Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ward M. Powers, Interview #62

Name: Ward M. Powers
Where you live: Northville, Michigan USA

What you do as a vocation or avocation?
Attorney and Filmmaker

Your two favorite books:"The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran & "Seven Story Mountain" by Thomas Merton
Your two favorite songs:
"Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?" by Chicago &
"The Pizza Pie Song" by The Beta Band
Why you are interested in spirituality?
Because ultimately it is the gateway to expanded human consciousness. The physicality and intellect can engage the administrative processes of life, and if nurtured can afford more range of human action; However, unless the actions can then be manifested within the eye of the witness of a universal consciousness, these actions in the world will not result in the evolution of the human.
It requires an awakened perception of reality to transmute the mundane fodder of the ordinary human experience into the fuel for authentic personal transformation.
And it all begins with awareness of the spiritual.
Your favorite quote:
"Be the change that you want to see." - Mohatma Gandhi

Your favorite web sites:

Your hero? My Wife, Diane. She walks in the world simply and with a fully open heart. Rare indeed:)

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
To experientially come to know my true nature.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Anywhere...In laughter.

(Editor's Note: Ward is a lawyer who had a vision to make a film in 2002. He mail-ordered a camera, spent 3 years meeting and interviewing people on the street, along with many of the world's leading spiritual personalities, and this culminated in "One, The Movie" which has been seen by over a million people in almost 100 countries. For more about this journey and "One, The Movie" go to

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Usiku, Interview #61

Name: Usiku
Where you live: USA, Chicago, IL
What you do as a vocation or avocation? Writer
Your two favorite books: Two Thousand Seasons by Ayi Kwei Armah and The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
Your two favorite songs: Jazz and Alternative Music Genres
Why you are interested in spirituality? Spirituality is the pathway to learning and loving self. This is the essential state of harmony.
Your favorite quote: “If you believe the most important thing about an accomplishment is the accomplishment itself, you don’t know the half of anything. Your thinking makes me finite, incapable of being all that I am. Blessings become abominations if they stop with your life.” - - The Spirit
Your favorite web sites: CRPS/RSD A Better Life
Your hero? Those who get up or help someone up.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? How to balance passion and persistence with patience.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Anyplace there is a positive connection with nature or another person.
Eloquence, Rhythm and Renaissance

Monday, December 15, 2008

Allan J. Hamilton, Interview #60

Name: Allan J. Hamilton
Where you live: Tucson, Arizona
What you do as a vocation or avocation? I am a brain surgeon and horsetrainer
Your two favorite books: Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time and Peter Schaeffer, Equus
Your two favorite songs: Beatles: "While My Guitar Weeps"; Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova "Falling Slowly"
Why you are interested in spirituality? Because it seems the most relevant existential question
Your favorite quote: Mark Twain: "Your faith is what you believe, not what you know."
Your favorite web sites: (it's where I look for books)

Your hero? Teddy Roosevelt
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? How to focus on the valuable things in life without having to lose them first

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Riding a horse
Dr. Hamilton is the author of The Scalpel and the Soul

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jan Hice, Interview #59

Name: Jan Hice
Where you live: Fort Lauderdale, FL
What you do as a vocation or avocation? photograph and write
Your two favorite books:
Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
Creating The Work You Love by Rick Jarow
Your two favorite songs:
In the Company of Angels by Tom Kenyon
Lion Paw by Tarrus Riley
Why you are interested in spirituality? Because it strikes me that we (human beings) are meant to evolve and that the driver and core of our individual and collective evolution is our spirit. Spirit is our essence.
Your favorite quote: "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then, go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."-- Harold Thurman Whitman

Your favorite web sites: - The Work of Byron Katie

Your hero? My grandmother - a combination of grace, humility and humor.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Patience and instant forgiveness

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" The beach

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Karen Wright, Interview #58

Name: Karen Wright
Where you live: Elmer City, WA
What you do as a vocation or avocation? Author, spiritual teacher/student
Your two favorite books:
A Course in Miracles
, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Your two favorite songs:
Somewhere Over the Rainbow, In the Arms of the Angels
Why you are interested in spirituality?
That’s like asking why I’m interested in breathing! Spirituality is our state of being when awakened. It IS life itself. I’m grateful that I’ve been awakened to a deeper reality of our existence. We have dual citizenship: human and spirit. Human is obvious and obsessive; spirit is quiet and patiently awaiting our return.
Your favorite quote:
The real voyage of discover consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust. This quote has become my motivating mantra for the past 12 years. Everything I do is about having new eyes – seeing beyond the illusion of this world.
Your favorite web sites:
Your hero?
Any woman who has faced her empty life head on, and had the courage and determination to find herself again.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
Love trumps intellect. Control is in letting go.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
Deep in a little known part of the Sequoia National Park in California. Far along the trail, in a valley of enormous trees as the path curves. There is a fallen tree there where I sit and all about me are the sounds and smells of nature.
Websites: Karen's site Karen's web radio show

Friday, December 5, 2008

E. Benjamin Skinner, Interview #57

Name: E. Benjamin Skinner
Where you live: Brooklyn, NY, Madison, WI and, starting in January, Cambridge, MA
What you do as a vocation or avocation?I'm a writer, an antislavery activist, and a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government
Your two favorite books:
Samuel Butler's The Way of All Flesh and Voltaire's Candide
Your two favorite songs:
Lorraine Ellison, Stay With Me and Radiohead, All I Need. Respect to Radiohead for putting together this very moving antislavery video for the song with MTV Exit:
Why you are interested in spirituality?I was raised Quaker, and I try to live my life and conduct my work according to certain Quaker precepts--though I actually believe those are universal principles, not specific to any one sect. The faith that there is that of God in everyone has been at the core of Quaker activism from the earliest abolitionists to today's antiwar activists. That belief goes a long way towards explaining why it's worth the daunting task of fighting to eradicate slavery forever.
Your favorite quote:
"As long as you know of it, you are particeps criminis. What business have you, if you are "an angel of light," to be pondering over the deeds of darkness?" --Henry David Thoreau, April 10, 1861, two days before the first shots of the Civil War. Thoreau, torn between his deeply held beliefs in pacifism and abolitionism, was cautioning his friend about looking too closely at evils such as slavery, and the rumbling disunion. He meant it as an admonition. As someone who has spent the last five years pondering over the deeds of darkness, I take it as an exhortation, a call-to-arms.
Your favorite web sites:, which also links to the two best abolitionist organizations doing work worldwide to eradicate slavery.
Your hero?I've met a number of quiet heroes over the last few years, many of whom work for little recognition on the frontlines of the fight against slavery. Some of these are partners of Free The Slaves ( and Anti-Slavery International (, the American and British wings of the world's oldest human rights organization. But, for now, I'll just highlight Bill Nathan, a drummer and an abolitionist who runs a home for boys called St. Joseph's in Port-au-Prince Haiti ( He's my hero not only because he transcended his own slavery as a child to rise up, get an education, and free others. From a deeply personal standpoint, he's also my hero because when I was sick with malaria, he nursed me back to health, fed me, and prayed for me.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?I would love to learn how to unlock the potential for healing across cultures. The work of Desmond Tutu with the Truth and Reconciliation Commision in South Africa, the Anabaptist tradition of forgiveness embedded in Amish community--these models inspire me.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"Quaker meeting--although I too rarely have time to go! But also the Lincoln Memorial, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cinncinati. Really any place that marks the tremendous sacrifice for freedom made by our ancestors who were slaves and abolitionists.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Oliver Haindl, Interview #56

Name: Oliver Haindl
Where you live: Zurich, Switzerland
What you do as a vocation or avocation? actor, mime and comedian
Your two favorite books: two authors: Tomas Eloy Martinez and Arto Paasilinna
Your two favorite cd's: Natalie Cole "unforgettable" and Gotan Project "la revancha del tango"
Why you are interested in spirituality? simply because I'm interested in life
Your favorite quote: "It is your mind that creates this world" (Buddha)
Your favorite web sites: for the daily news and for winter in the mountains
Your hero? None
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? be patient and let go
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Anywhere... when I'm quiet

Monday, November 10, 2008

Petra Delli Paoli, Interview #55

Name: Petra Delli Paoli
Where you live: Riverside Farm, Millington, NJ
What you do as a vocation or avocation? Pet therapy in hospitals and nursing homes, Managing Home, animals, Kids .....
Your two favorite books: Dogs Day by Jon Katz; by Thich Nhat Hanh (many favorites) Being Peace
Your two favorite songs: "Hands" by Jewel and "Touched by an Angel" cd by Celine Dion
Why you are interested in spirituality? It centers me and connects me with all life forms.
Your favorite quote: "Don't dream your life, live your dream."
Your favorite web sites:
Christian Science Monitor and Bird Talk
Your hero? Thich Nhat Hanh and Barack Obama.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? To bring compassion more into action.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Iceland, in the pack ice of the Arctic and Antarctic, next to waterfalls.

Major concern: Inhumane treatment of factory farmed animals.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Jian Ping, Interview #54

Name: Jian Ping
Where you live: Chicago, Illinois
What you do as a vocation or avocation? Writing, reading, racquetball and ping pong
Your two favorite books: Among my recently read books: Mahabharata, the Indian epic and China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power by Rob Gifford
Your two favorite songs: Alison Krauss’ Simple Love and Sandy Denny’s Who Knows Where the Time Goes
Why you are interested in spirituality? To find inner balance and be a better person.
Your favorite quote: “Hope cannot be said to exist, no cannot be said not to exist. It is just like roads across the earth. For actually the earth has no roads to begin with, but when many people pass one way, a road is made.” By Lu Xun
Your favorite web sites:
Your hero? My father, for one, for his resilience, optimism, and strength of endurance at difficult times.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Peace and balance in life.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" The trail along Lake Michigan in Chicago where I ride my bike or jog early in the morning with the rising sun and the glistering waves of water.
Jian Ping is the author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China,
see an interview:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Vicki Buerkett, Interview #53

Your Name: Vicki Buerkett
Where you live: Normal, Illinois
What you do as a vocation or avocation? Lead Mentor Secondary Education Unit5/Teacher
Your two favorite books:
The Gift of Change-Marianne Williamson
Anatomy of the Spirit Carolyn Myss
Your two favorite songs: "Songbird"-Eva Cassidy, "What if You" and "Bring me to You" Josh Radin
Why you are interested in spirituality? To "Be" in this world. Be Love, Be light, Be open, Be kind
Your favorite quote: "Be a light not a judge, a model not a critic"
Your favorite web sites: Anything spiriutal/inspirational
Your hero? Jacqui Sabundo-burned alive in a car hit by a drunk driver..burned on over 60 % of her body and after 40 surgeries-She Survived! She only allows herself 5 minutes a day to cry..she has to get up and keep moving. When asked if she wished she would have died in the fire she said,"No, I have too much left to do."She is my inspiration.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? To see past outward illusions to the energy source beneath each person.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Outdoor in Nature, in a church alone.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Jason Moore, Interview #52

Name: Jason Moore
Where do you Live: Tipp City, Ohio ( A Dayton Suburb)
What you do as a vocation or avocation? I mostly get to play. My primary focus is graphic design/motion graphics, video editing, and most things media related. I've also written a few books, and one of the most fun things I do is speak at seminars on worship. In addition to all of this I'm an adjunct professor for Northwest Nazarene University.
Your two favorite books:
The Bible
Horton Hears a Who has become a favorite of the stories I have to read my three year old every night.
Your two favorite songs: That's a hard one...I really like Vertical Horizon's "Everything You Want," and I'm also a fan of "The Reason" by Hoobastank
Why you are interested in spirituality? Spirituality sounds so Oprah-ish. I wouldn't say that I'm interested in Spirituality as much as I'm interested in a real, living relationship with my God. To be even more specific, I'm interested in Jesus Christ, His teachings, His story, and His presence in my life. I also enjoy seeing Him in others.
Your favorite quote: "The artist must say it without saying it" -Duke Ellington
Your favorite web sites:

I live at

Your hero? One of my heroes is Larry "the father of Christian rock" Norman. What he did in following his heart with his music and lyrics in a time when there was no "Christian music industry" is so inspiring. He took so much heat from the religious establishment for what he was doing, but he kept on doing it. He had a huge impact on the lives of so many who in turn have had an impact on other lives.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? I am often too quick to judge. I hope that God will continue to open my heart and my mind to new things.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" When my heart is in the right place, anywhere I am can become that place.

Len Wilson, Interview #51

Name: Len Wilson
Where you live: Grand Prairie, TX
What you do as a vocation or avocation?
I am a worship designer, an author, a speaker, a small business owner, anadjunct professor, a media artist/producer, and a daddy.
Your two favorite books:
The Bible
Curious George Flies a Kite
Why you are interested in spirituality? I am not very interested in spirituality, per se. I am actually a very pragmatic kind of person. I have to be reminded of God's work in the world and in my life. I believe that experiencing God is often in the doing, not the being. I guess that makes me a good Methodist.
Your favorite quote: "We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run." - Roy Amara
Your favorite web sites: This fall:
In general:
Your hero? Clint Eastwood is a hero because he has transformed himself into a real artistic filmmaker, and he got there by balancing commercial fare (like The Rookie, with Charlie Sheen, in 1987) with personal projects (like The Bird,about Charlie Parker, in 1988).
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Patience and trust are never in enough supply.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Hanging out with a group of other Christians.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Randy Komisar, Interview #50

Name: Randy Komisar

Where you live: San Francisco Bay Area

What you do as a vocation or avocation? Cycling, Reading, and Reflection

Your two favorite books: Come on, two?

Moon in a Dew Drop: Writings by Zen Master Dogen by Eihei Dogen and
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano

Your two favorite songs: Too many, but at the moment I hear Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and the Dead's "Ripple"
Why you are interested in spirituality? To be the best person I can be and find some peace of mind.
Your favorite quote: "Chance favors the prepared mind"
Your favorite web sites:
Your hero? Mohammed Ali, for one
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Kindness
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Here, Now
(Editor's note: Listen to Randy's great "This I Believe" segment from October 26, 2008 entitled "Engaging Mind and Heart"

Monday, October 27, 2008

Michael Shermer, Interview #49

Name: Michael Shermer
Where you live: Altadena, California
What you do as a vocation or avocation? Vocation: writer, researcher, editor, lecturer
Avocation: cyclist
Your two favorite books:
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan
Your two favorite songs:
Stairway to Heaven
Why you are interested in spirituality?Because I'm a spiritual person. Because spirituality is transcending the here and now and thinking about and doing something bigger than ourselves, and this can make one a more well-rounded person.
Your favorite quote:
“I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them.”
—Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Politicus (The Political Treatise), 1677
Your favorite web sites:
Your hero? Carl Sagan
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
To better understand how and why we are spiritual.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Mt. Wilson Observatory

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Joanne Gallant-Chilton, Interview #48

Name: Joanne Gallant-Chilton, Acadian
Where you live: a small restful picturesque community Glen Margaret, NovaScotia, Canada. What you do as a vocation or avocation? I have many passions. To name a few... Fine Art photographer and a gardener. I have been passionate about photography all my life and have been working in this medium for about 12 years now. Photography feeds me spiritually, the whole act brings me into the present moment and appreciation of the world around me. I am also co-author of my first book titled, Wings to Fly a collection of black andwhite images set to inspirational poems by friend and writer Jeanne Ripley. My other passion is gardening and landscaping. It brings me joy connecting with insects, deer, pheasants, hummingbirds, moving stones and digging dirt. Creating sacred spaces for people to feel nurtured and inspired is rewarding. It is my dream to one day offer a healing space for workshops around creativity and spirituality on my property.
Your two favorite books: I have many, at the moment I am reading EckhartTolle A New Earth. Your two favorite songs: 1 Prayer by Karl Anthony. Pretty much anything by Leonard Cohen I love listening to, although it's hard to name only two. I have a wide collection of music that I listen to depending on my mood.
Why you are interested in spirituality? When I was a young child there was an inner knowing that something bigger existed. I lived in the country and felt a deep connection with nature and myself. The way the leaves moved on the trees spoke to me, I knew that no matter what happened I would never be alone. It is also my responsibility to understand myself, my existence, my mind and to make changes in my life.
Your favorite quote: "you must be the change you want to see in the world"--Gandhi,
"My favorite thing is to go where I've never been", Diane Arbus
Your favorite web sites:
Your hero? Gandhi
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Forgiveness.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" at garden, getting my hands dirty in the soil and being with nature. Curling up on a rock and being near the ocean.
To find out more about my book Wings to Fly and photography please visit or

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Alexander Zelitchenko, Interview #47

Name: Alexander Zelitchenko
Where you live: Cyprus
What you do as a vocation or avocation? I have no vocations
Your two favorite books:
Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse (Oxford World's Classics) by Alexander Pushkin and James E. Falen
Your two favorite songs: Impossible to say
Why you are interested in spirituality? This is human work - to cognize world as a whole and its part - spiritual world
Your favorite quote: "your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"
Your favorite web sites:
Your hero? Too many
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Any spiritual lesson you HOPE to learn, you learned already
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Too many. Pyramids of Gaza or Jerusalem among many others

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mark Townsend, Interview #46

Name: Mark Townsend

Where you live: In a quaint little Market Town situated near the English/Welsh Border

What you do as a vocation or avocation? I served as an Anglican (Episcopal) Priest for ten years, but now work in a free-lance capacity as a Writer, Magician and Retreat Leader

Your two favorite books: His Dark Materials (trilogy) by Philip Pulman and The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Your two favorite songs: Word on a Wing by David Bowie and The Man with the Child in His Eyes by Kate Bush

Why you are interested in spirituality? I was about ten when I first started asking spiritual questions. I'm 41 now. Those initial questions triggered the start of a journey that continues to this day. The questions are still not fully answered - hence the adventure never ceases. I have passed through many traditions, both inside and outside the realms of the Church. As a natural questioner I usually find myself squeezed out of groups and communities that have closed, set answers. As a natural mystic I also get quickly bored by over-intellectualized and literalistic belief systems. In June 2007 I left the world of intuitional religion. It was the most frightening and bruising experience of my life yet, as I discover time and time again, it is through the cracks we often discover pure gold. A few weeks after my decision I sent the following email to a close friend:

"Life is still really tough Caroline. Every day flies by with so much to do and still hardly any cash coming in to pay the mortgage, rent and bills etc. But I'm free - OH GOD I'M FREE - freer than I've felt in thirty years. I can't express how frightening and at the same time how liberating all this feels. Caroline, something's happening to me. It's as if I've entered a new stage in my magical journey, and it's rapidly moving me out of institutional / organized religion altogether and into something totally different... and yes Jesus is coming with me (because he's not the property of the Church alone). I am feeling my dried up wells of the last few years of life within the dear old C of E (which I still love so much) beginning to be re-filled with living water, and it tastes fresh and magical. I'm not sure where all this is leading but I know I need to let go and trust in the path - the Path of The Blue Raven."

Your favorite quote: " one can teach you anything about being human. Your essence itself knows already what there is to know. It understands, and already is, more than anyone can speak of. Already, in your potential, you surpass the wise sayings of any guru, enlightened one, or prophet. These people can startle, provoke or point you towards your essence, but they must then back away, and shade their eyes - for your essence outshines them." Simon Parke

Your favorite web sites: Again, there are so many but here are a few:

Your hero? There are so many. and one of them has to be Jesus because he left us with so many shell shocking and spine tingling stories that I still find quite breathtaking. However I no longer see him as the founder of a new religion - rather, a universal hero whose message is a beautiful gift that can be unwrapped and embraced by all. The Inner-Christ is the divine spark within all from every religious tradition, or none. It is there in Christian America, Buddhist Tibet, and Magical Avalon, but simply called by different names. For a Tibetan it is the 'Buddha Nature' - for a follower of Merlin, the 'Wizard Within'.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? To be truly myself, without fear of rejection.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" The Forest! It is my natural cathedral. I wrote my second book there - The Wizard's Gift. I find it to be the place that most connects me to mother earth and to my true inner Self.

For further information on my books and my work please visit his website and

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dan Morehead, Interview #45

Name: Dan Morehead
Where you live: (currently) Durham, NC, USA
What you do as a vocation or avocation? I study Christian theology and philosophy and am currently finishing a Ph.D. dissertation for the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
Your three favorite books:
Pnin by Vladamir Nabokov
Dogmatics in Outline by Karl Barth
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Your two favorite songs:"July, July" by The Decemberists
"Shelter From The Storm" by Bob Dylan
Why you are interested in spirituality? I'm not, or at least not as such. Generally, when people in Western cultures (and especially within the US insofar as the narrative about the Americas being a blank slate, or so-called New World, further accentuate a false sense of rootlessness) talk about spirituality, this talk ends up naming a scattered yearning or desire to transcend a felt emptiness or incoherence. The assumption that, let's say, someone doing yoga in his or her Manhattan studio apartment is connected to a spiritual practice connected to India's cultural forms of life seems to be more the legacy of American Romanticism's emphasis on heroic simplicity and the exotic rather than organically connecting to these disciplines. In this sort of context, then, I find talk about spirituality without a qualifier to be deeply problematic, ambiguous and too easily co-opted by nationalistic politics. In short, I'm never clear what spirituality means other than saying something such as life, yet the question "why are you interested in life?" seems absurd.

Your favorite quote:

For given Man, by birth, by education,
Imago Dei who forgot his station,
The self-made creature who himself unmakes,
The only creature ever made who fakes,
With no more nature in his loving smile
Than in his theories of a natural style,
What but tall tales,the luck of verbal playing,
Can trick his lying nature into saying
That love, or truth in any serious sense,
Like orthodoxy, is a reticence?--W.H. Auden,
From "The Truest Poetry is the Most Feigning"

Your favorite web sites:

Your hero?: Those who attend to the needs located on the shadow side of our experiment in democracy.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Humility.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" If I can change the thrust of the question from where to amongst whom, then I'd answer on a walk or in a conversation with Reno, Lucy, Dave, Abby, or Jillaine, my dear friends.
Dan blogs about theology, poetry, music, and politics at:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gretchen Rubin, Interview #43

Name: Gretchen Rubin

Where you live: New York City -- U.S.A.

What you do as a vocation or avocation? After several years as a lawyer, I had an epiphany that I really wanted to be a writer. Zoikes, now that I think about it, I made the switch ten years ago!

Your two favorite books: I couldn't possibly pick my two favorites. Reading is absolutely my favorite activity, and my list of favorites would be pages long. But to name one of my favorites -- I just finished re-reading Carl Jung's memoir, MEMORIES, DREAMS, REFLECTIONS for the third time.

Your two favorite songs: Under the Bridge, by the Red Hot Chili Peppers; and The Holly and the Ivy, by anyone who is singing it.

Why you are interested in spirituality? I am interested in vast and timeless subjects. Spirituality is the most vast and timeless.

Your favorite quote: Well, just as I have millions of favorite books, I have trillions of favorite quotations. But the last question reminded me of one of my favorites:
"Contemplate the extent and stability of the heavens, and then at last cease to admire worthless things." Boethius

Your favorite web sites: I have so many friends who have blogs, I don't want to answer that!Your hero? I wrote a biography of two of my heroes: Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy. I would add St. Therese of Lisieux, as well.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Self-control.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" In any library, in my office, or snuggled up on the couch with my children.
(Editor's note: To see Gretchen's cool happiness project, go to and you can sign up for her e-newsletter)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lisa, Interview #42

Name: Lisa
Where you live: ALtoona, WI
What you do as a vocation or avocation? Schedule in home cares for disabled adults and frail elderly.
Your two favorite books: Sears Christmas Wish Book and Why Do Men Have Nipples by Mark Leyner.
Your two favorite cd's: Anything Big band.
Why you are interested in spirituality? Because it's like the Hokey Pokey, it's what it's all about.
Your favorite quote: This is from an elderly lady in rural Iowa, " Whyyyy, there's just no sense in that." (Think about can use it in just about any situation)
Your favorite web sites: You Tube.
Your hero? My parents
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Why don't all humans come with an instructional manual?
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Lake Superior

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oriah, Interview #40

Name: Oriah
Where you live: I live in the country, about two hours north of Toronto, on five acres of land surrounded by four hundred acres of conservation authority forest.
What you do as a vocation or avocation?
I write- books, poems, thoughts, dreams, analysis, commentary, mulling, musings and memories. But mostly I write stories that help me understand, see, shape, celebrate and continue the life I have been given.
When I am not writing, I sit and watch the brilliant red cardinal feed his mate bird seed and let my paying attention be my prayer. I listen deeply and hear the divine ask me to move slowly and to soften. I forget, and I speed up and start to get sharp edges. And then I remember. . . . and I slow down again and I soften. . .. and then I forget and start running and get prickly. . . . and then I remember again to listen and slow down and soften. . . .
Your two favorite books: Hmmm. . . . two fantastic novels come to mind:
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
Your two favorite cd's: in this moment:
Chill Out Classics (a collection)
Anything by Keith Urban. There- the secret is out- I like (and sing along with) country music!
Why you are interested in spirituality?I am interested in life, in living fully, in offering something to the world in my brief time here and in learning to love well so that I and those around me can be happy. Spirituality- the practise of going to essence, of cultivating a connection with that which can be experienced as the divine and sacred core of who and what all things are- helps me open to the possibility of love and life more fully.
Your favorite quote:"Everyone does the best they can with what they have to work with at any given time." Don House (my father)
Your favorite web sites: Oh no. My age is showing. Do I have a favourite website? Well. . . .I bookmark the local cinema site, the weather sites and my bank sites- but I don't think these count. Sorry.
Your hero?
I had trouble with this one. "Hero" is an archetype that has much more juice in the US than it does in Canada- so my "heros" tend to be smaller, everyday folks. My husband is my hero because, at 55 he has had to courage to go back to the core of who he is and is creating the music that is his soul's offering to the world. My father is my hero because despite being raised in a horribly abusive household he took full responsibility for his own life and became a loving father and caring husband. My friend Linda is my hero because she quit the job that was kiling her despite her fear, and because she is always open to learning. The men and women who get up every day and do what needs to be done to feed the children are my heros.The elderly who continue to be open to life and learning despite the cultural disrespect and physical limitations they suffer are my heros. Immigrants who leave all that is familiar to them and come thousands of miles to a strange culture and the snowy landscape of Canada to build a new life, often knowing no one here, are my heros. . . . .I find myself surrounded by heros everyday.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
To remember to listen and slow down and soften a little more often. :-)
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
In the wilderness, on the granite rocks of the Canadian Shield, amidst the lakes and pines of northern Ontario.

David B. Parker, Interview #41

Name: David B. Parker

Where you live: Galesburg, IL

What you do as a vocation or avocation? Presbyterian minister, father of three, and husband to one amazing woman.

Your two favorite books: A New Kind of Christian: The Story We Find Ourselves In by Brian D. McLaren, and Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss--my son's first book he learned to read.

Your two favorite cd's: Legend, by Bob Marley & U2's best of 1980-1990.

Why you are interested in spirituality? While many people know that we need each other in this ever-connected world, I believe in One that we need to be connected to in just as deep a way. Your favorite quote: "If you don't know what you're doing, don't do it."--I use it all the time with my kids!

Your favorite web sites: Facebook, ESPN, and many other blogs I check out.

Your hero? Martin Luther King, Jr.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Meditation-- I can't stand sitting still!

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"

1) By any body of water2) and Jamaica (which falls under #1)

our church website:

my weak (not weekly) blog:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Paige Blair, Interview #39

Name: Paige Blair

Where you live: York Harbor, Maine

What you do as a vocation or avocation? I am an Episcopal priest, an iconographer, dog lover and Ashtanga yoga student
Your two favorite books: Only two?
Your two favorite songs: Where the Streets Have No Name
Why you are interested in spirituality? Living into the truth that we are spiritual beings is a crucial part of our human journey

Your favorite quote: "In the Global Village, distance no longer decides who is your neighbor, and 'Love thy neighbor' is not advice, it's a command."--Bono
Your favorite web sites:
Your hero? Only one? Ghandi, Beatrix Potter, Martin Luther King Jr, Oscar Romero, Nelson Mandela, the Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Surrender
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Alaska
Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation
Feel the Power of what One can do!

(editor's addition, Paige's very cool blog is

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pat Loughery, Interview #38

Name: Pat Loughery
Where you live: North Bend, Washington (a commuter town of Seattle)
What you do as a vocation or avocation?
I manage software testing projects for a living. I also am a Doctor of Ministry student at Bakke Graduate University, and I enjoy my family and being outdoors, photography, riding motorcycles and bicycles, playing music, traveling and exploring new restaurants.
Your two favorite books:
Well, that's an impossible question, limiting me to just two. I'm not going to do the lame Christian thing and say "The Bible" (though I would pick Psalms and Matthew). How about A Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris, and Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I could live with those two books forever and not grow tired.
Your two favorite cd's:
This is at least as hard. Two that come to mind are Stevie Ray Vaughan - The Sky is Crying and Eric Clapton - Unplugged. Both are deeply spiritual to me.
Why you are interested in spirituality?
We are spiritual beings, and our deepest desires, hopes and fears are spiritual. We long for connection with something greater than us. Our pursuit of love, joy, hope, beauty, all are spiritual journeys. And we're always being spiritually formed, whether we're doing it intentionally or not. I'm interested in intentional spiritual formation, especially as it happens in relationship with others.
Your favorite quote:
"In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone."-- John of the Cross
"Hope is passion for what is possible."-- Soren Kierkegaard

"You pay God a great compliment by asking great things of Him."-- Teresa of Avila

"Music can change the world because it can change people."-- Bono

"Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens."-- Jimi Hendrix

"The way of Jesus is always local and ordinary."-- Eugene Peterson
Your favorite web sites:
I blog at

For sites I visit all the time: - Streaming music that tailors playlists based on what you like. - Google Reader. I've got lots of stuff in my RSS feeds, and I love being able to share items I like with my friends - Heartbreaking, funny, deeply troubling and deeply powerful. - I love flickr as a photo community. There's my photostream link.
Your hero?
St. Patrick of Ireland, St. Aidan of Lindisfarne, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
Right now? What does it mean to live simply, while in an upper middle class neighborhood.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
Lindisfarne and Iona. Actually, mountains and undeveloped waterfront pretty much anywhere.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Stephen McKinney-Whitaker, Interview #37

Name: Stephen McKinney-Whitaker
Where you live: Delavan, Illinois at the moment
What you do as a vocation or avocation? Presbyterian Minister of Word and Sacrament
Your two favorite books: I'm horrible at picking "favorites" so I'll mention 2 that have meant something to me recently-

"Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller

and "Letters to a Young Doubter" by William Sloane Coffin. I also have to add I love any sort of Mythopoetic work like George MacDonald.
Your two favorite cd's: I'm in the generation where we stopped using cd's and just buy individual mp3's. But two complete albums I've been listening to a lot lately are "Jesus Christ Superstar" by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and "Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long blog" by Joss Whedon.
Why you are interested in spirituality? I believe there is something beyond what we can experience with our senses. I suppose I do favor the romantics and their love and appreciation for the imagination. Within the difficult struggle of every day empirically driven life, those few numinous experiences can give me the strength to carry on and the hope that "all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well."
Your favorite quote: I keep a notebook of quotes that I come across that impact me in some way. I opened to a random page and pointed and this is what was there-
"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer." --Rainer Maria Rilke
Your favorite web sites: I love YouTube, Facebook, ESPN.Com (all very spiritual right) and to show off my true nerd colors, I go to
for my Doctor Who news and information. I also visit a lot of my friends' blogs.
Your hero? Fred Craddock, he brought out my love of preaching and taught me sermons don't have to be 20 minutes of useless boredom I can never get back. He always makes me think and look at Scripture, the world, God, and myself in new and challenging ways.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? To actually be patient with all that is unresolved in my heart.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Princeton Theological Seminary and anywhere that is just wonderfully untamed and raw the way God made it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Meher Sarkari, Interview #36

Name: Meher Sarkari
Where you live: England
What you do as a vocation or avocation?
Economic Development Officer for Leicester City Council and Chair of FATIMA Women’s Network
Your two favorite books:
Brave New World
by Aldous Huxley,
Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse
Your two favorite cd's:
Songs by K.L. Saigal,
Hank Williams Country & Western songs
Why you are interested in spirituality?
Spirituality to me is a profound, powerful. and an inexplicable non- material element in humans. A disembodied intelligence and conciousness existing apart from matter and yet pervading all matter. I am fascinated and amazed to hear incidents of how it comes into focus and is sharpened in times of great physical and emotional stress, illness bereavement and death and lifts the oppressed human spirit often against all odds and empowers them to overcome the often insurmountable obstacles.
Spirituality links the deeply personal with the universal. The universality of spirituality extends across the cultures and creeds of the world and yet feels as unique to each and every one of us.
Your favorite quote:
"A smile enriches those who receive it without impoverishing those who give it."
Your favorite web sites:
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
Teachings of Prophet Zoroaster says: Manashni, Gavashni, Kunashni meaning "Think Good Thoughts, Speak good Words, Do Good Deeds."
I always endeavour to live by this and therefore hope to learn to be more tolerant towards everyone.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
I feel spiritually connected when surrounded by nature. I often visit Swithland Woods in Leicester it is a beautiful old wood it gives me the solitude and spiritual energy to recharge and feel spiritually connected.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Christopher Naze, Interview #35

Name: Christopher Naze
Where you live: Sunnyside Neighborhood; Portland, Oregon, USA
What you do as a vocation or avocation? vocation - fifth grade teacher (love it!)
avocation - ballroom dancing (love it!), occasional poet, web author
Your two favorite books:
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Aubrey/Maturin Series by Patrick O'Brian
Your two favorite cd's:
Head on the Door - The Cure
Cowgirl's Prayer - Emmylou Harris
Why you are interested in spirituality? We have to look inside as well as outside.
Your favorite quote:
"They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel." Carl W. Buehner
"May you never be more active than when you are doing nothing." Cato
"When the student is ready, the teacher appears." Lao Tzu
Your favorite web sites:
days of naze
life student
Your hero? John P. Hayden, my high school Honors English teacher
Mr. Rogers
Rod Serling
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? I'm willing to accept and be grateful for lessons as they come.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" My front porch steps on a summer's twilight. At the edge of the reflecting pond at Portland's Japanese Gardens. After a bike ride to the summit of Mount Tabor (Portland).

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sven Nieder, Interview # 34

Name: Sven Nieder
Where you live (vague as you wanna be): Bielefeld / Germany
What you do as a vocation or avocation? photographer
Your two favorite books:
Siddharta / Hesse
Der leere Spiegel / Janwillem van de Wetering
Your two favorite cd's:
The Man Comes Around / Cash
Nevermind / Nirvana
Why you are interested in spirituality?
Because it is life.
Your favorite quote:"No one has ever reached Santiago by sitting in a bar." (unknown)
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?Patience.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
When I walk on my feet and feel the earth.
Portfolio Update:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mehmet Basci, Interview #33

Name: Mehmet Basci
Where you live: Basel, Switzerland
What you do as a vocation or avocation? Living peace and remind people of their humanity
Your two favorite books:
World leaders Favourite Poems ;-)
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Your two favorite cd's: Lorena McKennit
Why you are interested in spirituality? Spirituality is essential for humanity. And I believe it is important to have mutual respect with each other and live what we believe in our daily life – a world in peace.
Your favorite quote: Who really wants will achieve (free translation from a sentence from Goethe)
Your favorite web sites:
Your hero? Dalai Lama
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Humility
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" my heart World Leaders' Favourite Poems: A Book of Peace - Compiled by Mehmet is a collection of international poetry featuring world famous names; Jorge Luis Borges, Rudyard Kipling, Rainer Maria Rilke, William Wordsworth, Kahil Gibran and Pär Lagerkvist. The poems have all been chosen by national leaders, prime-ministers and presidents including Tony Blair, Ariel Sharon and Gerhard Schröder. There are also personal contributions from some of these influential world leaders themselves such as AJP Abdul Kalam and Ludwig Scotty with a foreword written by Swiss president, Micheline Calmy-Rey.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dale Brown, Interview #32

Name: Dale Brown
Where you live: Bristol, TN
What you do as a vocation or avocation?Direct the Buechner Institute, teach American literature, and play racquetball
Your two favorite books:
The Power and the Glory
by Graham Greene
King Lear by William Shakespeare
Your two favorite cd's:
“Wailing Jennys”
“The Time Jumpers”
Why you are interested in spirituality?
Because I can imagine more than I can see.
Your favorite quote:
“What’s lost is nothing to what’s found, and all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.” --Frederick Buechner
Your favorite web sites:Read the Spirit
Your hero?
Frederick Buechner
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"Most any river
See Dale's 3 books:
Of Fiction and Faith
The Book of Buechner: A Journey Through His Writings
and Conversations with American Writers 

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Imoh Colins Edozie, Interview #31

Name: Imoh Colins Edozie
Where you live: Port Harcourt, Nigeria

What you do as a vocation or avocation? Trainer

Your two favorite books: The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo & Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
Your two favorite cd's: 100 Spiritual Classics & Silence (Jecklin)
Why you are interested in spirituality? We are spirit
Your favorite quote(s):
"The whole world is a door of liberation, but people are unwilling to enter it!" Hui - Wu ( Chinese Buddist Philosopher)
"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men / women are afraid of the light. "—Plato.
Your favorite web sites:
Your hero? Nelson Mandela
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Patience and Humility
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" My Village, Nnewi

Dava Money, Interview #30

Name: dava money
Where you live: Northern Virginia, USA
What you do as a vocation or avocation? Shaman, Spiritual Teacher, Spiritual Director, Spiritual Coach, Relationship Coach, Author, Artist
Your two favorite books: Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav, Illusions by Richard Bach
Your two favorite cd's: In Search of Angels, Opening the Heart of Compassion by Anh Huong
Why you are interested in spirituality? I have always sensed that there is more than the 5 senses can pick up. I have had several different stages where my intuition grew and synchronistic experiences abounded. They were and are exciting and affirming. I feel called to share my own personal wisdom accrued from years of living, sometimes well and sometimes not so well, and a universal wisdom that moves through me. I share that essence in writing, speaking and in art. I have been drawn to learn from many masters and recognize the Truth by its resonance. In the Cherokee nation one becomes an adult by the age of 52 (because we are so complex) and then has a responsibility to share the wisdom with the village. I delight in the Spiritual Awakening, the conscious evolution of consciousness and the part we can choose to play in it.

Your favorite quote: To not risk anything is to risk everything. Dorothy Baldwin Satten, Ph.D. Your favorite web sites: mine:,,,
Your hero? Buddha, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dalai Lama
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
1. How to be deeply in a spiritual partnership and able to set aside my ego long enough to be a healing force for my loved one.
2. Unity consciousness.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" I feel very spiritually connected to the practitioners that take my classes and attend my workshops and retreats. I feel spiritually connected at most times and it is especially profound and tender in nature: on the lake in my kayak, walking mindfully through the woods, and painting the essence of a flower.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Trish Ryan, Interview #29

Name: Trish Ryan
Where you live: Just outside of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
What you do as a vocation or avocation?I'm a writer, working on my second memoir. I also do some speaking about my spiritual search, and broader questions of relationships and faith. It’s nice to balance out the isolation of writing by connecting with others who have similar questions, but are looking for someone to start the public conversation.
Your two favorite books: It’s a rotating list—I love to read. Right now my favorites are Lottery, a novel by Patricia Wood (such an amazing, fun, surprising story of good emerging in the middle of a disaster), and Redeemed, Heather King’s memoir (she’s just such a great wordsmith that she could write a book about the upholstery on her living room furniture, and I’d stand in line to buy it).
Your two favorite cd's: This Mystery and Woven & Spun, both by Nicole Nordeman. Her songs recalibrate my brain back towards God.
Why you are interested in spirituality? I’m interested in spirituality because it’s the most compelling force in the world around me. So many of us are searching, looking for the right path, the way that will take us from where we are to where we want to be. When we connect with a living God, exciting things happen that change the texture and direction of our lives. I can’t imagine seeing that and not wanting to know more.
Your favorite quote: “What’s impossible with men is possible with God.”
– Jesus.
Your favorite web sites:
This is the church I wandered into when I first decided to check out Jesus - I told myself I'd stay until they said something obnoxious and judgmental...four years later, I'm still there :) The church motto is "Practical. Spiritual. Fun." I like that.
This is the blog of David Kuo, author of Tempting Faith. If your two favorite topics are spirituality and politics and your secret dream is to have a reasonable, sophisticated, nuanced conversation about how these two areas intersect in American life, David is your guy.
Your hero? My husband, Steve. He’s the prince charming I was praying for as I kissed all those other frogs.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? That when I trust God with something, I don’t need to check back in every half-hour to see how He’s handling things.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" The beach in my hometown in Maine is the big answer. But in terms of day-to-day connectedness, I tend to hear God’s voice most clearly when I’m brushing my teeth. I have no idea what the link is between divinity and dental hygiene, but if God wants to speak to me as I’m standing over the sink debating whether or not to floss, who am I to argue?
Author & Speaker Trish Ryan
Trish’s blogs:

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Mary DeMuth, Interview #28

Name: Mary DeMuth
Where you live: Texas
What you do as a vocation or avocation? I'm a full time writer, writing both fiction and nonfiction books.
Your two favorite books: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Your two favorite cd's: Any two by U2
Why you are interested in spirituality? Because when I'm quiet enough, I can hear God's voice.
Your favorite quote: "Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you're a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act-truth is always subversive."
- Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Your favorite web sites:,
Your hero? My husband.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? To trust in God's provision when I can't see it.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Anywhere in
nature, when the birds are singing and the air is clear.

author & speaker Mary E. DeMuth
Turning Trials to Triumph m a r y d e m u t h . c o mMary's writing blog:

Monday, March 31, 2008

Judith Ann Henrich, Interview #27

Real People, Real Lives, Real Spirituality...

Your Name: Judith Ann Henrich

Where you live: Beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona

What you do as a vocation or avocation? I am the Director of Recruitment and Industry Relations for Global Cynergies, a venue selection company we formed in March 2008. In my career I have had the opportunity to work side by side with people in more that 40 countries - the diversity and camaraderie is truly a joy.

Your two favorite books: Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding (I was living in London when it came out and it made me howl with laughter), and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - epitomy of someone facing the giants.

Your two favorite cd's: Mary J. Blige Growing Pains, Sugarland, Enjoy the Ride

Why you are interested in spirituality? Because I don't believe we can go it alone and prayer is so powerful. Our company is founded on the power of prayer.

Your favorite quote: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him and the Lord will make straight your paths" Proverbs 3: 5-6

Your favorite web sites: I spend all day long working at a computer, so to be honest when I am done with work, I shut down.

Your hero? My parents - the epitomy of unconditional love when it comes to their children.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Serving others wholeheartedly, with no reservation.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
Outside in the early morning.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Arloa Sutter, Interview #26

Name: Arloa Sutter

Where you live: Chicago, IL USA

What you do as a vocation or avocation? I am the Executive Director of Breakthrough Urban Ministries. We provide interim housing and wrap around services for homeless adults and we operate sports and academic programs for children in the community of East Garfield Park in Chicago

Your two favorite books:

Theirs Is The Kingdom by Robert Lupton and Walking With The Poor by Bryant Meyers

Your two favorite cd's: Rita Springer "I Have to Believe" and Michael W. Smith "Worship"

Why you are interested in spirituality? I believe there is so much more to life than the physical and material world and I love living in the mystery of God. I also feel I have a lover and best friend in my personal relationship with the resurrected Jesus.

Your favorite quote: "Preach the gospel always, and when necessary, use words." St. Francis

Your favorite web sites:

Your hero? Mother Teresa and Dorothy Day

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Replacing fear with radical trust A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" Breakthrough Urban Ministries

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Julie Clawson, Interview #24

Real People, Real Lives, Real Spirituality

Name: Julie Clawson

Where you live: Yorkville, IL (outside of Chicago) USA

What you do as a vocation or avocation? I co-pastor an emerging house church (, I am a mother, and I am currently writing a book on how we can act justly and love others through our day to day actions.

Your two favorite books: Favorite is such a relative term... So these are two books that impacted me significantly at specific points in my life.

A New Kind of Christian - Brian McLaren. This book helped me to accept a faith beyond cultural constraints that allows for questions and authenticity. Discovering such options strengthened and saved my faith.

Dance of the Dissident Daughter - Sue Monk Kidd. Coming from a conservative background, this book helped me accept my worth as a woman and pushed me to help other oppressed women discover that same worth.

Your two favorite cd's: I've listened to both of these CD's incessantly the last few years. They capture a bit of who I am right now and inspire me. Into the Mystery - David Wilcox. Folk music that speaks to the heart of spiritual longings. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb - U2. Popular yes, but poignant nonetheless.

Why you are interested in spirituality? I can't help but be interested in spirituality. I have questions that it seems only the spiritual can answer, or at least begin to address. The world is uncertain and full of mystery, I can't reduce it down in any way that excludes the spiritual. There is also so much pain and injustice in the world that can only be healed through outpourings of love (a spiritual act as I see it).

Your favorite quote: I recently came across a saying from the Talmud that connected with me - "It is not up to you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it." So often I can become overwhelmed at the injustices in the world and feel like I can't make much of a difference, but quotes like this help put things in perspective. I can't be so arrogant to think I can solve the problems in the world, but that doesn't mean I can give up either. I do whatever I can when I can.

Your favorite web sites: Well there's my blog - onehandclapping ( and I also participate in the community at Emerging Women ( As part of the emerging church I appreciate the Emergent Village site (

Your hero? I love the spiritual example of writer Phyllis Tickle. Her depth of knowledge, commitment to faith, mastery of language, and ease of communication are all traits I admire and aspire to. Her journey of faith as an intelligent woman has inspired and blessed me.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Humility. The ability to hold my faith as dear but also respect the faith of others. I want to be able to respect and show love to those I disagree with, and humility in my own beliefs is vital to achieving that.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?" I respect and feel connected to beautiful and wild places, perhaps a sign that I have let myself become too disconnected from the natural world. But I also find myself spiritually connected whenever I am in community and conversation with friends. Exploring topics of faith, theology, and justice together is a holy experience for me.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Richard Bartley, Interview #23

Name: Richard Bartley
Where do you live: Planet Earth, in a region called Ireland.
What do you do for a Vocation or Avocation? Sales/Co. Director, that pays the mortgage; I also work to try to bring World Peace closer, through a movement called The World Peace and Prosperity Movement. My new web site is it will be up and running during or after Easter.
Your two favourite books:
The Divine Art of Living by Mabel Hyde Paine and
The Hidden Words by Bahá’u’lláh
Your two favourite cd’s: “Bird” by Susan Lewis Wright. (Written and sung by her, it’s absolutely beautiful.
As we move along our favourites change, at the moment it’s Eckhart Tolle’s cd “The Flowering of Human Consciousness”, I see almost everything in a different way than he, but I listen to it a lot because I am being constantly reminded of my wish to live in my higher nature – mindful of the God within. His cd helps me to do that, and so for this I am extremely grateful to him.
Your favourite quote: “Let deeds not words be your adorning” again from “The Hidden Words”, for this reason I was reluctant to input to this Blog, but my love, respect and admiration for Sue (the inspiration behind the blog) left me no choice.
Your favourite web sites: The nearest thing I have to a favourite web site is the Google Search engine, how sad?
Your hero: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Why you are interested in spirituality?
Because “Man’s reality is a spiritual reality”, therefore to know this and then to ignore it would make no sense, and I’d like to think that my life does make sense, besides, the all most beautiful and meaningful things in my life are as a result of spirituality.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? A spiritual lesson I hope to learn is how to deal with the responsibility of winning a million on the lotto… no to be serious, I hope to learn to live a contented, happy and joyful life – and to some degree to know and love God.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually “connected” Probably in my garden, but certainly with those I love.