Friday, January 9, 2015

The Friday Four, Part 100




That's a big, round number, isn't it?

(And in four weeks, I'll celebrate 104, two full years of Friday Fours!)


If you've followed this blog, or my goodreads page, at all, you'll know that I always have a book that I'm reading aloud to my boys.  I started reading to Will when he was a baby and just kept picking up books that I thought would interest him.  We're a lot busier now, with three boys and all of their activities, but we're still working our way through a book at a time.

In large part, I started doing this because I love reading and I wanted to pass that love of reading on to my boys, But it's nice to know science is backing me up.  Again.


I recently read The Crucible of Doubt by Terryl & Fiona Givens and even counted it as one of my "top books" of 2014.  (I'll get around to writing a review, promise, but I want to re-read it first and chew on it a bit more.)  So I was drawn to this TEDTalk entitled "The Doubt Essential to Faith" by Lesley Hazleton, the author of a biography of Muhammad.  She shared some beautiful thoughts about the necessity of doubt and faith to the existence of each other.  I love this part:
We have to recognize that real faith has no easy answers. It's difficult and stubborn. It involves an ongoing struggle, a continual questioning of what we think we know, a wrestling with issues and ideas. It goes hand in hand with doubt, in a never-ending conversation with it, and sometimes in conscious defiance of it.
And this:
Abolish all doubt, and what's left is not faith, but absolute, heartless conviction. You're certain that you possess the Truth -- inevitably offered with an implied uppercase T -- and this certainty quickly devolves into dogmatism and righteousness, by which I mean a demonstrative, overweening pride in being so very right, in short, the arrogance of fundamentalism. It has to be one of the multiple ironies of history that a favorite expletive of Muslim fundamentalists is the same one once used by the Christian fundamentalists known as Crusaders: "infidel," from the Latin for "faithless." Doubly ironic, in this case, because their absolutism is in fact the opposite of faith. In effect, they are the infidels. Like fundamentalists of all religious stripes, they have no questions, only answers. They found the perfect antidote to thought and the ideal refuge of the hard demands of real faith.
While doubt and faith are often described as opposites that cannot co-exist, I don't believe they are.  The greatest faith is often demonstrated by continuing to believe and, more importantly, act in the face of doubt.  The absence of doubt is frightening to me, because it can imply an absence of humility - the recognition that we are imperfect and we might be wrong - and because it can imply a lack of openness to new information and new experience.  Either of which deadens progress, stifles growth, and can manifest in horribly violent acts, like those in France earlier this week.


The time has come for me to openly declare a part of myself that I have long denied, that I pushed away and ignored for years, that I hid because I was ashamed.  I am ashamed no longer.

My friends, I am a cat person.

I mean, look at this face:

Really.  How can you not melt?

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