Forgiveness

“Earth is forgiveness school. I believe that’s why they brought us here, then left us without any owner’s manual.”  ~Anne Lamott

This fall we will be delving deeply into the theme of “Anger and Forgiveness.”  This topic will shape teaching and preaching in late September and October. In preparation for this series I was reading Anne Lamott, an author who writes often about the challenges and importance of forgiveness. Here are some things that she said on the topic in an interview with Salon.com.

“Forgiveness has become a pursuit more important to me than almost anything. Because.. it’s not my strong suit. I always joke that I wasn’t one of those Christians who was heavily into forgiveness – that I was the other kind…  But it’s so awful to be a person who doesn’t forgive…

…To forgive someone is the hardest work we do. I’ve had to be disciplined about it. Like meditation or in my spiritual journey, or exercise – hiking…  You never want to do any hard work – you just want to watch MSNBC and eat miniature Kit-Kats. Believe me, that’s what I’d prefer to do.  [But,] not forgiving makes you toxic. And then you really have very little to offer your family or the world or your audience, because you’re faking it.

[I often write]… about that predicament of that clenched, clutched feeling when we don’t forgive. And then that miracle of grace, like a spiritual WD-40, that gets into the very stuck, grinding places inside of us…

The more public I am, the more people I talk to, the more I realize that I’d been comparing my insides to people’s outsides. And people’s insides are all the same amount of screwed-up-idness … People are very hurt, they’re very scared for their families, they’re keening deep down for what happened to them as children. Sometimes with truly awful families, sometimes with a culture that only values beauty or fitting in … And people who were shunned by their families because of fundamentalism or because of who they loved. I find out everybody’s in the same boat. …People feel troubled and sad and overwhelmed by the amount of pain they’re carrying…

We’re all angry, no matter how sweet or Buddhist or Christian or tender-hearted we appear. We’re all angry. And we’ve got to deal with it at some point. And dealing with the grief and the anger and the lack of forgiveness is the way home.”

This fall we will be exploring more deeply the challenges and opportunities of forgiveness. Our series, Anger and Forgiveness in the Digital Age, will shape preaching and teaching in Palmer Hall  on September 27, October 4, and October 11.

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