Literature

Literature & Spirituality

Daniel Whyte III

Literature is defined as "imaginative or creative writing, especially of recognized artistic value." Spirituality is defined as "the quality or state of being concerned with religion or religious matters." The purpose of this podcast is to examine how these two subjects intersect with one another and how they relate to our lives.

Episodes

Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 21 -- Augustine's "Confessions"; Reading a Story, Pt. 25 -- How Much Does a Narrator Know?
17:20
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 17:20
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 21 -- Augustine's "Confessions"; Reading a Story, Pt. 25 -- How Much Does a Narrator Know?

Our passage from the Word of God today is Luke 1:63 which reads: "And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all."

Our quote today is from Ezra Pound. He said: "Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree."

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt, and "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 21" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

Today, we will continue reading a selection from Augustine's "Confessions."

This selection is from Book I - Childhood / Chapter 6 - The Infant Augustine

Still, dust and ashes as I am, allow me to speak before thy mercy. Allow me to speak, for, behold, it is to thy mercy that I speak and not to a man who scorns me. Yet perhaps even thou mightest scorn me; but when thou dost turn and attend to me, thou wilt have mercy upon me. For what do I wish to say, O Lord my God, but that I know not whence I came hither into this life-in-death. Or should I call it death-in-life? I do not know. And yet the consolations of thy mercy have sustained me from the very beginning, as I have heard from my fleshly parents, from whom and in whom thou didst form me in time - for I cannot myself remember. Thus even though they sustained me by the consolation of woman’s milk, neither my mother nor my nurses filled their own breasts but thou, through them, didst give me the food of infancy according to thy ordinance and thy bounty which underlie all things...

...

Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 25" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Today, we will continue taking a look at How Much Does a Narrator Know?

In the objective point of view, the narrator does not enter the mind of any character but describes events from the outside. Telling us what people say and how their faces look, he or she leaves us to infer their thoughts and feelings. So inconspicuous is the narrator that this point of view has been called "the fly on the wall." This metaphor assumes the existence of a fly with a highly discriminating gaze, who knows which details to look for to communicate the deepest meaning. Some critics would say that in the objective point of view, the narrator disappears altogether. Consider this passage by a writer famous for remaining objective, Dashiell Hammett, in his mystery novel The Maltese Falcon, describing his private detective Sam Spade.

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Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 20 -- Augustine's "Confessions"; Reading a Story, Pt. 24 -- How Much Does a Narrator Know?
13:49
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 13:49
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 20 -- Augustine's "Confessions"; Reading a Story, Pt. 24 -- How Much Does a Narrator Know?

Our passage from the Word of God today is 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 which reads: "Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart."

Our quote today is from W. H. Auden. He said: "A real book is not one that’s read, but one that reads us."

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt, and "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 20" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

Today, we will continue reading a selection from Augustine's "Confessions."

This selection is from Book I - Childhood / Chapter 5 - Augustine's Prayer

Who shall bring me to rest in thee? Who will send thee into my heart so to overwhelm it that my sins shall be blotted out and I may embrace thee, my only good? What art thou to me? Have mercy that I may speak. What am I to thee that thou shouldst command me to love thee, and if I do it not, art angry and threatenest vast misery? Is it, then, a trifling sorrow not to love thee? It is not so to me. Tell me, by thy mercy, O Lord, my God, what thou art to me. “Say to my soul, I am your salvation." So speak that I may hear. Behold, the ears of my heart are before thee, O Lord; open them and “say to my soul, I am your salvation.” I will hasten after that voice, and I will lay hold upon thee. Hide not thy face from me. Even if I die, let me see thy face lest I die.

...

Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 23" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Today, we're taking a look at How Much Does a Narrator Know?

The all-knowing (or omniscient) narrator sees into the minds of all (or some) characters, moving when necessary from one to another. This is the point of view in "Godfather Death," in which the narrator knows the feelings and motives of the father, of the doctor, and even of Death himself. Since he adds an occasional comment or opinion, this narrator may be said also to show editorial omniscience (as we can tell from his disapproving remark that the doctor "should have remembered" and his observation the the father did not understand "how wisely God shares our wealth and poverty"). A narrator who shows impartial omniscience presents the thoughts and actions of the characters, but does not judge them or comment on them.

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Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 17 -- Augustine's "Confessions"; Reading a Story, Pt. 21 -- Point of View
14:04
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 14:04
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 17 -- Augustine's "Confessions"; Reading a Story, Pt. 21 -- Point of View

Our passage from the Word of God today is Revelation 1:3 which reads: "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."   Our quote today is from Gustave Flaubert. He said: "An author in his book must be like God in His universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere."   Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 17" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.   Today, we're taking a brief look at Augustine.   Augustine (354-430) lived during the decline of the Roman Empire. His pagan father ensured that Augustine received an excellent education. Beyond this fact, his father's influence on Augustine seems to have been marginal. However, his mother's influence was very powerful. She was a Christian who over the years, became very strong in her faith. Perhaps her spiritual growth can be linked to her prayerful struggles with God over the destiny of her rebellious and confused son. Born and educated in northern Africa, Augustine eventually taught rhetoric (effective speaking and critical thinking) in Rome and Milan, Italy. After his conversion to Christianity, he returned to North Africa and served as an influential bishop and a defender of orthodox Christian doctrines.   ...   Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 21" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.   Today, we're taking a look at Point of View.   In the opening lines of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain takes care to separate himself from the leading character, who is to tell his own story. It begins: "You don't know about me, without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly."   Twain wrote the novel, but the narrator or speaker is Huck Finn, a fictional character who supposedly tells the story. Obviously, in Huckleberry Finn, the narrator of the story is not the same person as the "real-life" author. In employing Huck as his narrator, Twain selects a special angle of vision: not his own, exactly, but that of a resourceful boy moving through the thick of events, with a mind at times shrewd, at other times innocent. Through Huck's eyes, Twain takes in certain scenes, actions, and characters and - as only Huck's angle of vision could have enabled Twain to do so well - records them memorably.   ...

Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 16 -- Gospel of Luke; Reading a Story, Pt. 20 -- Thinking About Plot
18:48
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 18:48
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 16 -- Gospel of Luke; Reading a Story, Pt. 20 -- Thinking About Plot

Our passage from the Word of God today is Exodus 32:15-16 which reads: "And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables."   Our quote today is from Arthur Schopenhauer. He said: "Without books the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are the engines of change, windows on the world, ''Lighthouses'' as the poet said ''erected in the sea of time.'' They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print."   Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 16" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.   Today, we're reading a selection from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15, Three Parables About Losing and Finding (Including the Prodigal Son).   "Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing..."   ...   Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 20" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.   Today, we're taking a look at Thinking About Plot.   A day without conflict is pleasant, but a story without conflict is boring. The plot of every short story, novel, or movie derives its energy from conflict. A character desperately wants something he or she can’t have, or is frantic to avoid an unpleasant (or deadly) event. In most stories, conflict is established and tension builds, leading to a crisis and, finally, a resolution of some sort. When analyzing a story, be sure to remember these points: Plotting isn’t superficial. Although plot might seem like the most obvious and superficial part of a story, it is an important expressive device. Plot combines with the other elements of fiction - imagery, style, and symbolism, for example - to create an emotional response in the reader: suspense, humor, sadness, excitement, terror.   ...

Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 14 -- Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha"; Reading a Story, Pt. 18 -- John Updike's "A&P" Continued
19:42
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 19:42
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 14 -- Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha"; Reading a Story, Pt. 18 -- John Updike's "A&P" Continued

Our passage from the Word of God today is 1 Timothy 4:13 which reads: "Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine."

Our quote today is from Frederick Douglas. He said: "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free."

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 14" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

We are continuing our selection from Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha:

The Ferryman (Part 7)

Kamala never stopped looking into his eyes. She thought about her pilgrimage to Gotama, which wanted to take, in order to see the face of the perfected one, to breathe his peace, and she thought that she had now found him in his place, and that it was good, just as good, as if she had seen the other one. She wanted to tell this to him, but the tongue no longer obeyed her will. Without speaking, she looked at him, and he saw the life fading from her eyes. When the final pain filled her eyes and made them grow dim, when the final shiver ran through her limbs, his finger closed her eyelids.

...

Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 18" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

We are continuing our selection of John Updike's short story, "A & P":

A & P (Part 4)

All this while, the customers had been showing up with their carts but, you know, sheep, seeing a scene, they had all bunched up on Stokesie, who shook open a paper bag as gently as peeling a peach, not wanting to miss a word. I could feel in the silence everybody getting nervous, most of all Lengel, who asks me, "Sammy, have you rung up this purchase?"

I thought and said "No" but it wasn't about that I was thinking. I go through the punches, 4, 9, GROC, TOT -- it's more complicated than you think, and after you do it often enough, it begins to make a lttle song, that you hear words to, in my case "Hello (bing) there, you (gung) hap-py pee-pul (splat)"-the splat being the drawer flying out. I uncrease the bill, tenderly as you may imagine, it just having come from between the two smoothest scoops of vanilla I had ever known were there, and pass a half and a penny into her narrow pink palm, and nestle the herrings in a bag and twist its neck and hand it over, all the time thinking.

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Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 13 -- Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha"; Reading a Story, Pt. 17 -- John Updike's "A&P" Continued
21:37
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 21:37
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 13 -- Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha"; Reading a Story, Pt. 17 -- John Updike's "A&P" Continued

Our passage from the Word of God today is Job 19:23 which reads: "Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!"

Our quote today is from John Green. He said: "Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book."

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 13" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

We are continuing our selection from Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha:

The Ferryman (Part 6)

Kamala's wound was washed, but had already turned black and her body was swollen, she was made to drink a healing potion. Her consciousness returned, she lay on Siddhartha's bed in the hut and bent over her stood Siddhartha, who used to love her so much. It seemed like a dream to her; with a smile, she looked at her friend's face; just slowly she, realized her situation, remembered the bite, called timidly for the boy.

"He's with you, don't worry," said Siddhartha.

Kamala looked into his eyes. She spoke with a heavy tongue, paralysed by the poison. "You've become old, my dear," she said, "you've become gray. But you are like the young Samana, who at one time came without clothes, with dusty feet, to me into the garden. You are much more like him, than you were like him at that time when you had left me and Kamaswami. In the eyes, you're like him, Siddhartha. Alas, I have also grown old, old--could you still recognise me?"

Siddhartha smiled: "Instantly, I recognised you, Kamala, my dear."

Kamala pointed to her boy and said: "Did you recognise him as well? He is your son."

...

Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 17" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

We are continuing our selection of John Updike's short story, "A & P":

A & P (Part 3)

The girls had reached the meat counter and were asking McMahon something. He pointed, they pointed, and they shuffled out of sight behind a pyramid of Diet Delight peaches. All that was left for us to see was old McMahon patting his mouth and looking after them sizing up their joints. Poor kids, I began to feel sorry for them, they couldn't help it.

Now here comes the sad part of the story, at:least my family says it's sad but I don't think it's sad myself. The store's pretty empty, it being Thursday afternoon, so there was nothing much to do except lean on the register and wait for the girls to show up again. The whole store was like a pinball machine and I didn't know which tunnel they'd come out of. After a while they come around out of the far aisle, around the light bulbs, records at discount of the Caribbean Six or Tony Martin Sings or some such gunk you wonder they waste the wax on, sixpacks of candy bars, and plastic toys done up in cellophane that faIl apart when a kid looks at them anyway. Around they come, Queenie still leading the way, and holding a little gray jar in her hand. Slots Three through Seven are unmanned and I could see her wondering between Stokes and me, but Stokesie with his usual luck draws an old party in baggy gray pants who stumbles up with four giant cans of pineapple juice (what do these bums do with all that pineapple juice' I've often asked myself) so the girls come to me. Queenie puts down the jar and I take it into my fingers icy cold. Kingfish Fancy Herring Snacks in Pure Sour Cream: 49¢. Now her hands are empty, not a ring or a bracelet, bare as God made them, and I wonder where the money's coming from. Still with that prim look she lifts a folded dollar bill out of the hollow at the center of her nubbled pink top. The jar went heavy in my hand. Really, I thought that was so cute.

...

Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 12 -- Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha"; Reading a Story, Pt. 16 -- John Updike's "A&P" Continued
21:32
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 21:32
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 12 -- Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha"; Reading a Story, Pt. 16 -- John Updike's "A&P" Continued

Our passage from the Word of God today is Psalm 45:1 which reads: "My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer."

Our quote today is from Lafcadio Hearn. He said: "For this reason, to study English literature without some general knowledge of the relation of the Bible to that literature would be to leave one's literary education very incomplete."

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 12" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

We are continuing our selection from Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha:

The Ferryman (Part 5)

The years passed by, and nobody counted them. Then, at one time, monks came by on a pilgrimage, followers of Gotama the Buddha, who were asking to be ferried across the river, and by them the ferrymen were told that they were were most hurriedly walking back to their great teacher, for the news had spread the exalted one was deadly sick and would soon die his last human death, in order to become one with the salvation. It was not long, until a new flock of monks came along on their pilgrimage, and another one, and the monks as well as most of the other travellers and people walking through the land spoke of nothing else than of Gotama and his impending death. And as people are flocking from everywhere and from all sides, when they are going to war or to the coronation of a king, and are gathering like ants in droves, thus they flocked, like being drawn on by a magic spell, to where the great Buddha was awaiting his death, where the huge event was to take place and the great perfected one of an era was to become one with the glory.

Often, Siddhartha thought in those days of the dying wise man, the great teacher, whose voice had admonished nations and had awoken hundreds of thousands, whose voice he had also once heard, whose holy face he had also once seen with respect. Kindly, he thought of him, saw his path to perfection before his eyes, and remembered with a smile those words which he had once, as a young man, said to him, the exalted one. They had been, so it seemed to him, proud and precocious words; with a smile, he remembered them. For a long time he knew that there was nothing standing between Gotama and him any more, though he was still unable to accept his teachings. No, there was no teaching a truly searching person, someone who truly wanted to find, could accept. But he who had found, he could approve of any teachings, every path, every goal, there was nothing standing between him and all the other thousand any more who lived in that what is eternal, who breathed what is divine.

...

Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 16" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

We are continuing our selection of John Updike's short story, "A & P":

A & P (Part 2)

She must have felt in the corner of her eye me and over my shoulder Stokesie in the second slot watching, but she didn't tip. Not this queen. She kept her eyes moving across the racks, and stopped, and turned so slow it made my stomach rub the inside of my apron, and buzzed to the other two, who kind of huddled against her for relief, and they all three of them went up the cat-and-dog-food-breakfast-cereal-macaroni-ri ce-raisins-seasonings-spreads-spaghetti-soft drinks- rackers-and- cookies aisle. From the third slot I look straight up this aisle to the meat counter, and I watched them all the way. The fat one with the tan sort of fumbled with the cookies, but on second thought she put the packages back. The sheep pushing their carts down the aisle -- the girls were walking against the usual traffic (not that we have one-way signs or anything) -- were pretty hilarious. You could see them, when Queenie's white shoulders dawned on them, kind of jerk, or hop, or hiccup, but their eyes snapped back to their own baskets and on they pushed. I bet you could set off dynamite in an A & P and the people would by and large keep reaching and checking oatmeal off their lists and muttering "Let me see, there was a third thing, began with A, asparagus, no, ah, yes, applesauce!" or whatever it is they do mutter. But there was no doubt, this jiggled them. A few house-slaves in pin curlers even looked around after pushing their carts past to make sure what they had seen was correct.

You know, it's one thing to have a girl in a bathing suit down on the beach, where what with the glare nobody can look at each other much anyway, and another thing in the cool of the A & P, under the fluorescent lights, against all those stacked packages, with her feet paddling along naked over our checkerboard green-and-cream rubber-tile floor.

...

Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 11 -- Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha"; Reading a Story, Pt. 15 -- John Updike's "A&P"
20:06
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 20:06
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 11 -- Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha"; Reading a Story, Pt. 15 -- John Updike's "A&P"

Our passage from the Word of God today is Exodus 32:15-16 which reads: "And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables."

Our quote today is from Lawrence Clark Powell. He said: "To achieve lasting literature, fictional or factual, a writer needs perceptive vision, absorptive capacity, and creative strength."

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 11" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

We are continuing our selection from Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha:

The Ferryman (Part 4)

And once again, when the river had just increased its flow in the rainy season and made a powerful noise, then said Siddhartha: "Isn't it so, oh friend, the river has many voices, very many voices? Hasn't it the voice of a king, and of a warrior, and of a bull, and of a bird of the night, and of a woman giving birth, and of a sighing man, and a thousand other voices more?"

"So it is," Vasudeva nodded, "all voices of the creatures are in its voice."

"And do you know," Siddhartha continued, "what word it speaks, when you succeed in hearing all of its ten thousand voices at once?"

Happily, Vasudeva's face was smiling, he bent over to Siddhartha and spoke the holy Om into his ear. And this had been the very thing which Siddhartha had also been hearing.

...

Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 15" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Now, let's begin reading John Updike's short story, "A & P":

A & P (Part 1)

In walks these three girls in nothing but bathing suits. I'm in the third check-out slot, with my back to the door, so I don't see them until they're over by the bread. The one that caught my eye first was the one in the plaid green two-piece. She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft-looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the backs of her legs. I stood there with my hand on a box of HiHo crackers trying to remember if I rang it up or not. I ring it up again and the customer starts giving me hell. She's one of these cash-register-watchers, a witch about fifty with rouge on her cheekbones and no eyebrows, and I know it made her day to trip me up. She'd been watching cash registers forty years and probably never seen a mistake before.

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Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 10 -- Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha"; Reading a Story, Pt. 13 -- John Updike
15:55
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 15:55
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 10 -- Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha"; Reading a Story, Pt. 13 -- John Updike

Our passage from the Word of God today is 2 Chronicles 35:25 which reads: "And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations."

Our quote today is from Cyril Connolly. He said: "While thoughts exist, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living."

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt, and "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 10" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

We are continuing our selection from Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha:

The Ferryman (Part 3)Siddhartha stayed with the ferryman and learned to operate the boat, and when there was nothing to do at the ferry, he worked with Vasudeva in the rice-field, gathered wood, plucked the fruit off the banana-trees. He learned to build an oar, and learned to mend the boat, and to weave baskets, and was joyful because of everything he learned, and the days and months passed quickly. But more than Vasudeva could teach him, he was taught by the river. Incessantly, he learned from it. Most of all, he learned from it to listen, to pay close attention with a quiet heart, with a waiting, opened soul, without passion, without a wish, without judgement, without an opinion.

.......

Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 14" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

John UpdikeJohn Updike (1932-2009), was born in Pennsylvania, received his B. A. from Harvard, then went to Oxford to study drawing and fine art. In the mid-1950s he worked on the staff of the New Yorker, at times doing errands for the aged James Thurber. Although he left the magazine to become a full-time writer, Updike continued to supply it with memorable stories, witty light verse, and searching reviews. A famously prolific writer, he published more than fifty books. Updike is best known as a hardworking, versatile, highly productive writer of fiction. For his novel "The Centaur" (published in 1963) he received a National Book Award, and for "Rabbit Is Rich" (published in 1982) a Pulitzer Prize and an American Book Award. The fourth and last Rabbit Angstrom novel, "Rabbit at Rest" (published in 1990), won him a second Pulitzer. Updike is one of the few Americans ever to be awarded both the National Medal of Arts (1989) and the National Humanities Medal (2003) - the nation's highest honors in each respective field. His many other books include "The Witches of Eastwick" (published in 1984), made into a successful film starring Jack Nicholson, "Terrorist" (published in 2006), and his final novel, "The Widows of Eastwick" (published in 2008).

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Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 9 -- Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha"; Reading a Story, Pt. 13 -- Short Story
19:56
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 19:56
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 9 -- Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha"; Reading a Story, Pt. 13 -- Short Story

Our passage from the Word of God today is 1 Chronicles 29:29 which reads: "Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer."

Our quote today is from F. Scott Fitzgerald. He said: "That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong."

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt, and "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase any one of these books from our website.

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 9" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

We are continuing our selection from Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha:

The Ferryman (Part 2)

Vasudeva listened with great attention. Listening carefully, he let everything enter his mind, birthplace and childhood, all that learning, all that searching, all joy, all distress. This was among the ferryman's virtues one of the greatest: like only a few, he knew how to listen. Without him having spoken a word, the speaker sensed how Vasudeva let his words enter his mind, quiet, open, waiting, how he did not lose a single one, awaited not a single one with impatience, did not add his praise or rebuke, was just listening. Siddhartha felt, what a happy fortune it is, to confess to such a listener, to burry in his heart his own life, his own search, his own suffering.

But in the end of Siddhartha's tale, when he spoke of the tree by the river, and of his deep fall, of the holy Om, and how he had felt such a love for the river after his slumber, the ferryman listened with twice the attention, entirely and completely absorbed by it, with his eyes closed.

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Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 13" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

The Short Story

The teller of tales relies heavily on the method of summary: terse, general narration. In a short story, a form more realistic than the tale and of modern origin, the writer usually presents the main events in greater fullness. Fine writers of short stories, although they may use summary at times (often to give some portion of a story less emphasis), are skilled in rendering a scene: a vivid or dramatic moment described in enough detail to create the illusion that the reader is practically there. Avoiding long summary, they try to show rather than simply to tell, as if following Mark Twain's advice to authors: "Don't say, 'The old lady screamed.' Bring her one and let her scream."

A short story is more than just a sequence of happenings. A finely wrought short story has the richness and conciseness of an excellent lyric poem. Spontaneous and natural as the finished story may seem, the writer has crafted it so artfully that there is meaning in even seemingly casual speeches and apparently trivial details. If we skim it hastily, skipping the descriptive passages, we miss significant parts.

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Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 8 -- Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha"; Reading a Story, Pt. 12 -- Plot
20:59
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 20:59
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 8 -- Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha"; Reading a Story, Pt. 12 -- Plot

Our passage from the Word of God today is 2 Kings 12:19 which reads: "Now the rest of the acts of Joash and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?"

Our quote today is from Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He said: "Ultimately, literature is nothing but carpentry. With both you are working with reality, a material just as hard as wood."

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt, and "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase any one of these books from our website.

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 8" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

Here is a selection from Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha:

The Ferryman (Part 1)

By this river I want to stay, thought Siddhartha, it is the same which I have crossed a long time ago on my way to the childlike people, a friendly ferryman had guided me then, he is the one I want to go to, starting out from his hut, my path had led me at that time into a new life, which had now grown old and is dead--my present path, my present new life, shall also take its start there!

Tenderly, he looked into the rushing water, into the transparent green, into the crystal lines of its drawing, so rich in secrets. Bright pearls he saw rising from the deep, quiet bubbles of air floating on the reflecting surface, the blue of the sky being depicted in it. With a thousand eyes, the river looked at him, with green ones, with white ones, with crystal ones, with sky-blue ones. How did he love this water, how did it delight him, how grateful was he to it! In his heart he heard the voice talking, which was newly awaking, and it told him: Love this water! Stay near it! Learn from it! Oh yes, he wanted to learn from it, he wanted to listen to it. He who would understand this water and its secrets, so it seemed to him, would also understand many other things, many secrets, all secrets.

But out of all secrets of the river, he today only saw one, this one touched his soul. He saw: this water ran and ran, incessantly it ran, and was nevertheless always there, was always an at all times the same and yet new in every moment! Great be he who would grasp this, understand this! He understood and grasped it not, only felt some idea of it stirring, a distant memory, divine voices.

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Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 12" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Plot (Part 2)

Protagonist Versus Antagonist

Death's godson is the principal person who strives: the protagonist (a better term than hero, for it may apply equally well to a central character who is not especially brave or virtuous). The suspense, the pleasurable anxiety we feel that heightens our attention to the story, resides in our wondering how it will all turn out. Will the doctor triumph over Death? Even though we suspect, early in the story, that the doctor stands no chance against such a superhuman antagonist, we want to see for ourselves the outcome of his defiance.

Crisis and Climax

When the doctor defies his godfather for the first time - when he saves the king - we have a crisis, a moment of high tension. The tension is momentarily resolved when Death lets him off. Then an even greater crisis - the turning point in the action - occurs with the doctor's second defiance in restoring the princess to life. In the last section of the story, with the doctor in the underworld, events come to a climax, the moment of greatest tension at which the outcome is to be decided, when the terrified doctor begs for a new candle. Will Death grant him one? Will he live, become king, and marry the princess? The outcome or conclusion -- also called the resolution or denouement (French for "the untying of the knot") -- quickly follows as Death allows the little candle to go out.

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Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 7 -- Hermann Hesse; Reading a Story, Pt. 11 -- Plot
17:02
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 17:02
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 7 -- Hermann Hesse; Reading a Story, Pt. 11 -- Plot

Our passage from the Word of God today is 1 Kings 11:41 which reads: "And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?"

Our quote today is from Ezra Pound. He said: "Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree."

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt, and "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase any one of these books from our website.

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 7 - Hermann Hesse" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) grew up in a German home that was very committed to Christianity. However, he left those roots and looked for other ways to understand the nature of spirituality. He often turned to the religious traditions of India for inspiration. In addition to his spiritual struggles, his life was filled with many personal, psychological, and marital problems.

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Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 11" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Plot: Like a fable, the Grimm brothers' "Godfather Death" tale seems stark in its lack of detail and in the swiftness of its telling. Compared with the fully portrayed characters of many modern stories, the characters of father, son, king, princess, and even Death himself seem hardly more than stick figures. It may have been that to draw ample characters would not have contributed to the storytellers' design; that, indeed, to have done so would have been inartistic. Yet "Godfather Death" is a compelling story. By what methods does it arouse and sustain our interest?

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Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 6 -- Lao-Tzu; Reading a Story, Pt. 10
24:01
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 24:01
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 6 -- Lao-Tzu; Reading a Story, Pt. 10

Our passage from the Word of God today is 2 Kings 23:21 which reads: "And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the Lord your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant."

Our quote today is from Samuel Butler. He said: "Every man's work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself."

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 6 - Lao-Tzu" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

Here are our last two selections from Tao Te Ching.

Chapter 15

The skillful masters (of the Tao) in old times, with a subtle and exquisite penetration, comprehended its mysteries, and were deep (also) so as to elude men's knowledge. As they were thus beyond men's knowledge, I will make an effort to describe of what sort they appeared to be.

Shrinking looked they like those who wade through a stream in winter; irresolute like those who are afraid of all around them; grave like a guest (in awe of his host); evanescent like ice that is melting away; unpretentious like wood that has not been fashioned into anything; vacant like a valley, and dull like muddy water.

Who can (make) the muddy water (clear)? Let it be still, and it will gradually become clear. Who can secure the condition of rest? Let movement go on, and the condition of rest will gradually arise.

They who preserve this method of the Tao do not wish to be full (of themselves). It is through their not being full of themselves that they can afford to seem worn and not appear new and complete.

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Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 10" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

The Brothers Grimm - Jakob Grimm (1785-163) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859), brothers and scholars, were born near Frankfurt am Main, Germany. For most of their lives they worked together - lived together, too, even when in 1825 Wilhelm married. In 1838, as librarians, they began toiling on their Deutsch Worterbuch, or German dictionary, a vast project that was to outlive them by a century. (It was completed only in 1960.) In 1840 King Friedrich Wilhelm IV appointed both brothers to the Royal Academy of Sciences, and both taught at the University of Berlin for the rest of their days.

The name Grimm is best known to us for that splendid collection of ancient German folk stories we call Grimm's Fairy Tales. This classic work spread German children's stories around the world. Many tales we hear early in life were collected by the Grimms including Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Rapunzel, Tom Thumb, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rumpelstiltskin. Versions of some of these tales had been written down as early as the sixteenth century, but mainly the brothers relied on the memories of Hessian peasants who recited the stories aloud for them.

Now here is one of the stories from the Brothers Grimm called "Godfather Death."

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Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 5 -- Lao-Tzu; Reading a Story, Pt. 9
16:58
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 16:58
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 5 -- Lao-Tzu; Reading a Story, Pt. 9

Our passage from the Word of God today is Joshua 24:26 which reads: "And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord."

Our quote today is from Gao Xingjian. He said: "It's in literature that true life can be found. It's under the mask of fiction that you can tell the truth."

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 5 - Lao-Tzu" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

The Tao Te Ching (dou de jing) is a collection of poems attributed to a Chinese sage named Lao-Tzu (or Laozi). Many myths and legends surround this book and author, but it is clear that this book is the foundation of Taoism. Reaching back to perhaps the seventh century BC, this long tradition teaches one to accept the deeper nature of reality, which is beyond words and comprehension. Taoism does not give its followers a god or any specific ethical and social commands as found in the Hebrew, Christian, or Islamic scriptures. The concern of Taoism is to give people a sense of peace by accepting the underlying unity behind the confusing experiences of life. The Tao, or the "way," is beyond words, but it is allegedly the most real and the most important presence in the universe. The Tao is like a great river flowing along, and humans are like specks in the flow. Rather than fight against the movement of the river (the flow of ultimate reality), one needs to accept it and find peace with everything. Taoism also teaches its followers not to strive to understand the Tao, but to be content with ignorance of it.

...

 

Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 9" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Tale

The name tale (from the Old English talu, "speech") is sometimes applied to any story, whether short or long, true or fictitious. Tale being a more evocative name than story, writers sometimes call their stories "tales" as if to imply something handed down from the past. But defined in a more limited sense, a tale is a story, usually short, that sets forth strange and wonderful events in more or less bare summary, without detailed character-drawing. "Tale" is pretty much synonymous with "yarn," for it implies a story in which the goal is revelation of the marvelous rather than revelation of character. In the English folktale "Jack and the Beanstalk," we take away a more vivid impression of the miraculous beanstalk and the giant who dwells at its top than of Jack's mind or personality. Because such venerable stories were told aloud before someone set them down in writing, the storytellers had to limit themselves to brief descriptions. Probably spoken around a fire or hearth, such a tale tends to be less complicated and less closely detailed than a story written for the printed page, whose reader can linger over it. Still, such tales can be complicated. It is not merely greater length that makes a short story different from a tale or a fable: one mark of a short story is a fully delineated character.

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Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 4 -- Buddha; Reading a Story, Pt. 8
19:02
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 19:02
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 4 -- Buddha; Reading a Story, Pt. 8

Our passage from the Word of God today is Luke 1:3 which reads: "It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus."

Our quote today is from C. S. Lewis. He said: "Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become."

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi (yaw a-do yam-fi) and Mark Ray Schmidt, and "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase any one of these books from our website.

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 4 - Buddha" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

Here is our third and last selection from Buddha's Dhammapada.

Chapter XVI (16) - PLEASURE.

He who gives himself to vanity, and does not give himself to meditation, forgetting the real aim (of life) and grasping at pleasure, will in time envy him who has exerted himself in meditation.

Let no man ever look for what is pleasant, or what is unpleasant. Not to see what is pleasant is pain, and it is pain to see what is unpleasant.

 

Let, therefore, no man love anything; loss of the beloved is evil. Those who love nothing and hate nothing, have no fetters.

From pleasure comes grief, from pleasure comes fear; he who is free from pleasure knows neither grief nor fear.

From affection comes grief, from affection comes fear; he who is free from affection knows neither grief nor fear.

From lust comes grief, from lust comes fear; he who is free from lust knows neither grief nor fear.

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Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 8" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Another traditional form of storytelling is the parable. Like the fable, a parable is a brief narrative that teaches a moral, but unlike the fable, its plot is plausibly realistic, and the main characters are human rather than anthropomorphized (an-thruh-puh-mawr-fahyz) animals or natural forces. The other key difference is that parables usually possess a more mysterious and suggestive tone. A fable customarily ends by explicitly stating its moral, but parables often present their morals implicitly, and their meanings can be open to several interpretations.

In the Western tradition, the literary conventions of the parable are largely based on the brief stories told by Jesus in His preaching. The forty-three parables recounted in the four Gospels reveal how frequently he used the form to teach. Jesus designed His parables to have two levels of meaning - a literal story that could immediately be understood by the crowds He addressed and a deeper meaning fully comprehended only by His disciples, an inner circle who understood the nature of His ministry. The parable was also widely used by Eastern philosophers. The Taoist sage Chuang Tzu often portrayed the principles of Tao - which he called the "Way of Nature" - in witty parables such as one traditionally titled "Independence."

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Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 3 -- Buddha; Reading a Story, Pt. 7
16:22
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 16:22
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 3 -- Buddha; Reading a Story, Pt. 7

Our passage from the Word of God today is Deuteronomy 31:24 which reads: "And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished."

Our quote today is from Boris Pasternak. She said: "Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people, and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary."

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt, and "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase any one of these books from our website.

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 3 - Buddha" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

Here is our second selection from Buddha's Dhammapada.

Chapter XIII (13) - THE WORLD.

Do not follow the evil law! Do not live on in thoughtlessness! Do not follow false doctrine! Be not a friend of the world.

Rouse thyself! do not be idle! Follow the law of virtue! The virtuous rests in bliss in this world and in the next.

Follow the law of virtue; do not follow that of sin. The virtuous rests in bliss in this world and in the next.

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Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 7" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Bidpai

The Panchatantra, a collection of beast fables from India, is attributed to its narrator, a sage named Bidpai, a legendary figure about whom almost nothing is known for certain.

We are so accustomed to the phrase Aesop's fables that we might almost start to think the two words inseparable, but in fact there have been fabulists (creators or writers of fables) in virtually every culture throughout recorded history. The Panchatantra, which means "The Five Chapters" in Sanskrit, is based on earlier oral folklore. The collection was composed some time between 100 B. C. and 500 A. D. in a Sanskrit original now lost, and is primarily known through an Arabic version of the eighth century and a twelfth-century Hebrew translation. The stories are didactic, teaching niti, the wise conduct of life, and artha, practical wisdom that stresses cleverness and self-reliance above more altruistic virtues.

Now here is one of Bidpai's fables called "The Tortoise and the Geese."

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Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 2 -- Buddha; Reading a Story, Pt. 6
14:54
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 14:54
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 2 -- Buddha; Reading a Story, Pt. 6

Our passage from the Word of God today is Psalm 45:1 which reads: "My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer."

Our quote today is from Helen Keller. She said: "Literature is my Utopia."

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt, and "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase any one of these books from our website.

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 2 - Buddha" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

Here is our first selection from Buddha's Dhammapada.

Chapter XII (12) - SELF.

If a man hold himself dear, let him watch himself carefully; during one at least out of the three watches a wise man should be watchful.

Let each man direct himself first to what is proper, then let him teach others; thus a wise man will not suffer.

If a man make himself as he teaches others to be, then, being himself well subdued, he may subdue (others); one's own self is indeed difficult to subdue.

Self is the lord of self, who else could be the lord? With self well subdued, a man finds a lord such as few can find.

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Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 6" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Very little is known with certainty about the man called Aesop, but several accounts and many traditions survive from antiquity. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Aesop was a slave on the island of Samos. He gained great fame from his fables, but he somehow met his death at the hands of the people of Delphi. According to one tradition, Aesop was an ugly and misshapen man who charmed and amused people with his stories. No one knows if Aesop himself wrote down any of his fables, but they circulated widely in ancient Greece and were praised by Plato, Aristotle, and many other authors. His short and witty tales with their incisive morals have remained constantly popular and influenced innumerable later writers.

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Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 1 -- Buddha; Reading a Story, Pt. 5
15:19
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 15:19
Spirituality as Quest, Pt. 1 -- Buddha; Reading a Story, Pt. 5

Our passage from the Word of God today is 1 Kings 11:41 which reads: "Now the rest of the acts of Solomon and whatever he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?"

Our quote today is from C. S. Lewis. He said: "Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life, and you will save it."

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt, and "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase any one of these books from our website.

Our first topic for today is "Spirituality as Quest, Part 1 - Buddha" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha, or the Enlightened One, is the founder of the Buddhist religion. Buddha lived in India about twenty-five hundred years ago. There are many legends about his life, but it his teachings that are most important and most interesting. Among the records of Buddha's teaching is Dhammapada, which is a collection of 423 verses organized into 26 topics (or chapters). Dhammapada refers to the path to virtue or the path of correct living. This collection gives a general sense of Buddhism, but there is much more to this tradition.

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Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 5" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Elements of Fable: The brief story of "The Appointment in Samarra", which I read in podcast episode #4, seems practically all skin and bones; that is, it contains little decoration. For in a fable everything leads directly to the moral, or message, sometimes stated at the end (an example moral is: "Haste makes waste"). In "The Appointment in Samarra" the moral isn't stated outright, it is merely implied.

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Art and the Divine, Pt 4; Reading a Story, Pt 4
16:04
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 16:04
Art and the Divine, Pt 4; Reading a Story, Pt 4

Our passage from the Word of God today is Psalm 139:16 which reads: "Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."

Our quote today is from Francine Rivers. He said: "I want to see Christian fiction speak to the hard and real issues that tear people’s lives apart.  We need writers who are willing to ask the hard questions and go through the soul-searching and agonizing to find answers – and present these stories with skill that surpasses the general market.  Some of the greatest works or art and literature were rendered by Christians.  I believe God is at work in these areas now."

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt, and "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase any one of these books from our website.

Our first topic for today is "Art and the Divine, Part 4" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

Rudolf Steiner said, "Art is the daughter of the divine." From a certain perspective, he is right. To add another step, religion is also the daughter of the divine. When we creatively explore and experience things beyond the immediate physical world, a metaphorical child is born. Sometimes that child is religion, and sometimes it is a work of art. In either case, we are building and delighting in new connections. And, in either case, our inner selves are expanding.

This anthology of literary works gives a taste of some of the ways that writers have explored, shared, dismissed, or argued about the ultimate, spiritual questions of life. The first goal is to give a range of works that shows authors can take us beyond our immediate, daily experience. The mere exposure to these works is intellectually enriching, emotionally expanding, and suggestive of new ways that the reader can consider the connection between the spiritual and literature.

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Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 4" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Types of Short Fiction

Modern literary fiction in English has been dominated by two forms: the novel and the short story. The two have many elements in common. Perhaps we will be able to define the short story more meaningfully - for it has traits more essential than just a particular length - if first, for comparison, we consider some related varieties of fiction: the fable, the parable, and the tale. Ancient forms whose origins date back to the time of word-of-mouth storytelling, the fable and the tale are relatively simple in structure; in them we can plainly see elements also found in the short story (and in the novel).

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Art and the Divine, Pt 3; Reading a Story, Pt 3
12:24
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 12:24
Art and the Divine, Pt 3; Reading a Story, Pt 3

Our passage from the Word of God today is Deuteronomy 31:24 which reads: "And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished."

Our quote today is from R. Payne Smith. He said: "The books of men have their day and grow obsolete. God’s word is like Himself, 'the same yesterday, today, and forever.'"

Our first topic for today is "Art and the Divine, Part 3" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

Once again, both art and the spiritual draw us into new connections with the world and with ourselves. They help us move from our immediate experiences with the physical world to a new awareness of a deeper reality. With the intangible, creative energy of our minds and hearts, we make pieces of art that are very physical. Yet, those physical things (novels, poems, paintings) often point us toward the ultimate - the spiritual. In the same way, our spiritual longings, questions, and experiences lead us to write religious textbooks and perform religious rites that are very physical. Yet, those physical books and religious actions point to the spiritual. In both art and religion, an intangible dimension of life becomes physical, yet that physical thing points us back to the intangible again. Put another way, the spiritual and creative energy within humans produces concrete things (a sculpture or a cathedral), but those things are not the goal of art or religion. The objects of art and religion lead people to intangible experiences and truths.

When we stretch ourselves and go beyond the immediate, physical world, we begin to move into either the realm of the creative or the realm of the spiritual. When we are creative, we are stepping out of the world as it currently exists, and we are looking for new possibilities or at least new connections among things that already exist. When we seek the spiritual, we are stepping out of the immediate, physical world of daily experience, and we ae seeking to know God and our souls.

Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 3" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

Literary fiction calls for close attention. Reading a short story by Ernest Hemingway instead of watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy is a little like playing chess rather than checkers. It isn't that Hemingway isn't entertaining. Great literature provides deep and genuine pleasures. But it also requires great attention and skilled engagement from the reader. We are not necessarily led on by the promise of thrills; we do not keep reading mainly to find out what happens next. Indeed, a literary story might even disclose in its opening lines everything that happened, then spend the rest of its length revealing what that happening meant.

Reading literary fiction is no merely passive activity, but is one that demands both attention and insight-lending participation. In return, it offers rewards. In some works of literary fiction, such as Flannery O'Connor's "Revelation," we see more deeply into the minds and hearts of the characters than we ever see into those of our families, our close friends, our lovers -- or even ourselves.

Art and the Divine, Pt 2; Reading a Story, Pt 2
14:36
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 14:36
Art and the Divine, Pt 2; Reading a Story, Pt 2

Our passage from the Word of God today is Jeremiah 30:2 which reads: "Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book."

Our quote today is from Gene Veith. He said: "One thing, however, is certain: Reading can never die out among Christians.  This is because the whole Christian revelation centers around a Book.  God chose to reveal Himself to us in the most personal way through His Word—the Bible."

Our first topic for today is "Art and the Divine, Part 2" from the book, "Literature and Spirituality" by Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt.

This artistic expansion of our selves through new connections can come in many forms: empathizing with the emotions of characters in an ancient drama, a sense of awe when viewing a landscape painting, or a sense of fear when a short-story character walks into a dark, mysterious room. Art enriches our lives with all sorts of new connections. 

But what is the relationship between art and the spiritual? Before we can solve that question, we need to ask, what is the spiritual? The term spiritual is often associated with "the beyond;" it is associated with truths and experiences which transcend our immediate experiences. When we are aware of the spiritual, we are discovering unique connections, just as art helps us discover new connections.

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Our second topic for today is "Reading a Story, Part 2" from the book, "Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing" by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.

The Art of Fiction

Fiction (from the Latin fictio, "a shaping, a counterfeiting") is a name for stories not entirely factual, but at least partially shaped, made up, imagined. It is true that in some fiction, such as a historical novel, a writer draws on factual information in presenting scenes, events, and characters. But the factual information in a historical novel, unlike that in a history book, is of secondary importance.

Many firsthand accounts of the American Civil War were written by men who had fought in it, but few eyewitnesses give us so keen a sense of actual life on the battlefront as the author of "The Red Badge of Courage", Stephen Crane, who was born after the war was over. In fiction, the "facts" may or may not be true, and a story is none the worse for their being entirely imaginary. We expect from fiction a sense of how people act, not an authentic chronicle of how, at some past time, a few people acted.

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Art and the Divine; Reading a Story
12:37
2017-10-07 17:20:27 UTC 12:37
Art and the Divine; Reading a Story