December 6th, 2012

goldsworthy - snake

Anne Lamott

I saw Anne Lamott speak last night at St Andrews Presbyterian Church in Marin City.  If you've read her latest books, you'll know that is the church that contains the people that saved her life.  The pastor was there to introduce her, and the choir, and they sang for us, and we all sang, and clapped, and chanted "Amen" and "Hallelujah".   it was beautiful, as is Annie.

The church was full, though there are only about 25 loyal attendees of the church, which surprised me. I would have thought her books would have brought people in, but this church is truly a Christian church, and the people live the words of service.  There is work involved, commitment.  You commit to support.  It was lovely to see the people who've "saved" Annie, and to sing with them.   It must have been something for them to hear her gratitude so openly and generously expressed.  It's one thing to read her words, and another to hear her say them, to be there as she thanks the people who were, and are there for her.  It was an emotional night.  

Annie says this is a church of true Christians on the order of Martin Luther King Jr. and Dorothy Day.  She said these are not Sarah Palin Christians, who give the word a bad name.  I was surprised to learn that her books are banned in Christian book stores.  

Her latest book is Help, Thanks, Wow!   She said she was interviewed by someone last week, who read the title as "Help, Thanks, Whoa," and that works too.

She writes that we pray because it changes us.  We do for others because it helps us, and we notice and do small things each day, and those small things, noticed by others, or not,  can change your day, and spread, and "this will be quantum".  

Her grandson was there quietly playing in the corner, and she said babies are welcome at St. Andrews.  I wish I could convey the spirit of Annie, the beauty, and grace, and the beauty, grace, and spirit of this church.  It is a place of sweetness, warmth, and care.   The message of Jesus may feel lost at times, or certainly commandeered, but it is alive and well at St. Andrews.  

May the three essential prayers be utilized by each of us, and spread.  Help!  Thanks!  Wow!

Those three prayers are enough.  

Anyone local is invited to attend St. Andrews at 11 on Sunday, on any Sunday.  It is clear there will be hugs.

Also, for the writers, she spoke of the dedication it takes.  "Get your butt in the chair."  She is in her chair every morning, at 6 or 6:15, and she is always aware of writing.  She carries a pen and writes down what she sees and hears.  She is a writer, and a storyteller through and through, and we all get the benefits of that, as does she.  Her gift is to write, and it's for each of us to uncover and unfold our own.