Living faith: April fools

Created date

March 26th, 2013
brain puzzle

Years ago, when she was a high school freshman, my daughter played the role of Sophia in Neil Simon s comic fable, Fools. The script is full of knee-slapping dialogue such as this exchange between Sophia and her suitor Leon: SOPHIA: I never know what I mean. I do have thoughts, but they seem to disappear when they reach my lips. LEON: If I ever reached your lips, I would never disappear. SOPHIA: Would you like to kiss me? LEON: With all my heart. SOPHIA: No, I meant with your lips. We laugh at the dim-wittedness of those we categorize as fools, but the biblical concept of foolishness is more about moral perversion than mental deficiency. According to Solomon s Proverbs, the fool is hasty, self-sufficient, contentious, pompous, and fond of evil.

Skillful living

The opposite of foolishness is wisdom. We tend to equate wisdom with an IQ score, but according to Solomon, wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord and has more to do with practical insight into the nature of how the world really works, which leads to success in life. Skillful living, as my pastor once put it, is characterized by empathy, prudence, discernment, and keeping God s commandments. With age comes wisdom is Oscar Wilde s proverb. It s not a surprise then that with age also comes a deeper spirituality for many people. Numerous studies show that as we age many of us begin to value the soul more than the body, others more than ourselves, and a legacy more than economic productivity. but sometimes age comes alone is the rest of Wilde s maxim, his definition of a fool. To save himself from a foolish retirement, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi wroteFrom Age-ing to Sage-ing, a handbook for making aging the anticipated fulfillment of life, not its inevitable decline through social activism and spiritual mentoring. Several "Living faith" readers wrote to share how they seek and pass on wisdom. Helga Perrin from Virginia shares her life lessons through inspirational poetry. Retired Colonel Dr. Michael Oldham from Maryland recently published his first book. As for me, I meet every week with my friend Davon, a fatherless teenager in Baltimore City, for breakfast, games, and discussions about life. He keeps me on the straight and narrow.