warren invoking Jesus - mostly because that's what a Christian pastor will do. It's not fair to invite him, and then tell him not to be himself (I'm about 90% sure I agree with this, I'll admit. I do have a visceral, negative reaction to public, official invocations of Jesus).

To be fully honest, my biggest problem with Warren was how completely banal his invocation was. Not inspiring, not important, not in any way prayerful. Compare it with the Closing Benediction, or with Obama's speech, and it becomes pretty clear.

By the way, I'm totally of 2 minds about the "should Obama have invited him in the first place?" discussion. On the one hand, you can't be inclusive without inviting people with whom you disagree, sometimes vehemently. On the other hand, would I be so sanguine if Warren had compared Jews to sodomists, as he did homosexuals?


Stephen B. said...

I'm all for being inclusive and having discussions with people with whom you disagree. But for a significant, symbolic event such as this, I think you have to draw the line somewhere and I would have drawn it such that Warren would not have been invited to speak. For me, what puts him on the other side of the line is that his comments are so offensive to a segment of our population.

Jerry N-S said...

I would much prefer the complete removal of religious ceremony from the public business. It's too divisive. The fact that we have a gay-bashing huckster preacher on the one hand and a gay Episcopal bishop on the other isn't really a balance, though it doesn't hurt.

All that said, I thought Warren's folksy aw shuckin' stumble bumming 10 names for Jesus ain't I the clever one benediction was terrible. But that could have been guessed at by anyone who's ever seen him speak. About as inspiring as a nagging cough.