Thursday, June 17, 2004

traveling mercies

Just finished reading Anne Lamotte's Traveling Mercies. Wow. Still reeling. Still mulling. Anybody else's observation of this book would be welcomed!

Speaking of traveling mercies, or "journey's mercies" as we used to say in my neck of the woods, I'm gearing myself up emotionally for CBA. I've decided to write down the TOP TEN WEIRD THINGS ON THE CBA FLOOR. My only fear is placing a limitation on this. Of course, I guess I could just post them all and let you decide which items deserve status in this hall of fame of weirdness.

Speaking of weird religious moneymaking deals, I wonder what you've seen in your travels down the cluttered aisles of religious bookstores? Please share! Personally, I never knew tea was so spiritual. But from the amount of books about tea, I'd say it's on it's way to becoming a sacrament. I just like tea. I like the way it scampers on my tongue and makes me feel that all is right, at least for that moment. However, it's still a beverage, a humble beverage people have been drinking for centuries, not something transubstantiated because Christians seem to like it.

On another, less pissed off note, I had to share what happened on Jennifer's porch today. Now Jennifer, my dearest friend in all the world, lives on a farm outside Nashville. We arrived home from various excursions this morning and swallows were divebombing and fluttering and giving the spiders absolute hell! I say hell in deference to the spiders. I mean, if some bigger creature was divebombing you, heck just wouldn't cut it. This is life and death. Relentlessly pursing the little buggers, the birds worked tirelessly until not one eight-legged freak remained. I need the birds of God all time, to come and eat up my spiders. Sure more spiders will knit their webs upon my heart and soul, but I'm trusting God to send in the birds.




Blogger Will said...

Weird things seen on the aisles of religious bookstores? That could fill a book. My favorite is from my childhood. It was a pencil sharpener in the shape of a plane that had "Be Ye Kind" on the top. Even at the age of six, I remember thinking, "What does being kind have to do with sharpening pencils?"

June 17, 2004 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger ragamuffin diva said...

Hi Lisa,

Welcome back! I think Anne Lamott is one of the first ragamuffin divas I ever encountered. I came to know her first through her writing book Bird by Bird. Then I started reading her columns, and was suprised by the grace I found there.

In her work I find the tender love of Jesus, sharp wit, and amazing honesty. Thanks for mentioning her.

As for weirdness in a religious book store...the inspirational Tae Bo DVD. You can praise God *and* kick butt at the same time!

June 18, 2004 at 12:29 AM  
Blogger Bill Arnold said...

Testamints! How much more commercial can you get? What are there purpose? So I can have christian breath?!?!

On another note, whatever happened to books at "christian bookstores"? Who stole them all? I want them back!

June 18, 2004 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger mps said...


Traveling Mercies is a wonderful book, as is Operating Instructions. Amid the hype (I'm allergic to hype) I'm about to read Father Joe by Tony Hendra (played Ian Faith in This is Spinal Tap) and will spread the word if it lives up to said hype.

Weirdest: The UT Bible - Yes, the word of God bound in genuine UT ORANGE leather. I haven't checked, but made me wonder if the apostles had been displaced by former all-americans...the Lord's prayer to the tune of Rocky Top?

June 18, 2004 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger Jules Quincy Stephens said...

Anne Lamott: She's humorous, she's insightful, but her politics suck. I had coffee this afternoon with a friend who also frequents your blog, Lisa, and we agreed that we loved "Traveling Mercies," that Anne has a unique ministry to point people to Jesus, but that we wouldn't want her discipling anyone (and not just because of her politics).

Weird Christian Merchandise: Don't know. I close my eyes upon entering any Christian retail outfit and ask the salespeople to lead me directly to the fiction section.

June 19, 2004 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger siouxsiepoet said...

anne lamott, great. anyone who can make me laugh until my sides hurt is okay in my book.

i'll probably get shot for saying this but i HATE the message bible. i call it the cliche bible. i wish it could be uninvented, like the atomic bomb.

June 19, 2004 at 11:52 PM  
Blogger Deborah said...

I love Anne Lamott's "Travelling Mercies" and "Bird by Bird". I love her authenticity and transparency and her love for Jesus. I cringed a little when she referred to God as a "She" in "Travelling Mercies", but not at all at the use of the f-word in her testimony. I attended a conference last year where she was the keynote speaker and it was really cool to see that she is the same person in front of a podium that you see in print and therefore I love her very much. I think she has evangelistic gifts, supernatural gifts in that area, and she has a mission field. That mission field is people who have left-wing politics like hers, who have tasted the degradation alcohol and drugs wreak, who feel like misfits around those who've led nearly spotless Christian lives for generations in their families.

I cut her a lot of slack for such things as the use of "her" when referring to God, even though I agree with David Lyle Jeffrey who gave a lecture I attended once and said, "Jesus called God Father. That leaves us no other option."

I cut her slack because Jesus reached down and plucked me out of a terrible lifestyle and even after I had a personal relationship with Him, I still had a lot of stupid and false ideas that I clung to. It took years before I saw that what I needed was an orthodox and Apostolic faith and only through having that faith, entire and whole, would I find the victory in Christ that so eluded me even after doing the sinner's prayer.

St. Anselm once said, "I believe in order to understand." I used to strive to understand first, and thus I believed some stuff in the Bible and some of the Creeds, but didn't believe others because I didn't understand. Now, I'm with Anselm. I believe.....I choose to believe. Help me to understand.


June 20, 2004 at 8:57 AM  
Blogger NCPastorsWife said...

weird things at Christian bookstores? Most of the time, they turn my stomach just walking in them. But the latest? the MASS marketing and miscellaneous ridiculous products of the latest fad gospel, The Purpose Driven Life.

June 21, 2004 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Jules Quincy Stephens said...

To NCPastorsWife:

You find that disturbing, too?

June 24, 2004 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

anne lamott. absolutely loved traveling mercies, as well as bird by bird, and operating instructions. Deborah, I'm wondering if you saw Anne at the NPC/Emergent Conference in San Diego. She was wonderful there - I got a chance to meet her and shared with her that she was the first author to help me appreciate the use of the f-word. Beautiful usage in her conversion story. I think Lamott is a testament to the wonderful diversity of those who want to follow Christ. I got a chance to visit her church last month and had a wonderful visit. You can check out some pictures here:

I thank God for Anne Lamott and for those she is reaching.


June 28, 2004 at 3:18 AM  
Blogger Katy said...

I, too, love Traveling Mercies, as well as Bird by Bird (my favorite book for writers). Not a big fan of her fiction, though, and I've tried, really. I also have the video documentary about Lamott which, for the most part, is wonderful. When she gets turned loose to be a "minister," I worry. The film shows her presiding over the marriage of two gay men. I know, I know....but still.

As for merchandise, I'm afraid I avoid the bookstores when I know there's a big product push on. WWJD nearly did me in, even though I have a first edition of "In His Steps," the hundred-year-old novel the saying was derived from. Ditto Purpose Driven Merchandise, Prayer of Jabez to Sell a Lot of Stuff, and etc. When I do go in, I squint a lot, so I can't see the "stuff," and hightail it to the fiction.

June 29, 2004 at 2:59 PM  

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