I’ve just finished the second draft of a sermon that makes use of a prayer attributed to Augustine of Hippo, the great Western theologian. This prayer is included in the letter from the stated clerk of our Presbyterian General Assembly, Gradye Parsons, to President-elect Barack Obama. Our stated clerk sends such a letter to each President-elect as he (so far, he) prepares for inauguration. Parsons’ letter may be read on Presbyterian News Service here:
The first time I wrote this post, I took up some arguments I have with Augustine or, perhaps more accurately, with developments from Augustine through John Calvin and on through my Reformed Tradition (including the Presbyterian churches). Arguing with Augustine is fine, but I withdrew the post because contention with a great theologian, expressed so briefly as though in passing, comes much too close for my comfort to seeming just a cheap shot, no matter how many years of wrestling lie behind it.
Besides, I want to focus on the tensions of this season in its 2008 realities. We are calling for joyous celebration of life and hope in a time of recession, a season of growing apprehension and doubt about the future. Insecurity and fear underlie all our conversations, meetings,