01 September 2005

reading notes: Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

This is the first book I've read by Anne Lamott, and I have to say that she's hilarious. Hands down, no doubt about it. She cracks me up. I definitely recommend this book!

It's more of a stream of consciousness roughly organized than a book that has an overarching plot or message. It's funny and has a lot of great quotations, which provoked an earlier blog. But it's not tightly constructed witha strong directional format. Her narrative sort of meanders through a landscape, loosely connecting interesting moments and illuminating them.

Anyway, the wisdom bits:
  • "if the devil can't get you to sin , he'll keep you busy"
  • on Sunday School: "We did not exclude anyone, because Jesus didn't. ... On bad days, I could not imagine what he had been thinking."
  • "But you don't always get what you want, you get what you get. You want to protect your child from pain, and what you get instead is life, and grace."
  • On prisons: "...years ago, when you could still believe in caring for prisoners without being accused of being soft on crime. Jesus was soft on crime. He'd never be elected anything."
  • "Teenagers who do not go to church are adored by God, but they don't get to meet some of the people who love God back. Learning to love back is the hardest part of being alive."
  • "I'm all for bribery when it's for a good cause. I think God does a lot of bait-and-switch. Peter catches a boatload of fish, then gets to become a disciple. We're herd animals, horse-people, and sometimes a bright orange carrot is the only thing that will get us to move."
  • "Building a wedding is a recipe for muddle -- the bridal party, the families, the guests, the minister, the vows, the food. You're attempting to make something beautiful out of unruly and unpredictable elements -- the weather the nuttier relatives, the rivalries, disorders, and dreams. Out of mostly old neurotic family and friends, you hope to create something harmonious. You do so as an act of faith, hoping that for a brief period of time, the love and commitment of two people will unite everyone; and it will sort of work."
  • "I remembered something Father Tom had told me -- that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns."
  • on skiing: "I tend to fall fairly often, and flounder getting up, but I enjoy the part between the spills, humiliations, and abject despair -- sort of like real life."
  • on mothering her son: "I am not here to be his friend. I'm here to be me, which is taking a great deal longer than I had hoped, and I am here to raise him to be a person of integrity and joy. Besides, the kid you know at home is only a facet of the child who lives in the world."
  • "...what parents want is for their children to do well in their field, to make them look good, and maybe also to assemble a tasteful fortune. But that is not your problem. Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued."

oh, I could go on forever. But this is enough. Just read the book. There's more where this came from, I promise.