Monday, April 30, 2012

Leslie Leyland Fields, Interview #176

Name:  Leslie Leyland Fields

Where you live: Kodiak Island, Alaska

What you do as vocation or avocation: 
 I’m the author of seven books; a columnist and contributor to Christianity Today magazine; a speaker; a mother of six; and I work in commercial salmon fishing.

Two favorite books:  Frederick Buechner’s novel Godric and Eugene Peterson’s five-book series on spiritual theology: Tell it Slant, Eat This Book, Christ Plays in a Thousand Places, The Jesus Way, Practice Resurrection

Two favorite songs:
Joan Baez singing The Byrds “Turn, Turn, Turn” [To everything there is a season...]
and  Bach’s Double Violin concerto (I know. No lyrics to this “song”---yet!)

Why are you interested in spirituality?
For the same reason I am intensely interested in science and beauty and the intricate workings of all this world. I see the presence of spirit in all things, and know that everything good has somehow come from God. If I am to begin to understand anything of human existence, I must pursue the visible and invisible. If I am to begin to understand anything of God, I must pursue the visible and invisible. When we divide and dissect the world, separating spirit from body and spirit from matter, we do violence to what is real. Wholeness is possible; healing and reconciliation between people, between people and God, between people and the earth---all this is possible, at least in part.

Favorite quote:
He who learns must suffer
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
And in our own despite, against our will,
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
                             ---Aeschylus (from Agamemnon)

Favorite websites: (The Utne Reader)
And, my new blog, Far a-Field Notes, because I’m having so much fun with it

Your heroes?  
 My brother Todd, William Wilberforce, Flannery O’Connor.

A Spiritual lesson you hope to learn:
I hope to see God’s radiance and goodness in all things and in all people, and to write about it in the most beautiful language I can find. This is not easy for me—either the seeing or the writing! I have a  naturally critical spirit that needs to be humbled and poisoned—by love and by the truth. Here is the truth: so much mercy has been shown to me, I am a debtor to all.

A Place I feel spiritually connected: 
Among the lovely sinners and saints in my new church and out at our fish camp, Harvester Island, a small one-mountain island off Kodiak Island, inhabited by just my family and I.  There we are intensely alone, together, among ocean, whales, falcons, mountains, storms, sea lions; among grandeur and loneliness I sometimes glance the visage of God.

Editor's Note: Leslie is author of numerous books, she's also a speaker, a professional editor, and a columnist for Christianity TodayYou can see her memoir Surviving the Island of Grace: Life on the Edge of Wild America here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Katherine Willis Pershey, Interview #175

Name: Katherine Willis Pershey

Where you live: Western Springs, Illinois

What you do as a vocation or avocation? 

I’m the associate minister of First Congregational Church of Western Springs and a writer. I just published my first book, Any Day a Beautiful Change: A Story of Faith and Family.

Your two favorite books

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and Sensual Orthodoxy by Debbie Blue.

Your two favorite songs: 

Beautiful Change” by The Innocence Mission and “Jesus in New Orleans” by Over the Rhine.

Why you are interested in spirituality? 

The biblical witness that we “live and move and have our being” in God resonates with me. In the same way that I try to pay attention to my daughters’ growth and the turning of the seasons, I also long to pay attention to this God who is love and home and radical presence.

Your favorite quote:

“Love all God's creation, the whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.” Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Your favorite web sites: 

GoodReads ( and The Young Clergy Women Project  (

Your hero?: 

I haven’t really thought of her as a hero, but I’ll say Fidelia Gillette, who was one of the first women ordained to serve as a minister. She’s the inspiration for Fidelia’s Sisters, the publication of The Young Clergy Women Project. I am deeply grateful to all the women who had the courage and vision to hear and respond to God’s call. I have it incredibly easy as an ordained female minister, but this has not always been the case.  

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? 

How to pray. I’m a beginner, always a beginner, when it comes to prayer.

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

I have felt spiritually connected in the sanctuaries of the congregations I’ve served as a minister. There’s no place I’d rather be on a Sunday morning but in church, worshipping God with my community of faith.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Jamie Moffett, Interview #174

Name: Jamie Moffett

Where you live: Philadelphia, PA USA

What you do as a vocation or avocation? Documentary film director

Your two favorite books:
 Life of Pi, Brave New World

Your two favorite songs:
"Everlasting Light" by The Black Keys, "Airbag" by Radiohead

Why you are interested in spirituality? 
As someone who identifies as Agnostic & a documentary filmmaker, I'm interested in those kinds of things you "just can't put your finger on". Faith & politics are tough topics, but important to keep talking about in the hopes of an increased understanding.

Your favorite quote: "Imagination is more important than knowledge" Albert Einstein

Your favorite web sites: netflix, hulu

Your hero? Too many to count

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?
How to communicate the similarities of faith perspectives to groups who have trouble seeing anything other than their perspective is "the right perspective".

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

Editor's Note: Jamie's website, where you can learn more about his independent films is:

Monday, April 2, 2012

Charles Cannon, Interview #173

Name:  Master Charles Cannon

Where you live:  Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

What you do as a vocation or avocation?  Modern Spiritual Teacher

Your two favorite books:  
The Play of Consciousness by Swami Muktananda
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Your two favorite songs:  
Blessed Mother… A Thousand Names

Why you are interested in spirituality? 
Because it’s the experience whose time has come for me. 

Your favorite quote:  “There is only one.” 

Your favorite web sites:

Your hero?  The fully enlightened Master.

A spiritual lesson you hope to learn?  To fully be.

A place in the world where you feel spiritually "connected?"  The shrine of my very own heart.

Master Charles Cannon is a modern spiritual teacher and founder of Synchronicity Foundation for Modern Spirituality. He is the author of the new book Forgiving the Unforgivable