Name: Cynthia B. Astle
Where you live:
I live in Dallas, TX, USA, but I was born in Pittsburgh, PA and grew up in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area of Florida.
What you do as a vocation or avocation?
I think of myself as a "Godscribe," a term coined by religion writer Don Lattin. As a follower of Jesus Christ, my vocation is to use my abilities as a writer and editor to specialize in religion journalism.
Your two favorite books:
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Your two favorite songs:
"Be Thou My Vision," sung to an ancient Irish tune called "Slane" after the Hill of Slane where St. Patrick lit the Easter fire.
"Tu Has Venido La Orilla" (Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore), a wonderful Spanish hymn about the call to follow Jesus.
Why you are interested in spirituality?
Human beings are more than their physical existence. Since I was a child I have had an acute sensitivity to the Divine Reality that permeates all of life. As I have matured in my Christian discipleship, I've discovered many spiritual practices fostered by early Christians, such as meditation and contemplation that help to focus our attentiveness to God's presence. By focusing my attention in this way, I try to rid myself of pride, selfishness, anger and all the other self-defeating qualities to which we humans are prone. This spiritual work enriches my life and equips me so that I can be truly alive to the fullness of life and quick to aid the many suffering people in this life.
Your favorite quote:
[Jesus] said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ – Matthew 22:37-40
Your favorite web sites:
The Progressive Christian, http://tpcmagazine.org
Facebook.com, a great way to keep up with friends and have some laughs.
Christianity for the Rest of Us, Diana Butler Bass' blog on Beliefnet.com.
I have many heroes and "she-roes," especially the strong women of the Bible. I think I'm most inspired by Mary Magdalene, the apostle to the Apostles, who was faithful to Jesus even unto his crucifixion, and was first to announce his resurrection.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
How to forgive people who have harmed me
A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"
Any seashore. I grew up near the Gulf of Mexico and I love the sound of waves. It's like the heartbeat of God's creation.