Yoda and the Giving Tree: The Leaf-Green Faces of the Enemy

Two points connected solely by my desire to use this title.

First, I am not going to say much about the long exchange in the comments to the post I was just talking about. You’ll know pretty quickly if it’s the kind of thing you can read without wanting to throttle a swan. But I wanted to register my full-throated agreement with Gabriel’s disapproval of the Yoda line, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

People. This is very close to the opposite of the truth! First of all, many people who think they’re not-doing are actually trying. (“The man who enters the whorehouse is seeking God,” a Chesterton line which was pretty influential in my own conversion.) Second, all our most beautiful accomplishments–marriage, parenting, friendship, hope, trust, prayer… figure skating…–are built on repeated failures, reassessments, repentances, and strategic retreats. “Fail better,” as Samuel Beckett says; and even that is the result of an often exceptionally painful surrender to a grace which frequently seems fleeting.

And third, last week when I spoke in California, MD, toward the end of the Q&A somebody asked me a really general life-advice question, like, After all the crazy, stupid, or weird stuff you’ve done, what do you think you’ve learned? At first I didn’t think I had an answer, but then I said, “You know, I think I’ve learned this: Everything good in life takes a million times longer than it should.”

Second link is Jendi Reiter vs. The Giving Tree. You guys have seen me ride this particular hobbyhorse in the past, but I thought Jendi’s post laid out her points much more clearly and with more spiritual insight than I could. I thought this was especially important:

If the Giving Tree is Christ, she’s Christ without the Resurrection.

more; whole thing is well worth your time.

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