Thursday, July 07, 2011

Washington DC pastor talks about "intentional praise" and faith, leading to a central paradox

On Sunday, July 3, a guest pastor at the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC, Dr. Sonya Neal Reeves, gave a sermon called “Intentional Praise”.

She noted the idea that “intentional praise” (or “intentional faith”) voluntarily enters an experience that “is not about you”, in the sense that Rick Warren (the pastor at President Obama’s Inauguration) often refers to.  It is not about what you have “earned” (as an Army buddy would have said, what “I could put in ‘The Proles’”), or how good you are as an individual. It is not about what you “deserve” in the usual sense of thinking about things tied to “The Economy.”  It is about a shared experience, whether through family, community, or faith. It is about shared vision.

There is a paradox in using the adjective “intentional”.  Not everything that matters is just about making a “choice” and following up on that, as important as that is (especially when it comes to matters like having children).  This seems like a moral paradox that lives at the very heart of living in freedom in a democracy.  It is a paradox that accompanies progressive initiatives for political and social equality.

The “intentional” part of this means, we still look for the “Real Rules” about what is expected of us, when we get beyond the “simpler” things that we can control, as important as these are.

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