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:
http://www.utne.com/ (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.

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