[MELISSA] BLOCK: Have you been finding inspiration in the words of other invocations that were delivered?
Bishop ROBINSON: Actually, I’ve mostly found caution in the words of others. I’ve actually read back over the inaugural prayers of the last 30 or 40 years and frankly, I’ve been shocked at how aggressively Christian they are. And my intention is not to invoke the name of Jesus, but to make this a prayer for Christians and non-Christians alike.
Although I hold the Scripture to be the word of God, you know, those Scriptures are holy to me and to Jews and Christians. But to many other faith traditions – they have their own sacred texts. And so, rather than insert that and really exclude them from the prayer by doing so, I want this to be a prayer to the God of our many understandings, and a prayer that all people of faith can join me in.
BLOCK: The God of our many understandings.
Bishop ROBINSON: Yes. You know, I was in treatment for alcoholism three years ago and am grateful to be sober today. And one of the things that I’ve learned in 12-step programs is this phrase, the God of my understanding. It allows people to pray to a God of really, many understandings, and let’s face it, each one of us has a different understanding of God. No one of us can fully understand God or else God wouldn’t be God.
BLOCK: I’m not sure that that God of many understandings has ever been invoked in an inauguration before.
Bishop ROBINSON: Well, I’ve done a lot of things for the first time in my life, and I will be proud to do this one.
—From NPR’s All Things Considered on January 13, 2009 (the audio link for which was earlier posted on the blog here)
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.