Sunday, January 18, 2009

Prayer at the Inaugural Concert

+Gene Robinson's Prayer for President-elect Barack Obama
A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack Obama
By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire
Opening Inaugural EventLincoln Memorial, Washington, DCJanuary 18, 2009

Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…
Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.

Posted by Jim Naughton on January 18, 2009 2:22 PM

Saturday, January 10, 2009

GOEs - They're Finished!!

Here's my window of support and the final card that says "Celebrate. You're Done! I am so grateful for all of the gifts, notes, kindness, thoughts, prayers and support that was shown to me and to all my classmates during our week of GOEs.

This was an intense week of writing and answering questions and worship and collegiality among my classmates. I feel good about the work and responses I submitted. Time will tell how the 'readers' evaluate my responses. No matter the grades I was reminded that I am still a beloved child of God.

Thanks be to God!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

GOEs - Six Down, One to Go!

By tomorrow at 12:30 PM GOEs will be over! This has been an incredible week and the outpouring of support from so many people has been amazing.

The questions could have been much more difficult and the experience that much more painful. As it was, I feel like the questions were reasonable, at least so far! Church History is tomorrow morning. History is not my strong suit, but I'll do my best as I have with all of my responses.

Time will tell if my responses score a 4, 3, 2 or 1. The top 2 are 'passing grades' and the later 2 are 'not passing grades.' The 'grades' should come out in late February or March. But for now, I'm reveling in the fact that I've almost finished this week of comprehensive examinations! YIPPEE!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

This is my room in the guest house at seminary where I have moved my books in order to take the General Ordination Exams (GOEs). I am pretty comfortable except for the desk chair. It is really not comfortable for a 3 1/2 hour exam, but the pillow makes it a little better. I suppose I could have moved my office chair from home, but it took all my strength to carry my suitcase up to the second floor!!

Today, Weds, is a day of rest from GOEs. I'm more than 1/2 way thru the process of comprehensive exams that every senior seminarian must experience in the United States! On Monday the questions were about 1. Holy Scripture and 2. Theology & Mission. Tuesday's questions were about 3. Contemporary Society and 4. Liturgy. Tomorrow's questions are about 5. Ethics and 6. Practice of Ministry and Friday's question is on 7. Church History.

The most amazing aspect of GOEs is the support that we all have received in terms of emails, notes on Facebook, care packages, baked goods and prayer partners. My prayer partner, who is traveling in Jerusalem with other students from seminary, even put a prayer in the Wall this week. Most awesome!!

Speaking of support, here's just a small sample of what I've received! And notice the balloons on the bed (above)!! Thanks everyone!!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

General Ordination Exams

For more than 3 years, ever since my Bishop made me a postulant, I have lived in anticipation of GOEs - General Ordination Exams. These are the comprehensive exams every Episcopal seminarian in the United States must take during their senior year. There are 7 sets or exams ranging from Holy Scripture to Church History. For some tests seminarians may only use limited resources, i.e. Bible and Book of Common Prayer, or open resources, i.e. anything your heart desires. For more information check out

The 2009 General Ordination Exams started today! The first exam was available at 9AM and was on Holy Scripture with limited resources - Bible & BCP. The 3-page answer to needed to be submitted by 12:30PM. Then at 1:30 PM the second exam was available and was on Christian Theology with open resources due by 5:00 PM. I am taking the exam in a guest room at the seminary where I moved all of my books yesterday. It's comfortable to be on campus and nice to be with my classmates during lunch and our breaks.

We are also gathering in the chapel after the last exam of the day to share Eucharist together. It's a special time.

The juniors and middlers are taking good care of us, and a whole cloud of witnesses are keeping us in their thoughts and prayers. The GOEs are a requirement that have to be faced, and with the love and support of family and friends and complete strangers I am confident that "All Will Be Well." Thank you everyone!