Blackburn Cathedral canon's Barack Obama mission

Canon Chris Chivers

Canon Chris Chivers

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Education reporter

A CATHEDRAL canon is travelling to Barack Obama’s inauguration to discover the new president’s effect on people of faith.

Following a request from the BBC for him to report on the momentous event, Canon Chris Chivers will set off on Monday January 12 to visit cities including Boston, New York and Philadelphia.

He will attempt to discover the views of ordinary Americans before covering the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday January 20.

A few hours after the ceremony Blackburn Cathedral's Canon Chancellor will broadcast his experiences on BBC Radio 4.

He is also covering the inauguration for South African newspaper the Cape Times.

A regular contributer to the Guardian and Independent, he became involved with journalism while in South Africa in 1999. He said: “I became intrigued with journalists there who had seen many horrors. I’ve sort of moonlighted as a journalist ever since, and loved doing it.

Although Obama is the first US president to have a non-religious upbringing, Canon Chivers believes he inspires faith.

He said: “Of course it’s significant that he’s the first black president but I think it is far more important that he has worked at the bottom with grass roots communities.

“His father was an atheist and his mother, an anthropologist, studied religion but was not a believer herself.

“He only came to faith much later in his life when he saw how it impacted on black communities at the bottom of the pile and said ‘there must be something in this’.

“During the election his whole approach was based on faith.

”It’s the source of his message ‘yes we can’. His whole outlook is using that faith to solve problems many see as impossible to solve.”

Canon Chivers said Obama had ‘doing faith like jazz’ approach.

He said: “It’s the improvised faith of my generation.

“We tend to look at faith, decide which parts we accept and make our own and also decide which parts we cannot use.”

Canon Chivers is hosting a lecture on the subject following his return at Blackburn Cathedral.

The talk, entitled Yes We Can: Doing faith like jazz in the age of Obama, takes place on Wednesday January 28 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

His report on the inauguration can be heard on BBC Radio 4 at 9.45am on Wednesday January 21.

Comments (2)

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2:30pm Thu 18 Dec 08

Ian_G says...

“He only came to faith much later in his life when he saw how it impacted on black communities at the bottom of the pile and said ‘there must be something in this'"

Read into this - realised that he could only achieve high office in America if he was a religious man.

A very cynical view but no person with a lack of faith would EVER be voted into power in the US. Isn't it convenient that he 'found' faith when his career demanded it?
“He only came to faith much later in his life when he saw how it impacted on black communities at the bottom of the pile and said ‘there must be something in this'" Read into this - realised that he could only achieve high office in America if he was a religious man. A very cynical view but no person with a lack of faith would EVER be voted into power in the US. Isn't it convenient that he 'found' faith when his career demanded it? Ian_G
  • Score: 0

8:20pm Thu 18 Dec 08

karolgadge says...

The fact that Canon Chivers writes for the Guardian and Independent is a dead giveaway.
The notion of 'faith' as inspired by the liberal bien pensants who publish and read these newspapers is one that many Christians will fail to recognise.
I hope that Canon Chivers will not simply resort to blessing the President-elect and intoning the usual liberal mantras that here is a man of 'true tolerant faith' but will grasp the nettle of serious - and controversial - analysis. What are his views on abortion for example? How will his foreign policy differ from George Bush? Why is his administration already beginning to look like a tired collection of grey-faced Democrat Party hacks with dubious track records?
I await his report with great interest.
The fact that Canon Chivers writes for the Guardian and Independent is a dead giveaway. The notion of 'faith' as inspired by the liberal bien pensants who publish and read these newspapers is one that many Christians will fail to recognise. I hope that Canon Chivers will not simply resort to blessing the President-elect and intoning the usual liberal mantras that here is a man of 'true tolerant faith' but will grasp the nettle of serious - and controversial - analysis. What are his views on abortion for example? How will his foreign policy differ from George Bush? Why is his administration already beginning to look like a tired collection of grey-faced Democrat Party hacks with dubious track records? I await his report with great interest. karolgadge
  • Score: 0
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