For the last two weeks I have really tried to get in gear with my self-commissioned study of other faiths. I am sadly very ignorant about most religions and know that I need at least a cursory understanding about them before I can start down my path of faith gathering.
But where does one so uneducated start? Well, I started with Facebook. (Don’t judge) I asked my Facebook peeps for their top reads about world religion. I got some great suggestions (thank you!) and I set off happily to my local library to get to work.
Fast forward two weeks and hundreds of pages. Despite the great insights and mind opening discussions, I felt discouraged for many reasons. To start, I realized quickly that I was in way over my head. Most of the books used terminology so unfamiliar that I was convinced that they were written in another language altogether. However, with the help of google and wikipedia (again no judgement please), I managed to piece together most of what was written.
This however, led to the most discouraging part of all. Once I figured out what the heck the writer was saying, more often than not I was saddened to find an emphasis on flaws in these religions as the focus rather than an unbiased, let alone encouraging, description of the faith. My goal on this journey is to gather faith, not find flaw. Boo!
So back I went to the local library to return my giant stack of books. While there, helping my son search for a book about dinosaurs, I stumbled into the children’s non-fiction religion section. “Hmmmm…” said I, “Now these might be at my level.” And they were.
But even better than not having to look up every third word in a dictionary, they were wonderfully uplifting. The bright illustrations and engaging descriptions of the various religious beliefs, rituals, and holidays were exactly what I needed. I found faith. And I did it through the eyes of a child.
Children really are amazing. Their world (including that of their non-fiction literature in this case) is not one of right or wrong, but education and learning. They don’t feel like others have to be wrong for them to be right. It is a really beautiful, innocent thing. I hope to borrow more than just a book from their world, maybe I can borrow their perspective too.
Kids gather a whole lot of faith.