Thursday, May 8, 2008

Talk Amongst Yourselves

I just started reading a new book that a friend loaned me. It is written by Annie Lamott and is entitled "Operating Instructions: A Chronicle of My Son's First Year." It is written by a 35 year old single woman who is raising her first child alone in San Francisco in the late 80's. She is a professional writer and does a great job documenting everything that is going on with her son and herself as his first year progresses.

But the most interesting thing about the book is the backstory that she throws in. This woman is a recovering cocaine and meth addict, alcoholic and workaholic. She has been clean and sober for 3 years but is still in constant therapy to help her deal with the issues that caused her addictions in the first place. She has had multiple abortions (for some reason she decided to keep this baby, I'm not sure why he was the lucky one) and struggles with depression.

A few other facts about Annie: She hates George Bush (senior, remember its 1989) with a passion, her father (who was raised by missionaries in China) is an atheist, she is a SF Giants fan, she has a cat and she's a Christian.

Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that. She's a Christian. I about dropped the book when I read that. I thought, "Yeah, right." But as I read on she constantly credits God with all of the good things in her life and asks for his help and guidance to get through the bad. She believes Jesus is always with her and carrying her through. She prays...a lot. She faithfully attends church and loves the congregation there.

She goes to a black church (she's white) where they feed her a lot and love her unconditionally. They have shown her Jesus by helping her through her addictions and scrubbing her bathroom when she was too sore and tired to do it after the baby was born. She loves to participate in praise and worship time with her church family and she stands at the back so that she can hug every single one of them as they leave the building on Sunday afternoon.

But you know what I've noticed. She never mentions the Bible. She never quotes it or reads it or turns to it for guidance. I also don't see much fruit in her life. Despite the addictions and abortions in the past she is still living the same lifestyle she always has...just without the drugs and alcohol. She also never mentions heaven or hell. Her father died of brain cancer and she talks about him a lot. She never seems to have a problem with the fact that he died an atheist. In fact she never mentions his ultimate destination at all. She doesn't seem to recognize any repurcussions for her (or anyone else's) actions, nor does she try to change anyone's views on religion or God...including her dying father's. she a Christian? She whole-heartedly believes in God and Jesus. She knows that they have ultimate control over her life and she gives it (or part of it) up to them. She tries to be a kind and loving person and to help others. She goes to church.

Is that enough?

How many people do you know that could be described by that paragraph? Where do they stand in eternity?

Can she be a Christian without the Bible, heaven and hell as part of her faith?

You all discuss it here in the comments section and I'll finish the book and get back to you. Maybe "more will be revealed". (That's an AA mantra that she says to herself all of the time in the book.)

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