A letter and a prayer for President Obama
Instinct and Intellect
Every room I have ever been in with you was a much easier room for your presence. It's rare to meet a person like you, where intellect and intuition make such a perfect rhyme. Your intuition tells you that the well-being of the American people, spiritually as well as physically, is connected with America?s role in the world. I know you know that the prosperity of your fellow Americans, though hard-fought, is less fulfilling knowing there is so much more that can be done to alleviate poverty and suffering in the developing world.
You know that less than 1 percent of government income as a contribution from the world?s richest economy to the world?s poorest is not a fair tithe?even in times like these?which is why you have promised to double foreign assistance. As with our own personal sojourn, so it is with country and community: We discover who we are in service to others.
I know your intellect?fashioned in the halls of Harvard and on the floor of the United States Senate?has weighed up the evidence on how effective American tax dollars are when converted into smart, targeted, focused aid. Putting children into school where they can think freely of freedom. Giving farmers on the parched land seed varieties that double the size of their crop yields. Giving mothers 20 cent immunizations to protect their newborns from the deadly virus that they pass on through childbirth.
I know your intellect has taken in the data and seen the analysis on the transformative power of effective aid in places where the U.S. flag is currently not smiled at. I know you know how much cheaper it is to make friends of potential enemies than to defend yourself at a later date. I know you know all this stuff.
My prayer for you is that your instinct and intellect stay in harmony in the difficult months and triumphant years ahead.
Bono is lead singer of U2 and co-founder of The ONE Campaign.
A Prayer for a New President and a New America
by SHANE CLAIBORNE
God of love, grace, and hope, thank you for creating a perfect world. Forgive us for the mess we have made of it. Forgive us for the groaning of creation, for the millions who die of hunger and curable diseases, for warehousing people in prisons and using them for labor, for the scandal of billions wasted in war, for an economy that mirrors the seven deadly sins, for the violence and greed in our own hearts. Save us from ourselves.
Give us the courage to bless the poor in a world that blesses the middle class, to bless the meek in a world that admires aggression, to bless the hungry in a world that feeds the already fed, to bless the merciful in a world that shows no mercy on evildoers, to bless the pure in heart in a world of clutter and noise, to bless the peacemakers in a world that baptizes bombs.
Give us imagination that we might not conform to the patterns of this world, that we might shatter indifference and interrupt injustice with grace, that we might choose the cross over the sword, that we might be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves, that we might consider the lilies and sparrows as they shame Wall Street?s splendor, that we might choose the dream of God over the dreams of nations, that we might cling to the God who so loved the world, not just America, that we might allow our Jesus to change America rather than America to change our Jesus.
Shane Claiborne is a founding partner of The Simple Way, a radical faith community in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. He is the co-author, with Chris Haw, of Jesus for President.