Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Obama Selects Pastor Warren and Reconciliation

President-Elect Barack Obama has come under fire for selecting Pastor Rick Warren (founding pastor of California's Saddleback Church and author of the Purpose Driven Life books) to give the invocation at his inauguration. The protest comes from people who see Christians as hate-filled opponents of gays following California's Proposition 8 (which eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry in California) and see the pastor's participation in the Jan. 20 inauguration as some sort of betrayal of the liberal agenda because Warren publicly has cited the bible's inclusion of homosexuality as a sin.

Is it really betrayal when an incoming president of the United States strives to include the viewpoint and belief of a large number of citizens in the country he serves? Is it really wrong for him to say "there is another opinion and it deserves respect"? Could it be that he simply is leading in the American way which allows for an open exchange of ideas and for people to worship without fear of oppression? I think asking Warren to be a part of the inauguration ceremonies was one way for Mr. Obama to try to bring reconciliation to a nation becoming more polarized by issues of individual rights and religion every day. For more information about this, check out Boston Globe Religion Reporter Michael Paulson's column at http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles_of_faith/2008/12/rick_warren_lov.html

Being a Christian does not mean that you hate homosexuals or that you believe God hates them. Being a Christian means that Jesus comes first and that you follow His will in all things (and that includes loving your neighbor as yourself).

This holiday, before you write someone off as a "hater" and as someone whose opinion should be censored just because they don't agree with you, think about the possibility that YOU are wrong about that. Find the gifts of mercy and compassion this holiday season and let's see whether we can discover some reconciliation under the tree.

Christmas Brings Reconciliation
A devotion By Rick Warren

"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:13-14 (NIV)

Peace on earth and good will toward men – that’s reconciliation.

What is reconciliation? It’s when a broken relationship is restored. When a boyfriend and girlfriend or a husband and wife get back together, there’s reconciliation. When a father and son restore peace between each other, there’s reconciliation.

Where do you need peace in your life this Christmas? That’s what Christmas is all about – peace on earth, good will toward men. I asked people, “Where would you like to see peace?” These are the answers I got:

· “I’d like to see peace in the broken families.”

· “I’d love to see peace in politics.”

· “With each other.”

· “In my heart.”

· “I’d like to see it at home.”

· “I’d like to see peace in my life.”

· “Peace? Right in this country of ours.”

· “Everywhere!”

Everywhere! Is it realistic to have peace everywhere? Isn’t it just a pipe dream to hope for peace on earth, good will toward men? There will never be peace in the world until there is peace in nations. And there will never be peace in nations until there is peace in communities.

And there will never be peace in communities until there is peace in families. And there will never be peace in families until there is peace in individuals. And there will never be peace in individuals until we invite the Prince of Peace – Jesus – to reign in our hearts.

© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
For other devotions from Purpose Driven Life, go to

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Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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