I’m late to the This I Believe party … about 60 years late it seems, since the program has been on air since the 1950s. Now it’s a regular podcast in my iTunes and I’m loving the little snippets of inspiration and thoughtfulness from famous and regular people alike. No two segments are alike: last week I listened to Colin Powell share his belief in welcoming immigrants to the US, and the week before author Amy Tan shared her belief in ghosts.
This week’s podcast from the older, 1950s clips really struck me. The gentleman is J. Frank Dobie, writer, folklorist and journalist from Texas. In his essay for the radio program, Dobie declares that:
“For me, the beautiful resides in the physical, but it is spiritual. I have never heard a sermon as spiritual in either phrase or fact as, “Waters on a starry night are beautiful and free.” No hymn lifts my heart higher than the morning call of the bobwhite or the long fluting cry of sandhill cranes out of the sky at dusk. I have never smelled incense in a church as refining to the spirit as a spring breeze laden with aroma from a field of bluebonnets.”
His middle ground between dogmatic religion and naturalistic spirituality recall the courtroom scene in Inherit the Wind. As the discussion after the podcast also points out, Dobie also reaches back to a time when one could believe in God AND evolution at the same time and not be troubled. When did this schism happen? When did God and evolution become mutually exclusive?
If, like me, you haven’t discovered this wonder yet, please check it out. The podcasts are a great way to start, or listen to the audio on the website. There are also thousands of essays on the website organized by topic. It’s a great way to pass a rainy afternoon. And while this particular one touches on a question of religion/spirituality I have long been intrigued with, they are not all this heavy-duty. Promise. 🙂