Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott on…

Mother’s Day:
Note to editor friends: it is Mother’s Day, not Mothers’ Day, because the day was born in the US, and in an era when mothers were called ‘Mother’ not ‘Mom’. Therefore it was ‘Mother[her name]’s Day’.

As an engaging, accessible but rebellious writer and thinker, Anne Lamott can do no wrong in my eyes. For writers of experience and novices, I highly recommend her book on writing ‘Bird By Bird’.

Abortion: LA Times.
In the charged debate over abortion, issues get collapsed on onto the other, with emotions, moral beliefs and cultural and structural norms mixed together into some kind of quicksand for all involved.

I often get frustrated at fellow feminists who presume that all Christianity is the 1960s-christian-brothers variety or the intolerant US conservative right, whereas I had almost no experience of Christianity that was not just, kind and loving until I was well into my twenties.

My beliefs saw no incongruity in Tim Costello becoming Mayor of St Kilda in order to empower the poor and vulnerable people who lived there, precariously, although at  the time I recall that more conservative Christians – those who kept to their corner of the world which consisted of preaching, singing, educating and treating the sick, and without whom the western world would have ground to a halt – disagreed about religion having a presence in politics.

And in my relative innocence I wondered why, as Jesus was so clearly a narky, manky, skinky, punk of a guy, who audaciously refused to shun the sick and the disempowered and aimed his anger at the privileged, the church could not get with the program and ordain Peter Garrett.

I have found it hard to explain to my imaginary friends (the ones I talk to when muttering dark thoughts – we all have them) that thinking abortion is not wrong does not make me a wrong Christian. I can easily be a Christian and believe that abortion is not wrong. In fact, it seemed less incongruous to have these two beliefs combined than to believe that one gender or race in society deserves more health and wealth than the other. Jesus turned over the money-lenders’ tables, not the physicians. The only thing he did to the physicians was to remind them to heal themselves. Which was kind of nice of him, don’t you think?

If, as the central meaning of Christian belief says, Christ died so that we needed no longer to suffer, why would he agree to suffering being delivered to and of half the population, that could be avoided? Would he not also want us to not have testicular cancers cut out? What about growths and extra testicles?

Thank you again, Anne Lamott. You managed to articulate a thought I had not managed to articulate to myself, mostly because I don’t know a lot (actually, ANY) feminist Christians. (Although I know there are plenty of them).

Anne describes a meeting at a liberal Christian forum on politics and faith:

“I sat there simmering, like a samovar; nice Jesusy me. The moderator turned to me and asked quietly if I would like to respond. I did: I wanted to respond by pushing over our table.”

OK. It is OK to be angry. Just like that young punk, Jesus.

“[…] As a Christian and a feminist, the most important message I can carry and fight for is the sacredness of each human life, and reproductive rights for all women is a crucial part of that: It is a moral necessity that we not be forced to bring children into the world for whom we cannot be responsible and adoring and present. We must not inflict life on children who will be resented; we must not inflict unwanted children on society.”

We must love the ones who are already here. Like Tim Costello did when he fought for St Kilda.

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