Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Anne Lamott Is a Genius, Part Two: Or, Why Who We Vote For Doesn't Matter

Further thoughts from Anne Lamott's Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, this time on a Christian's relation to a president. I had heard ahead of time how much of this book was a rant on George W. Bush, but it still caught me off guard. Today, however, roughly half of the country will feel about Barack Obama or John McCain similarly to how L. feels about W. So we might as well spare ourselves some despair and ennui, and give some thought to some of the genius's more humble thoughts:

I know the world is loved by God, as are all of its people, but it is much easier to believe that God hates or disapproves of or punishes the same people I do, because these thoughts are what is going on inside me much of the time. . . .

To be honest, I am never going to get anywhere with this president. But Jesus kept harping on forgiveness and loving one's enemies, so I decided to try. WHy couldn't Jesus comand us to obsess about everything, to try to control and manipulate people, to try not to breathe at all, or to pay attention, stomp away to brood when people annoy us, and then eat a big bag of Hershey's Kisses in bed?

Maybe in some translations, he does. . . .

Loving your enemies was nonnegotiable. It meant trying to respect them, it meant identifying with their humanity and weaknesses. It didn't mean unconditional acceptance of their crazy behavior. They were still accountable for the atrocities they'd perpetrated, as you were accountable for yours. But you worked at doing better, at loving them, for the profoundest spiritual reason: You were trying not to make things worse.

Day 1 went pretty well. All things considered.


My friend Lisa Rieck has posted some ideas for how to pray for the new president at Strangely Dim. I encourage you to check them out. Thank you, and God bless the United States of America.

1 comment:

Pete Juvinall said...

Great point. I for one am hoping that the many undercurrents of distrust in this election will start to get talked about after tomorrow and that Christians can be agents of transformation in our culture. It's going to be an interesting next 4 years...