This I Believe

This I Believe: Joanna Vail (2009)

I thought I should have more time because in 80 years I have had more beliefs than most people, but the Worship Committee said ten minutes is what you get. In 1971 my husband died at age 45 and left me with four young children – that was really five if I include me.  I was very sorry for myself and them. For several years I used alcohol to ease the pain and quiet the fear. Some very good friends, one of whom was the Governor of the state, who was also my boss, confronted me and said that they thought I should go to treatment at Hazelden. I had a list of reasons why that wouldn’t be...

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This I Believe: Steve Kahn (2009)

I thought about starting with “I believe in fluff,” but decided that needed some background. If I had given this talk before finishing high school my beliefs would have been typical for a New York City boy raised in a middle of the road Jewish family, not orthodox, not reform, but certainly believing in Yahweh of the Old Testament and all the stories that came with the cycle of holidays. Passover was the story of freedom from oppression, period. The story was true as told. Good guys in white hats, bad guys in black hats. River separates for the good guys, waters pour in on the bad guys. I...

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This I Believe: Emily Shaw (2008)

“Emily, I’m afraid that when I go to Heaven, I won’t see you.” These were the words of my eleven-year-old best friend at my 12th birthday party sleepover. We had been talking about the nature of God’s love: how God could be loving and still let people go to Hell. I insisted that there could be no Hell if God truly loved us, while my friend felt that eternal damnation was our just desserts for sin. She told me she was terrified for the safety of my soul and prayed about it often. It was at that moment I realized that my vision of God was fundamentally different from that of my...

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This I Believe: David Heath (2008)

My name is David, and I’m a Godaholic. I’ve tried really hard not to be a theist, but I always come back to a basic belief in some power or some energy or some force or some something that is what people call “God.” Over the last decade or so, I’ve sat with this congregation and heard others give their “This I Believe” talks. Each time, I’ve been humbled by the depth of their messages. Each time, I’ve been inspired by their words and experiences. Each time, I’ve started composing my own little “This I Believe” talk in my head. I even made some notes. Of course, when I...

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This I Believe: Kathleen Weflen (2008)

One October morning in 1938, at a small railway station on the plains of west-central Minnesota, a 12-year-old girl kissed her mother, dad, sisters, and brothers goodbye, then climbed aboard a train. By late afternoon she’d arrived in Faribault at the Minnesota School for the Deaf. During the next seven years, the train would take her back home only for Christmas and summer vacations. And the mail train would carry countless letters from her to her family and from them to her. Unable to call home, Donna Kjeldahl became a prolific writer of letters. When she graduated in 1945, her class...

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This I Believe: Rad & Linda Decker (2007)

Our life together started in Houston, Texas in January of 1996 when I was one of Linda’s 70 students in a country western two-step class. We both remember the first time we saw each other. (A little easier for me than for her.) We started dating later that year and married in November of 1997. Our lives were filled with work, friends and Linda’s family. For two strong-willed and middle-aged people, there was a lot of adjusting to be done, but our life together gradually became smoother and richer. When 9/11 occurred, I was at a meeting in Wisconsin and Linda was home. Those of us at the...

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