Interview with C. Paul Schroeder, Author of Practice Makes PURPOSE

Mar. 29, 2018

I was privileged to invite Mr. Schroeder for an interview with BooKecCenTric to discuss his latest book: Practice Makes PURPOSE: Six Spiritual Practices That Will Change Your Life and Transform Your Community. Enjoy!


Thank you @CPaulSchroeder for your time today. What's your latest book about, and what inspired you to write it?
@CPaulSchroeder: Practice Makes PURPOSE is a book about how to love. Although the word "love" is used sparingly, the book offers stories, simple examples, and practical tools to show what love looks like in action. It outlines six spiritual practices that people can easily put to use in everyday life to strengthen their relationships, improve focus and clarity, and generate increased vitality and joy. The Six Practices are a new formulation of a very old set of teachings and disciplines. I wrote this book after my own very personal encounter with these practices. I used to be a Greek Orthodox priest, but I left the priesthood after a divorce and a subsequent period of personal and spiritual crisis. That's when I found the Six Practices, or rather, when they found me. 

The Six Spiritual Practices are:
1. Compassionate Seeing
2. Heartfelt Listening
3. Intentional Welcoming
4. Joyful Sharing
5. Grateful Receiving
6. Cooperative Building

Who is your target audience, and why do you think this book will appeal to them?
@CPaulSchroeder: My target audience is people who work or volunteer in mission-focused environments (mainly nonprofits and socially-minded for-profits), although I think the book has broad appeal beyond this niche. After leaving the priesthood, I founded a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people who experience homelessness achieve their full human potential. My coworkers at the nonprofit and I taught these practices to volunteers at the nonprofit. We heard many stories of how they put the Six Practices to work, not only in their volunteerism, but in their family, their friendships, and their workplace. These stories are part of what inspired me to write the book in the first place.

What message do you wish to pass across to your readers with this book?
@CPaulSchroeder: Small actions performed daily have great power. The social ills that plague our neighborhoods and cities--poverty, homelessness, crime, violence, addiction--will not ultimately be solved by more money or social programs, though these may be necessary in the interim. They will cease through the creation of a more compassionate community. By applying the Six Spiritual Practices in our everyday lives and relationships, we are cooperating with the universe in the emergence of a new reality: a community where all people flourish.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
@CPaulSchroeder: It was hard to get the voice right. When you write a self-help book, you are giving people advice and instructions, and it is VERY difficult to do this without coming off as preachy, arrogant, and self-absorbed. I had some good friends and a terrific writers' group that really helped me at some critical moments (I actually blogged about this here).

As a writer, is there anything you've learned about yourself while writing this book?
@CPaulSchroeder: I think it's important to have fun. Sharing what I have written as a free gift, without the expectation that it will be successful or achieve a particular result, frees me up to enjoy the opportunities for teaching and engagement that come with being an author. But the moment I start to focus in on a particular result (e.g., "What's my current sales rank on Amazon?") all the fun leaches out of the activity.

What is your niche genre, and if you were to write in a different genre, what would it be?
@CPaulSchroeder: My niche is self-help of the spiritual/inspirational subgroup, similar to Don Miguel Ruiz' The Four Agreements. If I were to write in a different genre, it would probably be fiction, along the lines of Paolo Coelho's The Alchemist.

Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you?
@CPaulSchroeder: I hold a second-degree black belt in taekwondo, and one place where I find a lot of energy and inspiration for writing is in the taekwondo dojang (the Korean equivalent of "dojo"). Martial arts are about focus, discipline, and clarity, and they put me in touch with emotions, including anger and aggression, that can be channeled into positive purposes.

Do you have any more books in the works?
@CPaulSchroeder: I'm not working on anything right now, but I am considering a series of books on the Six Practices focused on specific audiences, like "Six Spiritual Practices That Will Transform Your Marriage" or "Six Spiritual Practices That Will Transform Your Business." I'd love to work with other authors who are experts in their fields on some projects like this.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
@CPaulSchroeder: I do read reviews. I think seemingly "negative" reviews can be a real gift, because it's very difficult for a writer to see their own writing objectively. As I said above, if I'm not obsessed with "success or failure" thinking, it's easier to approach such feedback with a flexible, even playful mindset.

What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.)?
@CPaulSchroeder: I can be found at, Facebook, Twitter @CPaulSchroeder, or LinkedIn 

Any additional comments you would like to add?
@CPaulSchroeder: I've also published several companion resources to the book. There's a workbook that contains questions for reflection, journaling pages, and simple exercises for use throughout the day. I also created a "toolkit" consisting of colorful cards with information about each of the practices. And there's a free discussion guide for groups that want to use the book as the basis of a class, book club, or group discussion. It's all on the website:


C. Paul Schroeder is the author of Practice Makes PURPOSE: Six Spiritual Practices that Will Change Your Life and Transform Your Community. He is a social entrepreneur, author, and spiritual teacher who has spent over 20 years working at the intersection of spirituality and social change. He served for more than a decade as a Greek Orthodox priest. After a divorce and a period of personal and spiritual crisis, he left the priesthood and founded New City Initiative, a nonprofit organization in Portland, Oregon, dedicated to helping people who experience poverty and homelessness achieve their full human potential. Throughout the seven years he directed New City, he and his coworkers trained individuals, nonprofits, and businesses to use the Six Spiritual Practices. He is the author and translator of St. Basil the Great: On Social Justice. He currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.