Tapestry of Faith: Exploring Our Values Through Poetry: A Program for High School Youth

Activity 2: Faith, Mystery, and Doubt

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Make enough copies of Handouts 1 and 2 so that each participant may have a set.

Description of Activity

Participants use two poems as the basis for a discussion about faith and prayer.

Distribute copies of Handout 1, "The Ancient Sage," and Handout 2, "Finders Keepers." Invite two volunteers to read the first poem aloud twice. Allow thirty seconds of silence to pass between readings. Repeat the process for the second poem.

Lead a "What do we have here?" discussion about each poem. Use these questions:

  • Who is "she" referred to in "The Ancient Sage"?
  • Would you say the speaker is a person of deep faith? In what does he/she have faith?
  • What words would you use to describe the speaker's father? How do you think she/he feels about him?
  • Are the speakers in both poems talking about religious faith or faith in something else? Is this distinction clear? Does it matter?

Lead a "What's the big idea?" discussion about the poems. Use these questions:

  • In "The Ancient Sage," what argument does the speaker present to the son as a reason for having faith?
  • Do you think this is a good reason? Have you ever heard an argument for religious faith based upon similar premises?
  • In "Finders Keepers" the author talks about looking for faith. Is there a difference between "having" faith and "looking" for faith? How do these concepts relate to the common phrase "keeping the faith?"
  • Both poems address mystery and seeking answers to some of life's big questions. Both talk about faith in the face of hardship. How do you think the two speakers differ in how they feel about living through life's hardships?
  • What do the words "our Unitarian Universalist faith" mean to you?
  • How do we, as UUs, deal with the "mystery"? Is there one right answer to this question? Why or why not?
  • Does either poem take the reader on a journey? From where to where? Is there a spiritual journey, and if so, what happens along the way?