January 20, 2020
Humans beings working together for the good of other humans - our spiritual, emotional, physical and mental well-being - is probably the closest I can get, these days, to defining a personal life purpose or overarching mission.
I've struggled to define various purpose statements with phrases like "loving people" and "glorifying God", never feeling like one phrase, paragraph, blog post, or even book can adequately express the purpose of life.
We're given a life to express the purpose of life. What a gift.
Day by day, breath by breath, action by action we can live what we feel life is all about, even if we can't articulate it. Though I keep trying to articulate it.
Maybe that's why I love talking so much with people who live and work within spiritual and religious contexts. They are tuned into things that are hard to articulate. Maybe I'm hoping they'll have the answer. Though ironically, if someone actually presents me a firm answer, I am deeply skeptical and not easily convinced.
In fact, if you want to win me over to your point of view, do not try to convince me, just let me see what it looks like in your life and I'll decide for myself how compelling it is.
That's what I appreciate about my interview and in-person interactions with Lee-Ann Matthews. She's not trying to convince anyone, at least not in this interview, of the meaning of life or how one must understand and know God. And like she says, "You can do God-filled work without using the word God. I don't even care if you use the word God."
Which is refreshing coming from someone who works for a church.
This is an interview, in part, about church life and church work within the particular context of Lee-Ann's life. But our conversation is about more than religion in general, or Christianity in specific, it's about our collective spiritual seeking. It's about the connection that so many of us are longing for.
Where do we find that connection? Can we find it in church? For those of us not comfortable with church or religious communities (for many reasons), where do we go?
Religious faith and participation in spiritual communities is a messy territory for many of us, perhaps most especially for those of us with religious backgrounds.
I think this is probably the motivation for this interview, the reason I reached out to speak with Lee-Ann. I have messy, ambivalent, and sometimes irreconcilable ideas/beliefs/feelings/convictions around faith and religion. And I'm always looking for safe people and spaces to explore all that. Lee-Ann is one of those safe people.
So we talk a lot about church stuff in this episode and Lee-Ann's work for the Anglican Diocese of Montreal. We also talk about fear, anxiety, and creativity. Lee-Ann tells the love story of meeting her wife Kuki (pronounced Cookie), and the tremendous upheaval, joy, and beauty that's brought into her life.
We learn about Lee-Ann & Kuki's children's book "The Butterfly Trap", and how their combined training and interest in fine arts, education, and religion comes together in their work to help little people answer life's big questions.
It's an interview about Christianity and religion, but also about so much more. We talk about facing fear with creativity, the experience of having a life turned upside down by love, and bringing more kindness and joy in the world. These are values that can cross religious divides and can help us be better humans, which is maybe the whole point of religion in the first place.
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Places to find Lee-Ann (and how to connect locally here in Montreal)
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January 6, 2020
There has been a lot of loss and pain this year that I have not published. My life and writing is multifaceted and I was focusing on other things. And it was a very good year in so many respects. As the year came to a close, I wrote a list of highlights and accomplishments in my personal journal and there was so much to appreciate and be thankful for.
November 15, 2019
Maybe in our openness to another's experience, to listen without selfish purpose or aim, we can make a hallow space for our common dreams, hopes and joys; fears, feelings of inadequacy, and struggles.