Ilze has been my ‘academic life guide’ when I started studying theology. Now, she is a part of the PIXIE blog-writing-family, and it was a great privilege to interview one of the wisest people I know.
A. Usually, or depending on the context, I try to make it brief: this particular Ilze Jansone is either one of these three: a theologian, a writer or a publicist. Sometimes I put all these three identities together.
A. It is the easiest way to define oneself. But I do not know if there is one specific ‘I’ that could define me. Not so long ago, I was listening to the music with one of my friends, and the others have accused him of listening to the same song repeatedly. He replied: “When I listened to this music yesterday, I was a different person; today I am no longer the same”.
I feel everyday experiences, the people you meet – it all is constantly forming you. In that sense, I could answer you in one sentence – Ilze is a process.
A. I’ll start with religion because it’s a little easier. I often identify myself as a Christian. However, there are times when I am ashamed to identify myself that way.
A. Because the Christian church I should belong to sometimes does something that I am ashamed of. I have also said that I am an agnostic, as I am not an active Christian – I do not go to church. However, I read the Bible regularly. I largely have faith in God’s guidance in many things – as Jesus have said: “May what you want to happen be done”.
My thinking has certainly been influenced by the history and theology of Christianity, while at the same time, many things in Christianity are unacceptable to me – especially when it comes to church hierarchy. I don’t like that the church is trying to put pressure on charismatic experiences. It seems to me that one of the main tasks of the church is to help a person grow intellectually.
The only thing not coming from Christianity for me is that I am not fond of people. I don’t think highly about people, but I can understand why they are the way they are. Or at least I think I can understand that, and that makes me tolerant. As far as spirituality is concerned, this is a vague term for me.
A. Yes, and its’ definition depends on the context. I have to admit I don’t like this term. However, I am not dismissing it completely, as it has become clear that we can no longer live without it in the 21st century. Because, perhaps, the great Christian (and many other religions) denominations have exhausted themselves and spirituality remains the only expression of human religiosity.
A. (After a relatively long period of silence) Yes, if it is reasoned well.
A. No, well-reasoned truth can be explained as one’s direct experience.
A. Yes, I know about this movement.
A. I would probably question him or her to find out why he thinks so.
A. Perhaps I would laugh at him or her. I’m arrogant. I said that every person has a right to have his or her own truth, if it is well argued, but what I did not say is that I have to accept this truth. Nor is there one universal truth upon which we can rely – that is clear. But I agree with you that we live in a society that is too tolerant. At times we are too afraid to say or do something. There are many examples. Example from my life – we are too tolerant of homophobia. Can these people have their own truth? Yes, but fuck off.
A. It is my personal boundary. In the flat earth case – that is the limit of my arrogance. It is not important for me to prove that someone is wrong. Another criterion that matters is whether one is happy with their truth. If the person is happy, let him or her live happily. As you may guess, I am thinking about people who live happily in a sect.
A. My rights are determined by a very narrow thing – which is probably one of the most sacred things we have in humanity – the freedom of the individual. If I see him or her happy but his freedom is restricted, I can try to pull him out. If he starts to take things from home to give them to the sect leader… My three boundaries or red flags are individual freedom, well-being and common sense.
A. I don’t but I can challenge it.
A. I do not. The only thing I can do to keep my sanity is to live with my truth. That is why my truth cannot be sloppy. It has to be based on either my experience or my conviction.
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