By Terry Weber
The WordPlayers’ production of DOUBT, A PARABLE will open on Oct. 18 at Erin Presbyterian Church. The process of producing this brilliant, difficult, and provocative play has led many of us to examine our hearts about what part doubt plays in our lives. John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize winning play will challenge every audience member to ponder the power of doubt. Of what things are we absolutely certain? Which things do we doubt? Is there virtue in certainty or danger? Is there virtue in doubt or danger? Should either of those questions be an either/or proposition?
One morning recently, as I was innocently going through my emails without thinking any particularly deep thoughts, an email which my Mom had forwarded to me brought my attention to a recent interview given by the new Pope, Francis. Lo and behold, one of the things the Holy Father has been contemplating is the role doubt plays in a relationship with God. I was immediately struck how the musings of the Pope intertwine with the themes and action of Shanley’s play. In the Pope’s words:
[I]n this quest to seek and find God in all things there is still an area of uncertainty. There must be. If a person says that he met God with total certainty and is not touched by a margin of uncertainty, then this is not good. For me, this is an important key. If one has the answers to all the questions—that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.
It seems to me that the Pope equates doubt with humility and certainty with selfishness and, possibly, arrogance. In leaving room for doubt in our relationship with God, do we also leave room for growth and maturity?
The entire process of producing this play makes my head swim! Probably good exercise for it!
If you really want a mental workout, you might want to read the entire interview with Pope Francis: http://www.americamagazine.org/pope-interview. I warn you: it’s lengthy.