just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

Born Again American

Published on 21/01/09
by randy

I’ve just witnessed the inauguration of our 44th President Obama. While his campaign captured our need to go for higher ground in eliminating racial, gender, age and economic prejudice, the ceremony today finally made some very distinctive moves that take us to higher thought from a deeper heart. The invocation by Rick Warren moved us to find God in each other and all things, a plea to honor our interconnectedness rather than our secular selfishness. Obama made a plea to those of all religious backgrounds to work in common sense for the common good. He recognized the need for inclusion, particularly from those of Islamic faith. Can we challenge ourselves to someday move beyond our religious prejudice to welcome a president of Islamic or Buddhist faith?  Or how about a president who makes no claim to a specific religion?  Will it take another forty years to move to complete inter faith tolerance?  He challenged us to go beyond the shallow debate of big government vs. small government to the more important question of efficacy. Is it a government that works? Perhaps the greatest leap was to invite all countries of the world to unite in respect to one another lest we all fall. He eloquently took us past the nationalistic pride that’s lead us to force our values on other nations. In short, the ceremony beautifully took us to that divine place where we challenge our racial, gender, economic, age, religious, and nationalistic prejudice.  This was revolutionary, yet most TV commentaries I reviewed had tunnel vision on the racial prejedice breakthrough.

The theme of today’s ceremony challenged us to expand our sense of belonging. It challenged us to participate in the stewardship and healing of ourselves, family, state, nation and planet. It recognized the need for us to seek to understand. We were asked to see how violence comes from forcing others to our belief system. It took us to the ancient wisdom found in the power of listening and diplomacy over military force.

From Aretha Franklin’s tear jerking rendition of My Country ‘tis of Thee, to the invocation, swearing in and benediction, this event has re-birthed my faith and confidence in the underlying foundations of the human species. It was a day to honor all, no matter what our differences. It was a day to stay from judgment of others, to aim to see the good and dismiss the negative. it was a day to move from victim thinking to participant thinking. As the poet Elisabeth Alexander so eloquently put us in touch with the now, with our present moment authenticity, far from our mental illusions feeding violence and separation, we once again came back to the core question, “Have I loved well?”  Yes, it seems the message was, “We are One”.

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