I never meant for this to happen. I’m a psychologist by training, a Middle East reporter by experience, an agnostic fascinated by the vast and often terrifying arena in which politics and religion intersect. And as a result, an accidental theologist.
Perhaps the thirteen years I lived and worked in Jerusalem have a lot to do with it — a city where politics and religion are at their most incendiary. Or my childhood as the only Jew in a Catholic convent school, which somehow left me with a deep sense of mystery but no affinity for organized religion. Or the fact that I’ve spent the past fifteen years writing on the roots of conflict in the history of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
What this means is that my life, like my head, is full of anomalies, a fact that both bemuses and intrigues me. It makes things interesting. Whether as agnostic, as psychologist, or as writer, I’m always asking questions — not to find “answers,” but to see where the questions lead. Dead ends sometimes? That’s fine. New directions? Interesting. Great insights? Over-ambitious. A glimpse here and there? Perfect.
So you’ll find none of the comfort of received opinion here. No claim to truth, let alone Truth (that capital T always makes me nervous). None of that astounding confidence (aka hubris) that cloaks ignorance and prejudice. The aim is to question, to explore, to keep my mind — and yours — open, raise some sparks, and see what happens.
Looking forward to the conversation — Lesley
Email: accidentaltheologist [at] gmail [dot] com
Comments policy: see here.
HOME: Seattle — a houseboat, aka a floating home.
ACCENT: Mid-Atlantic (British if you’re American, American if you’re British).
EXPERTISE: Politics and religion, especially in the Middle East.
CITIZENSHIP: Dual: USA and UK.
POETS: T.S.Eliot, William Tyndale
PAINTERS: El Greco, Mark Rothko, Anselm Kiefer
HARDEST EARNED POSSESSION: Pilot’s license.
TED talks: here and here.