Findings: Poets and the Crisis of Faith

Findings: Poets and the Crisis of Faith

by John Lampen

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Overview

It is part of the innocence of poetry that it can testify to reality without trying to explain and systematize as the theologians must do. They look for truths which converge in a single system; while the poets claim the freedom to think, to question, and to record, boldly and unsystematically. Moreover their conclusions are tentative: "I saw this, I felt this--take it or leave it!"

For myself, I have come into a phase where I find it very hard to read religious books (which is a statement about my own condition, not about the books); but after many years I am now able to read poetry again. I cannot present modern poets in a chronological sequence expressing a general recovery of discovery of religious faith, as I did with the loss of faith--but only point to individuals who found their own way out of doubt and despair. I do not claim that poets must be right; they have ventured down many paths, and some proved to be dead ends. Where they found new insights, these have been explored by theologians too; and some poets such as Dante and Blake have expounded religious philosophies. Indeed Carol Murphy, a contemporary Friend, suggests that "The deepest truths can be conveyed only in poetry, and Christian theology, truly seen, is not a set of dusty propositions, nor a dreamy fairy-tale, but the highest poetry, full of illuminating images and brilliant paradoxes."


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Product Details

BN ID: 2940157160173
Publisher: Pendle Hill Publications
Publication date: 03/22/2017
Series: Pendle Hill Pamphlets , #310
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 134 KB

About the Author

John Lampen is a Quaker, a member of Ireland Yearly Meeting. Originally trained to work with emotionally disturbed adolescents, he was headmaster of a therapeutic community school for ten years. He now works for peace and reconciliation projects in Northern Ireland. His wife Diana and he were Friends-in-Residence at Pendle Hill in Fall Term, 1992, where he worked on this essay.
His other books for Friends include Wait in the Light on the spirituality of George Fox; Will Warren—a Scrapbook; Twenty Questions about Jesus; and the Swarthmore Lecture Mending Hurts. He has also written a book for younger teenagers on peacemaking in their everyday lives, called The Peace Kit.

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