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.

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