Monday, 4 May 2015

The Book of Welcome

You know it was a long time before I felt welcome in my life. I am not sure whether I do now. That horrible feeling, you know, like you've poured Drano down your gut, and you are writhing with the pain and the ache and the sheer horribleness of the unwelcome.

Well, guess what....Anne Lamott writes about this in her book Small Victories, which I bought in New York and finished, oh I don't know, in Boston? Anyway, here is an excerpt. As always, I recommend that you buy the book. She's worth reading.

There must have been a book - way down there in the slush pile of manuscripts - that somehow slipped out of the final draft of the Bible. That would have been the chapter that dealt with how we're supposed to recover from the criticism section in the Garden, and discover a sense that we're still welcome on the planet. there are moments in Scripture when we hear that God delights in people, and I am incredulous. But they are few and far between. Perhaps cooler heads determined that too much welcome would make sissies out of us all, and chose instead accounts of the ever popular slaughter, exile, and shame.

The welcome book would have taught us that power and signs of status can't save us, that welcome - both offering and receiving - is our source of safety. Various chapters and verses of this book would remind us that we are wanted and even occasionally delighted in, despite the unfortunate truth that we are greedy-grabby, self-referential, indulgent, overly judgemental, and often hysterical.

Somehow that book went "missing." Or when the editorial board of bishops pored over the canonical lists from Jerusalem and Alexandria, they arbitrarily nixed the book that states unequivocally that you are wanted, even rejoiced in.

We have to write that book ourselves.

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