14 November 2010

Day 232: Number the Stars

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.  ISBN: 9780395510605.

A major concept in this book is bravery and how we recognize it.  I think there are a lot of us out there who do brave things everyday.  Certainly we don't often get the chance to take big risks in order to save people, but sometimes it's the little acts of bravery that we tend to overlook that are the most important.  It could be something like introducing yourself to a neighbor, telling someone they look nice today, or bringing food to someone ill, small acts that have the potential to change someone's day.

There are a lot of bloggers out there, for instance, who take up very serious political issues, some of which are quite unpopular.  I have even delved into it occasionally, and although I have not personally faced some of the abuse, I know there are others out there who have.  In fact I am often terrified of posting something too political or too religious or too something that will potentially offend someone, but this is ultimately a blog about my personal thoughts and feelings in regards to what I am reading and so the topics do come up.  I am thankful to have such polite and open-minded readers that they do not feel the need to try and shout me down on my own forum.  I am saddened by the thought that some of my posts might cause me to lose readers, but it is ultimately their right not to read my blog. 

I do want to say that I think it's incredibly brave to make those posts anyway.  Yeah, okay, I'm sort of patting myself on the back here, but that's not really how it's intended.  I think it is extremely brave to engage in conversation, open dialogue, and to publish your thoughts and feelings.  I think the addage, "It is not polite to speak about politics or religion" has actually done our country a great deal of harm.  I think we need to talk about these things...  but not in the way they're currently being talked about.  We are terribly, terribly out of practice in having polite discourse about sensitive subjects and because of that nothing gets done, we avoid our neighbors, and we lack a reasonable understanding of other cultures and other people because we can't even talk to them about the things that matter to them and deeply affect their lives.

I think it would be a brave thing for an athiest to talk to a Christian about a moment in the Christian's life where they personally felt touched by god.  And I think it would be equally brave for the Christian to accept that said athiest can be a good and righteous person without the influence of Christ in their lives, and that morality is a somewhat fluid concept, and that the athiest does not necessarily need to be converted.  These are both difficult things and difficult concepts for both parties to accept.  But these are the conversations that we need to have and these are the concepts we at least need to start thinking about.  I only used these two as examples...  there are many, many more conversations that need to happen, and everyone needs to feel safe to have those conversations, both to ask questions and express views that may be offensive and to tell people why those views are or could be offensive without automatically assuming that the person who asked them intentionally means harm by speaking/asking.

I hope people will respectfully tell me when I have offended them, and tell me why.  I may not be able to revoke my words, but I can offer an apology for offending their feelings and act more appropriately in the future.  If I continue to offend, at least it will because I actually am a bigot and not through ignorance, and you, my readers, will then know the difference.

I thought the review from little reading room more or less summed up my feelings adequately.  I will say that I think I'm too old for this book as I wanted something much meatier, but enjoyed it anyway.

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