From an Anne Lamott Facebook post in which she exhorts us to practice “…love force. Mercy force. Un-negotiated compassion force…” in response to recent horrific events:
“Jesus didn’t ask the blind man what he was going to look at after He restored the man’s sight. He just gave hope and sight; He just healed.”
I think she’s right, and I appreciate her drawing attention to a wonderful point.
I’m really bad, I know, but I wonder if that’s the same mentality behind free Wi-Fi at Baptist retreat centers.
“We’re just going to give you free Wi-Fi and not ask what you’re going to look at.”
Surprise—it’s not the same mentality. I once tried to finish a freelance column on beer at a Baptist retreat center, and a few years later at the same place I was trying to do some freelance editing work on articles about marijuana policies in the U.S. I am here to report some web browsing was blocked. And that’s within the rights of the center’s administrators.
Like I said, I’m bad, but on a better note, you can read the entirety of Lamott’s Facebook post—which reads like a short newspaper column, a cool use of Facebook for some authors—here:
Posted in Christian Humanism, Jesus, writers
Tagged Anne Lamott, Baptists, compassion, exhortation, Facebook, healing, Jesus, love, mercy, writers
Margaret Evans, writer and editorial assistant to the late novelist Pat Conroy, within her column “That’s So Conroy:”
Did you know Pat had lately become enamored of fantasy fiction? He was fanatical about George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” series, and compared Martin to Shakespeare. He had also discovered C.S. Lewis late in life, and was so enthusiastic about him – and his friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien – that he ran the idea by me, about a year ago, of getting a group together to travel to an Inklings weekend in Black Mountain, NC. (How I wish we’d done it.)
You might not know that Pat was very interested in God. Though he didn’t go to church much, he still considered himself Catholic, and he wrestled mightily. During our chats about the Inklings, he once told me he wished he had a writers’ group like that of his own. “Wouldn’t it be great?” he said. “For those guys, the question of God was always on the table. Maybe you struggled with the idea of God. Maybe you rejected it altogether. But the question was always on the table. It mattered, and it mattered a lot. So many writers I know today don’t even address the question. They’re not even God-curious. I still think that’s the difference between a great writer and a merely good writer. Great writers – whether they’re believers or not – are God-haunted.”
Pat Conroy was God-haunted. Maybe you didn’t know….
While out walking in the Cypress Wetlands last week – thinking about Pat, and how he adored this season – a cardinal zoomed across my path at warp speed, eye level, so close to my face I felt the wind on my cheek and heard its whoosh. His feathers may even have brushed my sunglasses; I’m still not sure. It was all so swift and sudden, so frightening and wondrous, I was left shaking as I watched the red bird disappear into the rookery.
They say a cardinal encounter is a visitation from a loved one who has passed….
Posted in Christian Humanism, Humanities, The Inklings, writers
Tagged C.S. Lewis, Catholics, God, J.R.R. Tolkien, Margaret Evans, Pat Conroy, The Inklings, writers
In her book Absence of Mind, in the essay “The Strange History of Altruism,” Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Marilynne Robinson reviews some of the popular books about science. In the excerpt that follows, she makes an interesting observation about the consequences of two outlooks. I’m guessing most of my readers will agree with her point of view, but even those who won’t agree could see something valuable in her take:
“The comparison that is salient here is between the accidental and the intentional in terms of their consequences for the interpretation of anything. In the course of my reading, I have come to the conclusion that the random, the accidental, have a strong attraction for many writers because they simplify by delimiting. Why is there something rather than nothing? Accident. Accident narrows the range of appropriate strategies of interpretation, while intention very much broadens it. Accident closes on itself, while intention implies that, in and beyond any particular fact or circumstance, there is vastly more to be understood. Intention is implicitly communicative, because an actor is described in any intentional act. Why is the human brain the most complex object known to exist in the universe? Because the elaborations of the mammalian brain that promoted the survival of the organism overshot the mark in our case. Or because it is intrinsic to our role in the universe as thinkers and perceivers, participants in a singular capacity for wonder as well as for comprehension.”
Food for thought.
Meanwhile, Robinson has written an interesting analysis of Donald Trump for the Guardian.
Marilynne Robinson on ‘the felt life of the mind’ and beauty and strangeness
Marilynne Robinson’s Calvinism is an alternative to The Gospel Coalition’s Calvinism
Posted in books, Christian Humanism, humanism, Humanities, Religious Humanism
Tagged Absence of Mind, altruism, books, Calvinists, essays, faith, interpretation, Marilynne Robinson, origins, perception, universe, wonder, writers
Acclaimed author Walter Isaacson on the late, great writer Walker Percy:
“I had a friend of the family, an uncle of a friend, Walker Percy…
“He was a kindly gentleman. From his face you could tell he had known despair, but his eyes still smiled. And he had a lightly worn grace to him….
“He would say that two types of people came out of Louisiana, preachers and storytellers. He said, ‘For God’s sake, be a storyteller. The world’s got too many preachers.’
“He thought that too many journalists, and writers in general, feel they have to preach. He said it was best to do it the way the best parts of the Bible do, by telling a wonderful tale, and people will get the message on their own.”
I realize I’ve been guilty of preaching, too.
Posted in Christian Humanism, Humanities, literature, storytelling, Walker Percy, writers
Tagged Bible, journalists, preachers, storyteller, Walker Percy, Walter Isaacson, writers
“Writing is a concentrated form of thinking. I don’t know what I think about certain subjects, even today, until I sit down and try to write about them.”
via Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 135, Don DeLillo