I had so much fun with Michelle’s questions that I challenged my interviewees to interview me.
1.) For a self described valley girl, you have quite the fascination with Canada. How did that start?
Well… I spent at least a week of my summer up there from the time I was 5 until I was 20, so I was briefly exposed to Canadian culture that way. Subsequent trips to Vancouver, Victoria, and Toronto when I was in elementary school and high school got me interested. It’s interesting to be in a culture that is so similar to America but is a little different. I’m a francophone so I studied quite a bit of the culture in my French classes and I started reading Canadian papers when I was in college to get a more balanced view of the news.
What has really intrigued me and really attracts me to Canada is the politeness of the people (and yes, I know that it’s Canadian culture) and the fact that there is such a diversity without all of the ethnic tensions that exist in America. Here, you have people who emphasize their country of origin first and then claim to be American. In Canada, it really seems like people are Canadian of [insert ethnic group] descent. I saw this when I was worshipping at St. Alban’s Church in Ottawa during my honeymoon. It was a diverse crowd that you really don’t see in churches here, which unfortunately are still racially segregated 45 years after the Civil Rights movement. I really like that diversity and I also like that Canada seems to be better than the US about environmental responsibility and impact and also about how they do foreign policy.
2.) I know you’ve been to Canada at least once, if you could make another trip where in Canada would you go?
It’s a toss-up between the coast of British Columbia with the islands (Vancouver, the Queen Charlottes,…) and the Maritime provinces. I am very much a coastal girl (despite living in the Midwest HOURS away from any decent beaches) and I think my memories of Logborough Inlet would probably tip the scales in favor of BC.
3.) Do you have a favorite Canadian singer / band?
It’s Loreena McKennitt hands down. I saw her in concert in 1994 and am royally pissed that I missed her concert in SFO in 1998.
4.) Favorite Canadian author / book?
Definitely L.M. Montgomery — I read many of the Anne books when I was in middle school and high school. Anne of Green Gables is still my favorite. I like her idealism and the belief that even the most dreary things have beauty.
Another favorite book that is set in Canada (more specifically British Columbia) is I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven. I spent my summers near that location and it was interesting to read because I know the setting so well.
I’m also a Janette Oke fan.
5.) Favorite Canadian movie and or tv show?
Oh lordy… we watch Red Green weekly. We’re also fans of “Royal Canadian Air Farce” and “This Hour Has 22 Minutes”.
1. If you were able to have 1 ideal service from the best of both Lutheran and Episcopalian liturgies, what would you include?
This is a hard question! I would probably do BCP Rite II liturgy with LBW Setting III for music. As far as hymns, I might mix the hymn list with hymns from both the 1982 Hymnal and the LBW though I’d use the 1982 Hymnal tunes for hymns if there was a discrepancy between that and the LBW because I’m more used to the 1982 Hymnal.
The irony of this is that this service would be almost exactly similar to the worship at Jon’s internship parish. Bill is very much into traditional worship done WELL and it has been a blessing to have this kind of attitude put into worship.
2. How did your fascination with Celtic Christianity come about?
I was bored in Chemistry one day and my friend Jason was playing on our teacher’s computer with me. He found something on it that was really intriguing and I kept going back to the site when I had a chance. When I was 16, we got real Internet access at home and I started surfing for stuff on it and even made a website dedicated to my interest (which was how I met Jon).
When I was in Ireland in 1998, I saw some of the places where manuscripts like the Book of Kells were created and it really stunned me that such beautiful things could come out of such rough places. I read “How the Irish Saved Civilization” during my 2nd year of college and got even more hooked.
3. You’ve written a lot about your depression and PTSD. How has dealing with that affected your relationship with God, both for the better and the worse?
Both have really changed my relationship with God in strange ways. Both have made me much more introverted, which means that I am much more reflective than I used to be and I tend to really think more about how my faith relates to my life instead of my life relating to my faith. I stopped pretending that God was doing these massive things in me and actually let God start working. To this day, I still marvel at how my life was so messed up during that time; but I felt so much hope nevertheless.
I started really praying in a more real way and that got me more into the Word. As a result, I really understand the Scriptural basis for my beliefs better than I did when I started college. As I got more into the Psalms, I saw that at least 1/3 of them are not happy ones and some of those (especially Psalm 13) really described how I felt. I learned that God loves me even when I’m depressed and that “depressed Christian” is not an oxymoron — it’s a reality for quite a few people. I stopped drawing from my own strength and started drawing on Christ instead, which I found really worked better and enabled me to do so much more.
I think the biggest change is that I’m able to move on from things instead of miring myself in self-hatred and fear. During the last two years of college, I was in therapy and worked out 13 years of teasing from my classmates and 3 1/2 years of sexual harassment. This meant learning to forgive myself and others and it led me to a deeper understanding of the Cross than I had when I first was saved.
Long-winded answer I know but it’s hard for me to be succinct on this subject.
4. What was the most important idea or thought you took away from your experience in the Muslim community in Detroit?
I think the most important thing I took away from my experience was an understanding of why I am Christian instead of Muslim. Islam has some really attractive things: modesty for women (I actually *LIKED* veiling before going into a mosque), freedom for religion and science to interact, a strong ethical basis, and a very interesting understanding of the necessity for prayer 5 times daily (like bathing in a river to cleanse oneself — I thought that was really cool). Islam, however, does not have grace and grace is what makes me a Christian. I believe that I am saved through my faith alone and I eschew works’ righteousness, which is what Islam really boiled down to for me.
I also was overwhelmed at how hospitable the Muslim communities were to us. Granted, it was 2 months after 9/11 and the first thing they did was say that they weren’t involved with the attacks (which we all knew and reassured them of); but it was also Ramadan and they were offering us tons of coffee and food during the day even though they couldn’t have them because of their fast. When we’d go break the fast at the various mosques, we were STUFFED with food. When I was barely eating the second night (I don’t eat all that much in real life), some of the sisters asked if I was OK/was I sick/shouldn’t I eat a little more fried chicken/beans/pecan pie????? (Answers: yes/I was having wicked PMS problems from the saltiness of the food/I was completely stuffed.) Their hospitality really convicted me of how stingy some churches can be. The Lutheran church we attended for Sunday worship on the trip was really cold to us and complained about their Muslim neighbors, which made us really wonder if the Muslim communities judged us by this church’s witness.
5. Do you consider yourself postmodern? Why or why not?
I think I am a product of post-modernity in that I grew up in the 1980′s in an atmosphere where there *is* no absolute truth and all truths are valid. I’ve since turned from that and gotten more conservative in my belief that John 14:6 is right. I don’t embrace post-modernity, however, because it’s incredibly convoluted to me and I think that orthodoxy and better apologetics are the answers to the problems that it has caused. A lot of times (in some of what I’ve seen and in the tripe that our dean of the chapel tried to feed on us at seminary), pomo ministry tactics have really meant dumbing down the faith rather than really focusing on reaching people rightly.
1. What got you interested in Celtic Christianity?
I’ll answer this a little differently than Ellen’s question. What got me interested was that I was a new Christian and was kind of exploring where I was in the faith. What attracted me was the incorporation of nature imagery into prayers and into explanations of the faith. I’m not talking about praying to birds and trees here; but instead having a reverence for Creation and for what has been created. The prayers were beautiful and really meaningful to me and I think the way I really learned to pray was through them.
2. What’s your website’s history? When did you start it? How did you come up with the domain name peacefulwaters.org?
My website started as a Geocities site in 1997 and moved to my school’s servers in 1999. In July 2000, I bought Peacefulwaters.Org and started a blog on it two weeks later.
The name Peacefulwaters.Org comes from Psalm 23:2. I wanted a name that had some religious significance and also a place where I could do nature-themed layouts. Over the years, I think I’ve conformed more to my domain name than my domain name has conformed to me.
3. How did you happen to become an OSU fan?
I’m NOT! Well… I will politely cheer for OSU if they’re playing anyone besides Washington and Michigan. I politely cheer because I lived in Columbus for a year (and am still relatively close) and Buckeye football is a religion around here.
4. When did you first stumble on to the internet?
My dad has been on Compuserve since I was 4. I started getting into it when I was 15. We had Compuserve for a while and then we got Netcom for my dad. I got onto the World Wide Web in 1996 while doing research for a project. I’ve been on ever since.
5. Do you think that growing up non-Christian has had an affect on the way you see things now as a Christian? Why or why not?
It very much affects how I see things as a Christian because I can see both points of view very clearly. Some people may think I’m a wuss when it comes to evangelism; but I really believe that you have to be sensitive to where people are and you have to be willing to discuss in addition to testifying about God’s work in you. I think the best approach much of the time is your example and not your words because words only go so far.
I am also not afraid to question things, which is different from some of my friends who think that questioning means that you’ve lost your faith. To me, I don’t believe something unless all the options have been presented to me and I tend to struggle with issues that are really black and white to other people. My struggles, however, lead me to a stronger conviction of what I believe and I tend not to back down on things with which I’ve struggled and come to a decision.
The Interview Meme
1. If you want to participate, leave a comment saying “interview me.”
2. I will respond by asking you five questions ï¿½ each person’s will be different.
3. You will update your journal or blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.