LISTEN: Art and the Divine, Pt 3; Reading a Story, Pt 3 (Literature & Spirituality #VA3 with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III
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.

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.'”

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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.


Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University School of Divinity. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

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