Church of 80% Sincerity

posted August 22, 2009

Note: During this period of time while I write our forthcoming book All Together Singing in the Kitchen: How to Create Family Harmony, while I intend to update this blog with current posts, I also will from time to time post old pieces. This one is from the 2007 Life Composition Creative Day Planner series.

Via David Roche and Anne Lamott:
David Roche is a monologist whose face was badly disfigured in a childhood radiation treatment. He has created a wonderful program in which he shares his unique and inspiring take on the world. Read more about him at or read the chapter about him in Anne Lamott’s wonderful Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith.

“We in the Church of 80 Percent Sincerity do not believe in miracles,” says David. “But we do believe that you have to stay alert, because good things happen. When God opens the door, you’ve got to put your foot in it.

“Look, 80 percent sincerity is about as good as it’s going to get. So is 80 percent compassion. Eighty percent celibacy. So 20 percent of the time, you just get to be yourself.

“God, it’s such subversive material, so contrary to everything society leads us to believe — that if you look good, you’ll be happy, and have it all together, and then you’ll be successful and nothing will go wrong and you won’t have to die, and the rot can’t get in.”

Anne Lamott writes: “In the Church of 80 Percent Sincerity, you definitely don’t have to look good, but you are supposed to meditate. Following David’s instructions, you sit quietly with your eyes closed and follow your breath in and out of your body, gently watching your mind. Your mantra should go like this: ‘Why am I doing this? This is such a waste! I have so much to do! My butt itches …’ And if you stick to it, he promised, from time to time calmness and peace of mind will intrude. After some practice with this basic meditation, you will be able to graduate to panic meditations, and then sex fantasy meditations. And meditations on what you will do when you win the Lotto.”

So for this week, I invite you to meditate like this. Also, to journal about some areas in your life where we might be liberated if we could just accept 80%.

The Comments

Join the Conversation. Post with kindness.

  1. Nerissa, I wish there were a way to contact you…I must have accidentally clicked the wrong thing on your blog (because in my browser, things are unreadable and overlapped up at the top), and now it’s telling me that I flagged your site for objectionable content, which I most certainly didn’t intend to do!! Quite the contrary….it’s a great blog. How can I fix this?

    BTW, had you visited my blog? My Hit Counter had a long “referring URL” which included your name…that is how I found you. I am just curious, because there are no links to my blog on yours. (I wonder how these things work!)

    In any case, please accept my apologies if I have accidentally caused you any grief with Google. Sincerely,

    -Jen, “The Idea Mom”

  2. I have long had it in my head that (in my spare time – ha!!) I need to write the 80/20 Series of books. The 80/20 budget. The 80/20 Cook, the 80/20 Mom. Basically get 80% right and the other 20% can pretty much slide.

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