This full text seems to me the very genuine testimony of a man who was brought up as a nominal Christian, had a clear evangelical conversion experience, and has an ongoing relationship with God through Jesus Christ, but is also wary of some the certainties and arrogance of many evangelical and other Christians. In fact very like me in these ways. But I would express myself with more certainty than he does on some matters, such as that there really is a future hope for Christians.
I was struck most strongly by this part:
Do you pray often?
Uh, yeah, I guess I do.
Its’ not formal, me getting on my knees. I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I’m constantly asking myself questions about what I’m doing, why am I doing it. …
It’s interesting, the most powerful political moments for me come when I feel like my actions are aligned with a certain truth. I can feel it. When I’m talking to a group and I’m saying something truthful, I can feel a power that comes out of those statements that is different than when I’m just being glib or clever.
What’s that power? Is it the holy spirit? God?
Well, I think it’s the power of the recognition of God, or the recognition of a larger truth that is being shared between me and an audience.
That’s something you learn watching ministers, quite a bit. What they call the Holy Spirit. They want the Holy Spirit to come down before they’re preaching, right? Not to try to intellectualize it but what I see is there are moments that happen within a sermon where the minister gets out of his ego and is speaking from a deeper source. And it’s powerful.
There are also times when you can see the ego getting in the way. Where the minister is performing and clearly straining for applause or an Amen. And those are distinct moments. I think those former moments are sacred.
It seems here that Obama is attributing the power in his speeches, when he is not “just being glib or clever”, to the Holy Spirit, in the same way as the Holy Spirit is behind powerful sermons. In other words, he is claiming that his speeches are prophetic – not in the predictive sense underlying what I wrote concerning the prophecy about Sarah Palin, but in the more fundamental sense that prophecy is the Holy Spirit speaking through human beings.
The USA and the world certainly needs a prophetic President, one who spends time regularly in “an ongoing conversation with God” and follows the leading of the Holy Spirit not just in speeches but also in every decision and action. It seems that in Barack Obama we have the genuine article in these respects. Let’s hope and pray that he is able to keep this up through all the pressures of the post he is about to take up.