I’m having a Niebuhr kinda weekend – Niebuhr being a forebear name, and also the name of Reinhold Niebuhr, the prominent theologian of the last century. He’s the dude wot wrote the Serenity prayer.
In its original format, the first part of the prayer goes like this:
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Alas, everybody and his dog, including AA, got hold of the prayer. It has been stuck onto all kinds of consumer goods and started a song by Sinead O’Connor…. her version:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference
Niebuhr’s daughter Elisabeth Sifton wrote a book called “The Serenity Prayer” and I URGE anybody who’s interested in social justice to read it. The dragging down of Germany into Nazism is detailed from a theological perspective, and there were so many times I put the book down and said, “But this is what’s happening in the US right now!” I became quite sad. The book is amazingly well written.