Thursday, 27 May 2010

Growing flowers

I enjoyed this contribution from Lesley's blog about Richard Holloway's book Doubts and Loves. I first read this book in 2003 when I joined PCN ( Progressive Christian Network) a group that I joined largely in response to the Jeffrey John affair. PCN turned out not to be quite the right organisation for me (not sure I was progressive enough!) but I did thoroughly enjoy Holloway's book.
Yehuda Amichai's poem, from which the title Doubts and Loves is taken , speaks to me about how the doubts in our faith can lead to growth.

From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the Spring.

The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.

But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plough.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.

Yehuda Amichai

I have some distaste for the sort of faith that aggressively proclaims, "I am right and you are wrong", it is hard and trampled like a yard. Doubts, not necessarily just about doctrine but about our approach to faith or our ability to use faith to reduce complexity to simplicity, seem to me to truly revolutionise and bring growth. Doubts do "dig up the world" , but only when our doubts are coupled with love.

I do doubt more and more these days , I am not sure I always love more and more - but I try!


  1. Thanks for the link, and thanks too for pointing out what a beautiful poem it is :)

  2. It is a wonderful - stop and think poem...

    Have you read Anna Michael's 'Fugitive Pieces'?

    The poem reminds of the book - not the story, or the words, but the spaces between the lines, where you can stop and think! I know that sounds daft, but sometimes it is between the lines where the real 'story' is being told.


  3. You're welcome, Lesley.

    I haven't read that book, S, but will add it to my recommended list. I catch up a bit more with reading at this time of year and over the summer.

  4. The last sentence of Fugitive Pieces is 'I see that I must give what I most need.'

    It is only as I stagger through my 40s have I come to appreciate how profound this is!