Hello and a Happy Saturday to All!
I wish to thank Chaviva for not only her wonderful interview last week but also for taking the time to answer all the many comments and questions following her interview. And thank you to all who did comment; it was wonderful to read the different views!
Thank you so much for sharing Chaviva!
Today we have a new interview so please welcome Sally Coleman.
Sally is a Christian and I know you will enjoy her post as well!
Here Is Sally's Introduction:
I am a Methodist Minister working with a number of churches in rural North Yorkshire, I’m a wife and a mum to five grown up children. I enjoy walking, cycling, swimming and am just learning to sail (dinghies). I am a beginner vegetable gardener and have enjoyed having fresh veg this summer, I have two cats who are a source of real joy except when they bring presents, the last present was a frog!
My passion is sharing the love and grace of God with others, breaking free from rule bound dry and dusty religion to truly reconnect with God. I believe that prayer should be honest not ritualised, and that God speaks to us through all things, other people, creation, music, literature…. Sally
1) What religion do you practice?
I am a practicing Christian.
2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I am a convert, I was not brought up in a religious family and religion was never mentioned. Somehow I believed in a God who was out there somewhere but didn’t know anything about him/her. I converted through learning to pray when my middle son was born with a major heart condition, I found an inner peace through prayer and a connection to a God who knows about suffering through Jesus.
3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.
I am not fond of labels but am not a conservative, although I was called both a fundamentalist and a woolly liberal in the same weekend so I guess I am fairly moderate, but would probably prefer the term progressive.
4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
I am willing to engage with tough questions and to admit that I don’t know stuff. Social conscience and justice issues are dear to my heart and they influence the way I approach scripture; I don’t read the Bible as if it were a manual but as the story of different people’s interaction with God through the ages. In it I find poetry and history, story, song and instruction.
5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?
Like I said I’m not fond of labels and really not fond of applying them to others.
6) What's your heaven/paradise like?
That is something I will wait to find out! I do however believe in a physical heaven/ new earth, where we will work and grow, learn and interact not only with one another but also with God in a way that is currently impossible.
I don’t believe in a physical hell though. I believe that some people and often through choice will simply cease to be.
7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
Not my call to make! But this I do believe, that I will be surprised who is there, and I might be surprised at who is not.
8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
Grace- I believe in a God of grace as revealed through the Christian gospels, and so often missed out on! I love Jesus words in Matthew 11: 28-30:
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, those are the main ones, and with the first two it can be difficult to remove the secular trimmings from them which strip them of meaning. I try to embrace the simplicity of the stable, and the wonder of the incarnation, the mystery of the cross and the glory of the resurrection. I love celebrating the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost.
That said a party with a feast is always good!
10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Yes. I have friends of other faiths, and friends with no faith.
11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
Yes but I may not participate in all of the activities/ festivities…
13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?
I am a woman, I am a priest. I guess that says it all!
14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
15) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
My faith affects every aspect of my life; it requires that I consider my actions carefully and prayerfully. I try to read the scriptures everyday and they inspire/ inform me. Prayer is a listening activity and I believe that God speaks by his/her Spirit, and sometimes prompts me to a certain course of action.
As for abortion- this is a often a complex issue to which there is no one size fits all answer. I don’t believe it should be an easy option or used as a late form of contraception, but there are times when it is the best of a set of difficult choices. I believe that the God of grace I worship is more loving and forgiving that s/he is sometimes portrayed to be, and that s/he understands our hearts better than we know.
The Scriptures I read are pro- committed love. Gay marriage is committed love
16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
We would talk it through, and discuss the potential difficulties, but I would not stand in their way.
17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
No- like I said- not my call!
18) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
People like the folk from Westboro’ Baptist Church who spew hate do not speak for Christianity, they speak for a twisted form of religion!
19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
My faith does not devalue me, but occasionally folk who speak for it do, when they speak against women and argue about sexuality I am afraid that I wonder whether they have lost the plot. I believe that Christianity is life-giving and transformative, if people are devalued then it is institutions not the Spirit who is to blame.
21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
Yes: read this: http://sallysjourney.typepad.com/sallys_journey/2010/08/inner-peace.html
22) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
No. I believe in an afterlife but not that we return to this earth. I cannot see how or why that would be either edifying or transformational, nor do I believe in a God who would use reincarnation as a punishment. I do believe that our life on earth will impact our life in heaven.
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