Barack Obama, and the Triumph of Faith, Hope and Love

November 4, 2008


Today Barack Obama rewrote the leadership text books. Throughout his campaign he has consistently reminded us of the power of the charismatic leader to inspire, to provide hope, to create a shared belief in the possibilities for change

Barack Obama won a brilliantly executed election campaign. His appeal was for change. For a better and nobler future for the people of America. The voters of America have voted for that future. They have voted for a dream. They could have voted for another dream. They could have been attracted in sufficient numbers to the appeal of a different kind of leader, who also claimed to be offering his country change.

The mysteries of belief and change

I have struggled with the mystery of belief from my early years. I attended a little chapel in South Wales, a place of worship for those who believed themselves to be part of the United Reform movement.

We had left behind most (but not all) of the traditions of hell-fire preaching, and pastors judged by the length, noise and fury of their sermons. Some of the modernisers brought with them their New English Bibles, and explained to us that scholarship had given more precise translations of the Bible into English, and even into Welsh.

There abideth these three

The King James version had taught as revealed truth that ‘there abideth these three, faith, hope and charity’. Now we were told to believe in ‘faith, hope and love … and the greatest of these is love’. Change of words, but no change of meaning. The mystery of change.

Americans today are facing a version of the mysteries of change. It is a time where uncertainties often call forth a charismatic leader. In its ancient or in its modern form, it is a story we will be hearing again from the next President of The United States.