Friday, October 19, 2012

NWCU Book Talk - 21.10.12

Kahlil Gibran

Welcome to NWCU's Book Talk. Today's book is The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, a book that has not only inspired writers, philosophers and song writers but whose quotes are as well known as cherished proverbs.

Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet was published in 1923, a collection of twenty-six prose poems that made him one of the world's best selling poets. The book is delivered as sermons yet doesn't follow any specific religious bent. It is easily understood and accessible by everyone. 

Almustafa, the chosen and the beloved, lived in exile in the fictional city of Orphalese for twelve years. On the day that his ship arrived to transport him from exile, the citizenry of Orphalese gathered in hopes that Almustafa would offer them guidance and inspiration.

Presented as a question and answer testimony moderated by the seeress Almitra, Almustafa responds using allusions to nature and everyday activities to show the citizens the interrelated elements of life, condemning conventions and offering wisdom without the formality of religion or laws.

I won't summarize all twenty-six questions in this post. Rather than decipher every aspect of the book, I look forward to discussing the elements opening at Book Talk (click link to participate in the Facebook Event) I will touch on a couple that I feel an intense kinship with in the following paragraphs.

On Love

" Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love. And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them.  And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when is wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though is voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste to the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning."

Love must be welcomed and believed even knowing that it might shatter dreams, may crown and crucify simultaneously, grows and must be held back. Love is all encompassing in both the laughter and weeping. People should let love direct their course and in so doing, be in the heart of God. In order for love to be self-sufficient, not giving or taking, balance is required.

On Children

"And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children. And she said: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. you may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams."

Parents may forget that their children are individuals with thoughts of their own. A father often prides himself with "my son" to follow in "my footsteps" and mothers may make beauty queens of their little girls in an attempt to live through them. Both are impossible. Children should be loved, nourished, and encouraged to develop as individuals.

I've only lightly touched on two of the twenty-six chapters in The Prophet. The chapters cover  love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, houses, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.

Meet me at the NWCU Book Talk event, or leave your thoughts/comment on this post. I will be moderating both and hope to have consuming discussions on the precepts of this book.

Thank you,


  1. Wonderful post Beth...and an amazing read! Looking forward to conversation :)

  2. A great introduction to this book. I knew little of him except quotes. So thankful you chose this book for book talk.

  3. From Steve Piper on The Book of Faces Event Page: "I think that if a soul reaches full integration of the physical and spiritual worlds, that soul lives in a state of prayer, as their physical form makes its way through this world, simultaneously detached from, yet fully aware of the material universe."

  4. From Susie Clevenger on the event page: "Love isn't easy. Even in its beauty there is pain. That is something he stresses."