Hopeful Spirit Interview

Hopeful Spirit sent me the following interview questions. She spent a lot of time reading Writing in Faith, and I am really touched that she took the time.

1. You began Writing in Faith in August 2006. What inspired you to begin blogging? What are your blogging goals? Do you have a target audience?
Crashing computers inspired me to blog. We had a bad run of computer luck for a while, and with each crash I lost things I hadn't backed up. I thought if I put things in a filing cabinet in the sky--my blog--I'd be better off. For the longest time, the thing just kind of sat there unnoticed and unattended. Since September, though, I've been working to promote my graffiti project, Strange Attractions: Exploring Graffiti, through my blog as well as other odds and ends. My blog reflects my interests, and I enjoy being out there and connecting with others who share my interests, even if they don't agree with my point-of-view. Indeed, the folks who don't agree stretch my mind, and I appreciate that, too.

2. I am intrigued by your poem "By Name." Tell us a bit about your faith journey – were you raised within organized religion? If so, do you remain a member of a specific denomination? What do you believe? Any unusual spiritual experiences you’d like to share? Whatever you feel comfortable sharing will be interesting.
I believe God belongs to all of us and we belong to God, one and all. "By Name" gets at that idea. We can learn from each other if we are willing. That's always exciting.I was raised as a United Methodist, and for most of my life I was very happy to be one. Local church politics caused me to leave the Woodbury United Methodist Church. Simply, a leading female member of the church had sexually harassed me--a judge called her a pornographer in the court proceedings she initiated against the pastor with whom she had had a seven-year affair--but the church swept the matter under the rug because it wasn't convenient for it to be Christian about it. This put me off the UMC. While I know frauds and self-serving jerks are to be found in every institution, I can't have them as moral arbiters in my daily life. Since then, I've been attending St. John's Episcopal Church in Waterbury, Connecticut. This church is plugged in to the real world; it accepts people for who they are and does all it can for people in need. The cataclysm at the UMC turned out to be a good thing, though, because I have experienced worship with the Benedictine nuns at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut; with Brian Vaugh during the Buddhist meditations he leads in Waterbury, Connecticut; in the scholarly works of Marcus Borg; in the Bible; and on my own. I lost my church, but in the wilderness I experienced God on a deeper, truer level. It worked out.

3. Your story of the scary guy in your English class who later took his own life was chilling. Let’s turn the glass around . . . tell us about the student who most inspired you and/or enriched your life.
There are two students who have inspired me and enriched my life. Both are sensitive, insightful young people who are also unassuming, gentle, and kind. They prefer to think their own thoughts rather than buy mine and sell them back to me. They have the courage to go it alone, and I respect that immensely. They're quiet, serious kids whose eyes always smile. When I had my class write about Virginia Tech, they wrote beautifully about caring for each other, recognizing that we are ultimately responsible for ourselves, and that we have a tremendous influence on each other according to the way we treat each other. Their writing has been transformed by the texts we have read. They open their minds to some work from a long-ago world and allow it to transform their world; their gift to me is the affirmation of the power and beauty of literature.

4. Graffiti – tell us how and why you first became interested in it. To the neophyte, looking at a wall covered in graffiti, where is the beauty? How would you describe it?
My first experience of the beauty of the writing on the wall was in Ireland, where political murals in Belfast shaped a community's sense of itself, its self-respect, its dreams, its goals. These murals were beautiful and rich and naive. The naivete spoke to my heart because it said to me, "I'm not perfect, but I'm doing the best I can." People will risk their vulnerability to connect with others. That's beautiful That kind of love gift comes from a soul crying out to be loved. It's no different, really from the graffiti pieces that adorn basketball courts in the City, walls in subway tunnels, highway flyovers. People who want to create big pictures in brilliant color are all heart. I have met them, and I know it's true. Garbage graffiti--the vandalism and destruction--ain't so great, to be sure. Nonetheless, follow a tag around town and you will see your city or town in a different way. I see graffiti as an invitation to participate in a dialogue. What's that dialogue about? Go for a walk and you'll see.

5. Do you have any regrets? (asked of everyone)
I regret that I have lamented false friends when I could have spent my time and effort celebrating the sincere ones.

Comments

  1. Wonderful job! Thanks for participating and letting your readers -- including me -- learn a bit more about you.

    ReplyDelete

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