Faith & Doubt
The June 9-16 issue of The New Yorker is fantastic. I have always been a fan of its fiction section, where I discovered the likes of Jhumpa Lahiri, but this particular issue was important for me because after some time I rediscovered the power and depth of creative writing.
Writers have their own ways with words. When discussing the difficulty of describing his unrequited feelings for a close friend, Matt Brochu writes, “But you’re a writer. You can describe anything. That’s what you do: pictures to words, events to words, words to even better words. But nothing seems right.” Of course Brochu is a brilliant writer. He and other writers were given the capacity to express what so many feel but what so few can express. When it comes to matters of the heart, be it faith or romance, all too often my own written expressions are woefully inadequate. But that's why we have writers. Real writers.
This issue of The New Yorker deftly combines the talents of six such writers on the theme Faith & Doubt. I am simply astounded as how each of these writers, different in their own faiths and styles, so richly humanize their writing to connect to so many different people.
This section in the New Yorker does just that. I emailed this out to many of my friends and even posted it under my ever-changing Religious Views space on Facebook. And of course it belongs on this page.
The piece I felt the strongest connection to was Tobias Wolff’s Winter Light. It tells of two friends who went to a local church to catch a free showing of the Ernest Bergman film, you guessed it, "Winter Light." The two friends’ responses to the film were colored by the church’s minister who gave a wrap-up talk after the film ended. The different reactions play right into my own experience with my friends in college, where it took quite a lot to get me to open up spiritually. Like the writer, I have learned to find beauty and God in many things. It took experimenting with different mediums, particularly creative writing (Khaled Abou El Fadl's Search For Beauty in Islam) and poetry (Khalil Gibran's The Prophet), for me to appreciate what my faith means to me.
For fear of ruining this piece or the others any further, please check them out and find your own connections. I am confident you will.
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