Barbara's Random Thoughts

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Anne Lamott

A week ago, I went with a friend to hear Anne Lamott read from her new book, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. One of the very first things she said was about her own political views: "I don't know why you would have come if you're a conservative Republican, obviously you don't know what I'm about..."

She said very straightforwardly that she wasn't going to make any apologies for her views, that if we didn't agree, that wasn't her problem--which is absolutely true. But why discourage people from listening to you just because they don't agree with you--politically or otherwise?

Why would I avoid going to a reading to hear a writer I admire, just because her political views are radically different from my own? For one, I wasn't there to hear her political views, though I figured that would come into it at some point. I was interested to hear what she had to say about faith, knowing that she is a believer, and knowing that her views are very different from my own in many ways.

Growing up, I didn't exactly have a broad exposure to people whose beliefs were different from my own. I was homeschooled from 5th grade to the end of high school. I went to Biola. I worked in the office at my church for several years. But there were also those 2 years spent at a community college, that semester in Italy, and the three years in grad school--where I did a lot of interacting with people with very different perspectives. And even within the "sheltered" community of church and Christian friends, there wasn't uniformity of perspective.

Since moving to the Bay area, I certainly have found a much larger diversity of beliefs and convictions among my friends. One of my friends at work recently commented to another good friend: "Your friendship with Barbara is a mystery to me--you couldn't be more different."

That made me laugh, because it's totally true. But I so enjoy talking to and learning from people who believe and think differently than I do. Sometimes it makes me change my mind. Sometimes it just strengthens what I already thought. But it stretches me, it makes me think, and it makes me look at things from another angle. And there you have the reason why a conservative Republican would go to hear Anne Lamott speak.
| posted by Barbara | 6:52 PM