The Chaplain’s Voice

ImageRev. Dr. Barry Black, Chaplain to the United States Senate, is following in the prophetic traditions of Daniel and Joseph: speaking truth to power from within.  Knowing that these prayers are being offered by him from the Senate floor each morning gives me tremendous hope.  I say “well done” to this, my professional colleague and spiritual brother.

These are his words, most of which were spoken in the context of prayer:

  • “Save us from the madness,”
  • “We acknowledge our transgressions, our shortcomings, our smugness, our selfishness and our pride,” he went on, his baritone voice filling the room. “Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable.”
  • “Remove from them that stubborn pride which imagines itself to be above and beyond criticism,” he said. “Forgive them the blunders they have committed.”
  • “I use a biblical perspective to decide my beliefs about various issues,” Mr. Black said in an interview in his office suite on the third floor of the Capitol. “Let’s just say I’m liberal on some and conservative on others.”
  • “I remember once talking about self-inflicted wounds — that captured the imagination of some of our lawmakers,” he said. “Remember, my prayer is the first thing they hear every day. I have the opportunity, really, to frame the day in a special way.”
  • “May they remember that all that is necessary for unintended catastrophic consequences is for good people to do nothing,” he said the day of the shutdown deadline.
  • “Unless you empower our lawmakers,” he prayed another day, “they can comprehend their duty but not perform it.”
  • “I see us playing a very dangerous game,” Mr. Black said as he sat in his office the other day. “It’s like the showdown at the O.K. Corral. Who’s going to blink first? So I can’t help but have some of this spill over into my prayer. Because you’re hoping that something will get through and that cooler heads will prevail.”

Click here to read the full article from the New York Times