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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Anne Lamott: Funnier Than Phyllis Diller But Not As Pretty (V)

The Blessings of “Untitled”
I’m skipping ahead to chapter 13 of Lamott’s book because the 12th chapter was drab, sub-par, and downright boring. Chapter 13 isn’t a lot better, but it does offer both comic relief as well as concern for what the ECM is actually willing to tolerate as “kosher” in the Christian community.
It appears that 50-something Lamott fairly recently attended a wedding with a bunch of women in their 20s and 30s. She noticed that gravity was taking its toll on her. Young people don’t think about these things very much. They still have the laws of physics on their side. I was over at my health club (L.A. Fitness) not too long ago and just such a young babe was discussing her intention to get a tattoo with her personal trainer, Studly Steroid. His response was an enthusiastic, “Go for it!” Since I was in very close proximity I turned to the young woman and offered this: “Just remember that if you get a tattoo of Rhode Island, by the time you get to be my age it will become Texas.” That stopped them both. Pause and think, reflect. Actions have consequences.
Anyway, Lamott concluded that aging is not all that bad and that it beats the alternative of some of her friends who died of AIDS and breast cancer. She explains, “I became more successful in my forties, but that pales in comparison with the other gifts of my current decade—how kind to myself I have become, what a wonderful, tender wife I am to myself, what a loving companion.”[1] Tell me, Narcissus, is there someone else?
Her philosophy of life is to wish to swim more unashamedly, make more mistakes, space out more, and to rest.[2] I’m not certain about all of her desires, but if this latest book is about “spacing out” she hit a homerun. You can become jaded as you get older—unless you’re a guy and then you simply morph into a curmudgeon—and apparently Ms. Lamott has been in her share of “toxic relationships.” She comments, “But I’d rather not ever be in a couple, or ever get l**d again than be in a toxic relationship.”[3] Maybe your church could invite her to come and speak to the young women about how to be a Titus 2 woman, just ask her to tone down the language a little.
Alas, Ms. Lamott caved on the relationship thing and informs us that she only spent a few years celibate. Good advice for the Christian community: stay celibate as long as you can. But then the Fickle Finger of Fate—or whatever—intervened and Ms. Lamott met a kind, artistic, handsome man, who was the poster boy for Fornicators Anonymous. In a jocular vein Ms. Lamott tells us that they both hold their lower backs when they climb out of bed. Understandably, fornication is a relative term for the postmodern. The only part of the anatomy that seems to “get it” is the lower back. Lamott and the kind, artistic, handsome man merely laugh and hand each other an Advil.[4]At the end of this short jaunt, you’re relieved that there was no title for this chapter. Whereas Ms. Lamott celebrates her immorality with the kind, artistic, handsome fornicator I’m reminded of some sagacious words from my grandfather. When I was twelve, he said to me, “Boy, there’s no fool like an old fool.”
[1] Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, (NY: Riverhead Books, 2005), p. 173.
[2] Ibid., 174.
[3] Ibid., 175.
[4][4] Ibid.


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