In the second episode of the Clerestory Podcast, Claire Ashmead reads her essay, “Ridiculous But True,” an examination of the mysteries of faith, atheism, and attending services at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.
“On my morning walk to St. Giles Cathedral I spotted a performer who posed daily as a magically levitating “Yoda”. You know, from Star Wars. Incongruously, he did this in the lee of the church, just past a statue of economist Adam Smith. I spent many a Sunday morning wondering how the man in the Yoda outfit appeared to levitate. Down the High Street, an American in a ten-gallon cowboy hat did lassoing tricks for money in front of shops filled with overpriced whiskey and tartan. And the most ridiculous spectacle of all? Me. I was not a Christian, but I attended church every Sunday morning. I had no idea why. And I was late.”
Claire Ashmead is from Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated from Princeton in 2017 and obtained a Masters in fiction through the University of Edinburgh in 2018. She works as a research assistant and is studying medicine, which she hopes to bring to underserved communities in her home city. She comes from a single-parent home and was not brought up with religious faith, but in the past has attended Anglican services.
Listen to the full essay below or read it here.