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Leap of Faith: Final Wrap Up September 25, 2006

Posted by Han in Leap of Faith by Queen Noor.
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Okay this is it. Most of you should be done with the book now and that leaves us this week to wrap up discussion on the book. There seems to be a lot of dialog going on within the various chapter discussions so I think this week we can continue in those areas dialoging about what we think or noticed etc etc. I am going to post some general questions here but not too many because a lot of the main topics of the book are already being discussed in the chapter sections and I think we can just continue on there this week. (I am just going to edit down the questions so people can do a general wrap up)So feel free to jump in on those. No one is too late. I think most of us are going back and forth reading new comments and thoughts as they are posted on any of the chapters and adding our thoughts.

The following are the list of wrap up questions feel free to comment here.

1. Prior to reading Leap of Faith what was your perception of Jordan and the Middle East? Did reading this book change your opinion in any way? How is it different to get a personal rather than journalistic account?

2. What surprised you the most about Queen Noor?

3. With its obvious slant and anti American and anti Israeli remarks why do you think this book has become a best seller here in America?

4. What will you most remember from Leap of Faith?

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1. Linni - September 25, 2006

What great questions! I’m going to take #3 for now. I have a few reasons why I believe the reason “Leap of Faith” has become a best seller. 1) People enjoy getting the “inside scoop” on celebrities and her name suggests that, Queen Noor. 2) A lot of Jordan has been unknown to us and this was a way to understand their culture and 3) in my opinion this book has a lot of liberal idyllic view points and to quote Anne Coulter, “Liberal’s hate America”. This book at various places blends right into their ideology and backs up their belief systems that America as a whole is โ€œbadโ€. Well at least it makes sense to me.

2. Ashleigh - September 25, 2006

I agree with Lini. Many in the US are very anti-American. Just look at Hollywood. There are many actors who are anti-war, anti-Bush, and move (or threaten to move) to Britian or France to get away from our country. And then most of the news channels (except Fox) have anti-American sentiment. It’s everywhere.

I also think it is a best-seller because of the marketing. It wasn’t marketed as a political, anti-American and anti-Israel book (which it is). It was marketed as a “King and I” type love story. So I bet many people bought the book thinking they were going to get something very different than they did.

3. Danielle - September 26, 2006

Nice header, Bethany! ๐Ÿ™‚

4. Amy - September 26, 2006

Well, I haven’t been able to post yet, but I have really enjoyed reading this book with everyone!
Question #4 “What will you most remember from Leap of Faith?”
The things that struck me the most were
1. How much Queen Noor respected her husband and how much the people seemed to respect him. He sounded like a great man. Obviously, she’s not going to write a book slamming her dead husband, but still, in a world where you have TV shows portraying stupid dads and women who hate their husbands, it was nice to hear the obvious love and respect she had for him.
2. How much he (and she) both cared for the people and country of Jordan and how deeply they felt the issues affecting the people. I thought it was neat (for lack of a better word…sorry, I’m really tired right now!) how several times, particularly on returning from the US after being sick/surgery that he would ride through the city standing in the car to be near to the people. I think at one point she said that she was holding his legs inside the car to provide some support because he was so weak. I respected him more because of the way he truly loved his country.
3. I can’t say that I read many books with the ol’ “I hate America” anthem playing in the background, but it was facinating to me to hear the whole “other side” of the Palestine/Israel issue and get the Jordanian slant on it. It’s like anything, if you believe it’s true, and you don’t have the full picture (’cause really, who does?) you’ll be able to find a thousand things to back it up and then, “prove” that your beliefs are true.

5. bethany3boys - September 27, 2006

Amy I really admired how much she respected her husband too. I thought she was very commendable as a wife and her love and respect for him showed. That was something that pleasantly surprised me.

I also like reading the other side of things. It IS facinating and gives one a better WORLD view. So while it is sometimes hard to read things I don’t agree with I think it is soooo good to do. Stretches me. I feel like this book really opened my eyes to what the other side thinks. It has made me a little more compassionate and reminded me that there are people on both sides and helped me understand a little bit more of where they are coming from. While I am still not convinced and don’t agree with a lot of what she wrote it has still given me an understanding and I am glad I have read the book for that reason.

6. Jane Swanson - September 27, 2006

I agree with Ashleigh as to why this book was a best seller. It was marketed as a “King and I” love story. She indicated in her book how she really disliked the label of “storybook romance” on her marriage, too, so it was obvious that this was the way the press wanted to portray their marriage. If I wasn’t reading this book for the book club, I probably would not have finished it, as I was expecting the “romance”.

I don’t believe this book was a best seller because so many in this country “hate America”. The liberal press would like us to believe that but it just isn’t true. Sure, there are those sentiments and they are freely expressed but there is overwhelming evidence in polls, etc. that Americans love their country and are much more conservative that we are led to believe.

7. Ashleigh - September 27, 2006

Jane, you’re right. There are many, many people in our country who love America. One of my husband’s favorite websites is Free Republic which has tons of people who are conservation and patriotic posting every day. Unfortunately it seems that many times the loudest voices are those who don’t like our country and don’t support our president. So at times it feels like we live in a very unpatriotic, unsupportive country. It’s good to be reminded of what you mentioned. ๐Ÿ™‚

I also liked how much Queen Noor seemed to respect and admire her husband. And how even when she advised him one way and he went in another direction she supported him and strove to cover him with grace. I think I can learn from her example in that area.

However, like Jane, I doubt I would’ve finished this book if it weren’t for the book club. I had a hard time knowing when to believe she was really telling us “like it was” because I felt like she purposely ommitted historical details throughout the book. So it was a difficult read for me. And while I know I should be grateful for exposure to another worldview, I didn’t feel that way when I finished the book. I felt like I didn’t get an honest view of the other side, instead like I got one that was politically tailored.

8. Ashleigh - September 27, 2006

Oops .. I meant “conservative” not “conservation.” I’m not good with spelling when I’m posting quickly.

9. Jaree - September 28, 2006

I think I will take away from reading this book a reminder to always question events, especially political ones, and seek the opinions on both sides to get a clearer picture. We are very lucky to live in a country where we are allowed to do that and information is available to us, sometimes openly, but always for the seeking.

And secondly, I have a renewed desire to always see gifted diplomats and peace-makers at work in the volatile Middle East, and hopefully we can find means to support their efforts.

It was not a book I would have picked on my own, but I am very glad to have had the opportunity to “read” it and think about the Middle East in a different light.

10. Nicole - September 28, 2006

I agree with Jaree, I think that I have a new resolve to think even more critically about political events, reports, newspaper articles especially concerning the Middle East. This book wasn’t really a biography in my opinion. I was Queen Noor’s political discourse. I think once I figured that out, I was less frustrated with the book. When I first began reading this book, I too thought it would be her story of meeting the king, the fascinating life she led. And although she certainly included that, I really felt that she wrote this book not to tell the story of her life to others, but to pursuade readers of her point of view. To put a human side to the conflict in the Middle East, which, when I think of it seems to be exactly what her life was about. Reading while thinking critically is always something I attempt to do, but this book then brought me to a whole new level of reading, researching, discussing, and making sure I knew what I believed and felt. That’s a little different that reading the story of once’s life. And I was so glad for the opportunity!

11. Ashleigh - September 28, 2006

I know that I’m coming across as very close-minded and ungrateful when it comes to this book and Queen Noor’s political stance. I came to the book after four years of hearing my husband talk about and critically evaulate Middle East events as reported in the media. So I was accustomed to already not believing everything I hear about that region, but instead knowing to dig deeper.

I just had a really hard time reading what appear to be purposeful lies in order to sell one’s political beliefs. I know that’s strong language to use, but Queen Noor is a well-educated woman with a strong political alliance. Because she is a very intelligent, I don’t think that the ommissions were merely accidental. I think they were very purposeful. Had I felt like she had tried to present her side of the story, while at the same time balancing it with all the details of certain events, then I would have been much more receptive and apprective of hearing what she had to say. But she lost my trust early on in the book with the deceptiveness.

12. Karen - September 28, 2006

I would agree that most of her writing seemed quite strategic, at best especially in the realm of Arab/Israeli relations. She also put in subtle(or not so subtle) digs about the U.S. (Did you notice the one about visiting her dad in New England, a place that he loved and thought very beautiful, and them thinking that the natural landscape w/ the “scraggly grass” was ugly and would never enjoy visiting there? Even the landscape was up negative criticism!) From her earliest memoirs she claims to have had an agenda.(ie:Vietnam, women’s rights, etc.) She seemed to often contradict herself and seemed especially out of touch with budget economics. She often classified herself, from childhood through royalty, as someone w/ not a lot of money. Going to the country’s best private schools, dining w/ heads of state and royalty around the world, shopping in Franch and England, owning multiple homes. On the one hand she said they did not have much and on the other she would say that they had to try and downplay their wealth at times. Huh?
We seem to be under the impression that our nation is one of anti- American libs. I think that it just looks that way because the very liberal media has billions of dollars and controls 95% of the information we receive. I would venture to say that 3/4 of the people in our country are proud to be here, are patriotic and love their children and families much like we do.
There were many points that I disagreed w/ in this book. I think is important that we remain open to being criticized by others, however, and then thoughtfully examining ourselves in light of those criticisms. We may still come away totally disagreeing w/ our critic but often there are things that we can learn about ourselves and change for good.
Even faults we may find in Noor can challenge us to be different in our own lives.
I found her energy and love for people in need inspirational. We are commanded to love others as we love ourselves. Sometimes we as Christians, throw the baby out w/ the bathwater when looking at the lives of others and we forget (even if for a moment) that our Jesus expects us to love others and spread the gospel of truth to a hurting and lost world. We tend to criticize others more than we act on that command, therefore making the unchurched humanitarians look better than we do in the effort to change the world. What are we trying to change it for? I have come away from this reading w/ a reminder that I should have my eyes on world change solely for the sake of the Kingdom.

13. Heather - September 28, 2006

I, too, found this a more difficult read because of the subtle and not so subtle bias prevalent throughout the book. There were times when I became very frustrated reading passages that on the surface seemed “neutral” but were in fact “loaded” with issues. It certainly makes me want to read and analyze news more critically — on both sides of an issue.

That being said, I did think there were some positives in the book. Her advice to her children on page 363 sums up her perspective well: “My responsibility as mother, wife, and Queen was to encourage the children to develop their own individual talents and to prepare to serve their country in whatever fashion they were most suited, with humility and devotion. No one should expect only a future of royal privilege.” She is definitely an individual who knows her giftings, has honed her giftings, and is using them to benefit others around her, and not just herself. I think the fruit of her labor in both the social realm (her Foundation and its projects) and the personal realm (her constant support of Hussein) demonstrates the extent of her devotion.

I also thought it was enlightening to hear about war from the perspective of one who has witnessed it on her own soil. It gave me more compassion for the common people who are hurt by the inevitable destruction of infrastructure and loss of civilian lives that will occur when bombs are going off in your city. I know that is an inevitable part of war, but we as Americans haven’t seen that on our soil since when? The War of 1812? I just read to my daughter about how the English burned all the books in the Library of Congress during that war — what was that accomplishing? And yet, war brings out senseless rage on both sides.

Finally, I think our “disconnect” with what’s going on on the ground in other countries can lead to the silly focus on mundane events she points out (Lorena Bobbitt, OJ, Tonya Harding, etc.)

And on that note, I have to scram, because my ride just arrived! Sorry to cut my comments short!

14. Danielle - September 28, 2006

Just a quick thought. I didn’t read the book, but I did want to make a comment about the genre. The book was a memoir. Not a biography or researched history. Although non-fiction, a memoir is a person’s view of his/her life, events, or thoughts on virtually anything . It doesn’t have to be unbiased, or always “true” in the literal sense, as it deals with a person’s memories/feelings of things that happened to them, etc. For that reason, it’s good to not take everything presented in a memoir as “fact” as indeed, it sounds like most of you were critical readers. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

15. bethany3boys - September 28, 2006

Well, this WAS a harder read for me too (couldn’t read it before bed or I feel asleep reading HEE HEE) but I am glad that I read the book and finished it. I chose this book because it was recommended by some of my friends. I knew it was going to be controversial in our group but I think it made for some great discussions and such. So I hope for those of you that didn’t enjoy the book that you enjoyed the discussions and that you enjoyed digging deeper into what you believe and enjoyed thinking and stretching. I know I am paying more attention to politics in the Middle East now and I am curious about a lot of things I would have passed over before.

Yes there was a lot I didn’t agree with and she annoyed me in some parts of the book but like Danielle said it is a Memoir it is “Her” story the way “She” sees things. I do think that it has helped me shed light on why others think and see things the way she does. While I don’t think what she believes on a lot of things is truth I still enjoyed reading her view. I also felt it was so helpful like Heather, to read about the war on their soil and what that means. I think that would be so hard. I think as Americans we can so easily align ourselves with our political parties and support the war without giving thought to all the consequences of war. Yes, I support our President and our soilders and I do think they are doing the right thing but I ache for the people that are involved. I think how horrible that must be to see your children or husband killed or to worry about that threat on a daily basis. I think if somthing like that were happening on our soil I would want it over yesterday! But I understand there were awful things going on with Sadaam too so we are trying to make it better and I think eventually we will. And yes Heather, I HATE OUR NEWS!!! I mean really the stories they cover that are just silly and ridiculous. I remember seeing the movie Hotel Rawanda and thinking the same thing…How come we didn’t have that plasterd all over the news when it was happening!!!! That is news not who Brad Pitt’s latest girlfriend is.

In her book I loved how she loved her husband and respected him, I loved how she loved Jordan and the people and worked very hard to make it a better place. She truly was and is a great humanitarian. And she is an example to us to be looking for ways to serve and help others even when it is difficult. It was also fun reading about all the interaction between state leaders and officals…facinating.

I didn’t like how she bashed Israel. I didn’t like when she was critical of America or our policies without giving the whole picture…but it was her memoir…would I do the same if I wrote one, do I do the same when I align myself with a cause without fully knowing all the details? I mean when she wrote about the child treaty I was thinking why didn’t we sign that what is wrong with us but I didn’t know all the details. Just as she may not have. I know now before opening my mouth about something I sure want to know all of what I am commiting too. I didn’t like how she contradicted herself on things on lots of levels in the book. With a limited press in the Arab world I am sure there are a lot of things that are false being presented as truth because there is no one to challenge the statements (of course looking at our media your would think the same thing…although we have people challenging it on other levels…and we have FOX and WORLD hee hee). She herself wrote about certain Arab leaders in history changing doctrine or truths about Islam to further their political control or causes.

But for all the dislikes I had with this book I come away from reading it feeling challenged, feeling like I “listened” and heard out the other side. Feeling motivated to dig into this history more, to analyze what is going on now more, to have more compassion for people living with war on their soil. I feel like I understand things in the Middle East that I never did before like the Shite and Sunni difference. I feel like passages in the Bible have come more alive to me reading this book. I was reading Genesis while I read this book so reading the story of Abraham and Sarah and Issac and Ishmel while reading this book made me even more aware of how Big My God is. I was convicted reading this book in the way she honored her husband…I want to do that to analyze what I do and make sure that all my choices would bring honor to him and support him. I know that reading this book has made me more compassionate. I know that God loves Arabs and Israeli’s and my job is to love, worship and reflect him. I feel like this book has taken me a step closer to truly FEELING that compassion.

Aren’t you glad our book selection is so diverse!!! I don’t know if any of you have started dipping in the next selection but I think it is going to be a fast read and a great follow up to this book. I am excited to jump in to Peace Like A River…and reading before I go to bed again. HEE HEE.

Thanks again gals for participating…especially those of you that didn’t think they were going to make it through the book…Thanks for perservering and sticking through it and jumping in the discussions and for your honesty…your participation has made this book club all the better. I am really looking forward to this next year and all the reading that I get to do with such a great bunch of women.

16. Michelle - September 28, 2006

Hey, Just wanted to say great point to Danielle…. Not much else on my mind right now. haha.

17. Karen - September 28, 2006

Ditto! Great point Danielle. Isn’t it funny how we get so caught up in analyzing so many things…converations w/our husbands, friends or co-workers that we read so much into them?

18. bethany3boys - September 30, 2006

Today is the last day to post any further comments on Leap of Faith…then we are closing this book and moving on to the next!! ๐Ÿ™‚

19. anneswanson3 - October 1, 2006

I totally blew the disscussion on this book. I promise to be better from now on ๐Ÿ™‚
You ladies summed it all up pretty good…what else to say?
While it was a hard read for me too, I did enjoy it. Not my favorite or anything. IT felt more like a book I would have read for a class in college.
I liked her for how she loved her husband, respected him, she loved Jordan and the people threre. She is an example to us on how to serve and help others .
I also found it interesting reading about all the interactions between officals…being the history nerd I am, but like Danielle pointed out it is her views, and probably most of what she says is true, it is always good to be mindful that this is one persons point of view. Learning and knowing about other views, beliefs, ideas, etc. is good in order to affirm what you think…plus it makes it easier to argue your point, but also to understand where others are coming from. And like Ashleigh said, “I just had a really hard time reading what appear to be purposeful lies in order to sell oneโ€™s political beliefs.” Totally agree with that. I felt that often throughout the book, and that annoys me to no end.
I donโ€™t agree with a lot of what she wrote it has still given me a different view and understanding. She is a woman who loved her husband, her country, the people threre. She has a passion for the people of Jordan.
Now onward to the next book!

20. Samantha - September 24, 2007

Interesting that most people seem to see Queen Noor as being mainly respectful of her husband. I think a husband should be respectful of his wife and try to integrate into her life as well as her into his.

After she miscarried her first baby he took her away and never mentioned it. When she broke down and started to cry he didn’t comfort her but rather told her it was hard on him too. Her response to this was to say that he was teaching her a lesson – that there are bigger things than her. At a certain point he should be there for her and only her.

I didn’t see this as a love story at all. I saw it as a story of dedication, yes but not love or equality in marriage.

Because I don’t believe the love story I am most interested in the political and history aspects of the book.


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