Saturday, 4 September 2010

Spiritual lessons from the West Wing: in this White House?

The first episode of The West Wing I ever watched was the one in my flatmate's laptop when I borrowed it one evening: it. happened to be the one where Ainsley Hayes starts work at the White House. Ainsley in intelligent and beautiful (blonde, of course) and fiercely ambitious - perfect in the way that only TV charcters can be. She's also a Republican.

When she's offered a job by Leo, she babbles incoherently (in iambic pentameter, because she's being written by Aaron Sorkin) where the rest of us might be speechless. "Ainsley," he says, "don't you want to work at the White House?"

"Only since I was three," she replies. "It has to be this White House?"

In other words, wow. This is my dream. I just didn't think it would look like this.

And now I'm being offered this position, and it's exactly what I want, but it's exactly not what I want, all at the same time, and so I'm confused.

I think many of us can relate to that. Take me, for example.

Claire, asks God gently, don't you want to be in leadership?

Oh, only all of my adult like.

I just didn't think it woud look like this.

Really? In this White House?

Not married to a Church leader who grew up being discipled by David Stroud and going to Stoneleigh Bible Week? Not married at all, in fact, not with three kids, the fourth on the way, maybe even twins?

Not in a Newfrontiers Church where I'm clear on the vision and embrace the values, where I know what is meant by "church", where I'm comfortable with the way things are done, where I understand what is expected of me and roughly how I should be going about it?

Yes. In this White House. In this capital city. In this Church. At this time in history.

"Appeal to her sense of duty," the President tells Leo. In other words, remind her that what unites us is bigger and deeper than what differenciates us. We all long for great things for our nation.

Ainsley, of course, takes the job. Sadly, Aaron Sorkin then forgets about her and she wastes away in the Steam Pipe Distribution Venue, to be replaced later by the very dishy Joe Quincy, played by none other than Matthew Perry, but I digress.

Since my life is not being written by Aaron Sorkin, I need not worry that such a fate awaits me. I am called by God, here and now, for such a time as this. And while the way my new Church does things is not the same as what I grew up with, while it is not always what I would choose, it is also not as radical a departure from my values as Ainsley Hayes' serving under a Democratic President. And what unites us is far, far deeper than what differentiates us.

Yes, Claire, really. In this White House.

I serve at the pleasure of the King.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Such a true thing!