Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012.10.17 Lamenting Grace

In the Boston Globe Oct. 15, 2012, Mr. Armerding of Cambridge (MA.) wrote a letter to the editor referring to the October 9 Ty Burr, Globe movie critic’s feature story, “Why I Bike”  in the G section.  Burr had listed three reasons why he’s still cycling: “the grace of God, my wits, and a healthy respect for everyone else on the road.”  The G cover headlined Burr’s wisdom as: “Wits, luck, respect.”

Armerding noted that something was missing and lamented: “Why are you so afraid to paraphrase him [Burr] truthfully? You could even have replaced “luck” with “grace” and kept the religious overtones to a safe minimum.”

Thank you Mr. Armerding and thank you Ty Burr.  And thank you Godde for your grace.  No thanks to the cowardice of the Globe. Paradoxically, they headlined Armerding’s letter “Wait—wasn’t God his copilot?” 

Which way will it be then?

Not too long ago a friend and brother priest, who had just published a very fine book on the use of religious language to support particular political positions as if they were by divine sanction,  commented in response to my congratulations: “Well, it was all grace, completely.”  I replied, “There is no such thing as disembodied grace.”  He grinned and nodded. We laughed. It’s possible to go too far the other way:  All God/No me.

What kind of spiritual ambivalence is going on? Has Godde become politically dangerous? Or are we just too damn proud of our own resourcefulness to give credit to any power not strictly contained in human resource alone—or too passive and spiritually dependent to acknowledge our own efforts?   Or maybe God and trust belong murmured in church prayers or let out in public only on our currency? And isn’t that ironic! ...... we do worship money.

No wonder I’ve been afraid to write my memoir in which God AND I are the protagonist together in my life trip. I call it that, though journey is more spiritually p.c.,  because a lot of it has felt like a trip, a trip-up, a high, or tripping the light fantastic clumsily.  Godde has been my anchor—inner and outer. 

What do I mean by Godde anyway?  OK here’s my elevator speech: Godde is a spirit of goodness embedded in all creation, a Spirit that holds but does not package, holds all creation loosely, lovingly, and lettingly.  God is there for the asking, for the recognizing.  Is grace cheap? You bet!

Godde has no way to us but through us after all.