“Let’s just agree that one symptom of a weak character is a sick passion for making the same mistakes over and over.”
The novelist, Denis Johnson, recently deceased, wrote that remark in collection of essays he published as Seek. It is a spot-on diagnosis of the President of the United States.
Over and over the President demeans and insults, tweeting like some Magicicada insect. We are living in a time of locusts and lies. The President illustrates by these repeated lies and assaults that he is a person of weak character. He is small. And each day he diminishes himself by increments, tweet by tweet. I suspect that we’ll awaken one day and he will have disappeared, becoming so small as to be utterly consumed by his anger. The Christian novelist, Frederick Buechner, defines anger this way: “Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back–in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself.”
The goal of spirituality or life-in-God is to expand one’s soul. I wouldn’t spend time writing about such a shrinking grotesque were it not for the fact that what the President says –any President—has actual and direct impacts upon millions of people. We have a President who spends more time attacking the FBI and its former director than addressing the assault on our elections by the Russians. His venomous rhetoric has unleashed a hail storm of hatred across the country. The aim of the spiritual person is to aspire to nobility and merciful grace. As I said, authentic spirituality is an aspiration toward an expansive character.
I hope and wish that the White House and its occupants would discover the prayer of St. Augustine found in his Confessions, Book I: “Narrow is the mansion of my soul; enlarge Thou it, that Thou mayest enter in. It is ruinous; repair Thou it.”
I’ll be praying this week, not for impeachment, but for redemption. Expansive spirituality, not belittling diminishment. ~See you Sunday