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Get Ready For Annie

October 8, 2010

This past Tuesday, Stephen wrapped up our three-week Lunch Hour Book Study of Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory–it was a fascinating three week conversation in which we discussed childhood trauma, guilt, redemption, betrayal, and our human ideas of power versus Jesus’s sense of power. And tonight, Friday, Oct. 8 at 7 pm, we will screen “The Quiet American” a movie starring Michael Caine based on the Graham Greene novel of the same name. And thus we will conclude our nearly month-long dive into the world of Graham Greene.

And now for something completely different…

Next Tuesday, Oct. 12, at noon, we will begin a new three-week Lunch Hour Book Study on… Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies–the 1999 best-seller about the writer Lamott’s struggles to come to faith in the first place and to hang in there with faith in the second place. She probably could not be more different from Greene in the way that she expresses her struggles with faith, yet I think they actually have a fair bit in common in the way that they so openly and honestly engage in that struggle. Here’s a typical passage from Lamott’s book:

When they arrived, Abraham got his knife but finally an angel called to him from Heaven and told him that he had successfully shown his devotion to God. And the Lord had indeed provided a lamb, which was trapped in a thicket nearby.

In the interior silence that followed my understanding of this scene, I held my breath for as long as I could, sitting there under the fluorescent lights–and then I crossed over. I don’t know how else to put it or how and why I actively made, if not exactly a leap of faith, a lurch of faith… I left class believing–accepting–that there was a God…

I felt changed, and a little crazy. But though I was still like a stained and slightly buckled jigsaw puzzle with some pieces missing, now there were at least a few border pieces in place. One day I told my friends. And my closest Jewish friend clapped her hands to her cheeks, as she were a mother just told that her daughter had begun menstruating, and she went to tell the others.

She and her friends determined that I must be bat-mitzvahed…

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