We asked our upcoming speakers a series of questions to get to know them a little better in advance of their presentation. In this post, we’re featuring Stephanie Rutt, interfaith minister, teacher, and author.
What was your reaction when you learned you were chosen as a speaker for TEDxAM18?
I felt like I have just been given an assignment – to serve in this way. Especially because I did not know I had been nominated until Christy Sperrazza told me to expect an email. Every time I think of it, I remind myself to prepare thoroughly, breathe and then, when it is time, to hand it over.
Who is an inspiration or mentor who has influenced your work?
As an interfaith minister, I have been blessed to have had many teachers/mentors across faith traditions and each has served me in different ways. Key to my inspiration have also been many but three particularly come to mind. First, Dr. George Washington Carver – who so effortlessly saw God and science as one and knew that Love (not emotional love but the Love, as he described, “… that moves the stars”) was the key essence that opens us to all knowledge – even the knowledge hidden within the peanut and sweet potato. Secondly, Mother-Saint Teresa – she received her “call with a call” and answered in spite of overwhelming challenge and went on to create a worldwide organization based on nothing but divine providence. She once was asked how she felt about being called a living saint. She replied, “You have a duty to be holy where you are. I have a duty to be holy where I am. There is nothing extraordinary about being holy. We were made for that.” Rumi – who started the Whirling Dervishes in a state of ecstasy – whirling. He would later say, “I used to be respectable. But, now all I can do is dance and clap my hands.”
What is your favorite TED or TEDx Talk and why?
Oh my … this was hard! I would have to say George Coyne (8/21/14), “We are born of stardust.” He goes on to describe how this fact has emerges as a result of our scientific knowledge of the universe.
How does what you wanted to be when you grew up compare with what you’re doing today?
I am blessed to be doing exactly what I feel is my true purpose – as an author, teacher, minister, I practice seeing and naming the expression of the Holy in everyday life – particularly in the midst of the darkest of times. (My blog post: Open Letter to Adam Lanza speaks to this.) This theme permeates every aspect of my work. Invariably, I have found it creates moments of unforeseen mystical unity when/where I have least expected them.
If you could pick one person to present a TED talk, who would you choose? Why?
Eileen Kramer – I love her work with dance. I would call it “sacred” though she may not.
You can see (and meet) Stephanie Rutt when she presents at the TEDxAmoskeagMillyard event on June 2, 2018. Register now.
Join the conversation on social media! #TEDxAM18