An Interview with Mere Fidelity - The Spirituality of Work

I had the privilege of being interviewed by Alastair Roberts and Derek Rishmawy of the Mere Orthodoxy/Mere Fidelity podcast team about Finding Livelihood. The podcast – "The Spirituality of Work" – went live last week, and I'm so pleased to share the link with you here. Actually, you don't even have to leave this site but can listen to it via the embedded player above. In this interview, I was the beneficiary of very eloquent interviewers, for which I am grateful because it helped put me at ease. I'll admit: this was my first interview about the new book and I was a bit nervous.

Here's one of the great comments/questions posed by Alastair. I appreciated this question very much, because it got at one of the things he found unique about Finding Livelihood compared with the numerous other excellent options you have to choose from if you're looking for a book on the topic of work.  

"The initial thing that struck me was the style. It’s described as a lyric style early on, and I think that’s a very good way of capturing how it hits you, immediately…. I’ve read several books on work in the past from a Christian perspective, and most of them present you with a grand theory of work and some biblical principles, etc. Whereas your work took a very different approach to the subject. One of the things that struck me was the way that the style of the writing and the larger project seemed to encourage a very meditative approach to the subject of work. At the end you have this one particular paragraph, “Take a long, contemplative look. What can you discover about life in your place in it, about the flow of love and grace moving in you and through you? Open your eyes wide and see; shut them and think. You’re aiming for glimpses of what’s really going on here: how work becomes more than what it is and how you become who you’re meant to be in the process; how you find livelihood even as you are making it.” What has struck me reading your book is the primacy you give to attentiveness over both questions and answers. When I read most books on the subject, the focus is upon the questions and answers, whereas I think your book draws us back a bit to have us look at the texture of our experience, of our work, and beyond all the questions and answers that fill our attention, to develop this deeper attention to the fabric of our lives. And out of that to arrive at moments of epiphany. I’d be interested to know your thoughts on why you chose the particular style that you did, and why you believe that is a helpful way of approaching the question of work."

If you do listen using the player above, I do still encourage you to go to the Mere Fidelity's podcast website at some point and peruse the other podcast episodes. I've added several books to my to reading list based on the episodes posted in recent weeks, such Rejoicing in Lament by Todd Billings and Made for More by Hannah Anderson.


You can now pre-order Finding Livelihood from: 1) the publisher, Kalos Press; 2) Amazon;

Finding the way with words

Finding the way with words.jpg

Sunday mornings driving to church usually overlaps with the last half of Krista Tippett’s NPR radio show “On Being” (formerly, “Speaking of Faith,” a much finer name in my humble opinion), and we usually listen. So it did and we did last Sunday when she was interviewing Sarah Kaye, a 23-year-old spoken word poet and founder of Project V.O.I.C.E. (Vocal Outreach Into Creative Expression). Honestly, I hadn’t heard her before but loved the force of her voice and words, a force that was all the stronger due to her humility.  She talked about her work as not a set of answers but as a way of exploring and she invites her readers/listeners to join her in exploring.

Here’s an excerpt. I really resonated with what she says here because it speaks to the kind of writing I like to read. In fact, I may just have to borrow this defense for my own style in the book proposal for my current work in progress.  

“I write a poem when there's something I cannot navigate without poetry. And in doing so, when I put that poem out into the world, what I'm saying is, hey, look at me trying to figure this thing out, which I haven't yet, but this is me trying. If you're trying to figure this out too, maybe this can help you or maybe you can help me. And then maybe together we can make something make more sense than it does right now. I think that that's what it means to be human is to volunteer your experience in an effort to say, hey, this is what I've got. What do you have over there? Can we make something work here?”

Of course you have to trust the person with whom you’re walking beside in the figuring-out process, but so you also have to trust the person, even more so, who is telling you what to do in bulleted check lists. There are books I pick up because I want to learn something specific, to find out how to do something; there are other books I pick up because I want to walk alongside someone for awhile who is walking a path I’m either interested in or find myself on, and we can then think together for those 250 pages or so.

She read her stunning poem “Hiroshima,” which ends with: “These aren't the last words I'll share, but just in case, I am trying my hardest to get it right this time around.”

Here is a link to a TED talk that Kaye gave and to which they referred often in the interview (I haven’t watched yet): Sarah Kaye: If I Should Have a Daughter...

You can listen to the entire interview with Sarah Kaye here: Sarah Kaye's Way with Words.