Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Interview Meme

I asked Ross to interview me. Instructions for furthering the meme:

  1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
  2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
  3. You will update your weblog with the answers to the questions.
  4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

My Questions

1. You describe yourself as a part time writer. What, and why, do you write?

What I write: I freelance for a company I used to work for (little exceedingly boring-to-write blurbs about "stuff" for elementary teachers - for which I'm very grateful.) I have also begun writing some articles for Tyndale on the spiritual disciplines. I hope that will be a long-term gig, but it may be something short-term. I blog, of course. I write poetry and have written some 80 pages or so of a novel.

Why I write: The freelancing is for extra money. It's financially difficult having one parent at home when the other parent is a teacher. That's the main reason I do the freelancing. I also hope the Tyndale articles will help people who desire to know God a little better come with me on a journey to explore the disciplines. There have been others, better-qualified, who have written terrific books on the disciplines. But I hope the Tyndale articles can be a record of a discovery of the disciplines, rather than just a parroting of what others have said or even an exhaustive definition of them.

Why I write what I am not paid to write: I'm getting to the point where I just need to write. It's becoming something of an essential outlet for me to help me understand the world I live in - whether I write fiction or nonfiction. I have always loved writing poetry, though I'm not a terrific poet. And I have always wanted to write novels/stories. (C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were my heroes when I was growing up - still are.)

2. Which author has been most influential on your life?

It's gotta be C.S. Lewis - his fiction. His essays are profound and helpful, but in my life it seems his fiction (The Chronicles of Narnia, Till We Have Faces, and the Space Trilogy) is more applicable. His thinking has pervaded my own for many years, though I do disagree with him about several things.

3. Describe one of the defining moments in your life.

The births of all my children are incredibly beautiful, emotional moments for me. The birth of my first daughter, however, was a defining moment in my life. Not because she's any better than the others, or any more loved, but because she was my first. When she was born, it was as if I had been re-born again. Life was new and fresh, and I couldn't wait to show this little girl her first duck. And God was in it. I was floored by the sense of blessing and purpose.

Birth is the most earthy and human experience I've ever been witness to - there are groans and struggle and pain and sweat. When the baby is born, there is blood. Your brain is flooded with sensory information. It is a total engagement of your humanity. But it is equally overwhelming in its ethereality and divinity. It's as if the two intersect, and you are an eye-witness to the incarnation. You are two and then you are three. It's hard to express the experience adequately. It's a God-thing.

I'm sorry, I don't do it justice. Some day I would like to take more time to explore it more completely.

4. How do you feel about paradoxes? Do they need explaining, or embracing?

Both, I think. The explanation side of the paradox is limited, obviously. When I was a boy we had an old oak tree in our yard that had a tremendous circumference. I remember on may occasions struggling to embrace the tree. I wanted to wrap my arms all the way around the tree, to encompass its girth. And though I could only get my arms around a fraction of it, I could get my fingers in the canyons of the bark and hold on. That's a picture of how I view paradoxes and the mystery of God. I must attempt to embrace it, but I will never be able to fully encompass it. Interestingly, I didn't go around hugging huggable trees - just the ones that I was unable to wrap my arms around. There is pleasure in attempting to encompass something that you cannot.

5. What inspires you with hope, energy, or excitement?

YHWH. My wife coming home. My wife, period. My children. Holidays. A new book. Friends. Beginning a journey. Moments of inspiration. Feeling the clarification of my Muse while I write. Solving a difficult problem. Trying to embrace trees that are unembraceable. YHWH.

Thanks, Ross, for the questions.


ScottB said...

Ok, shoot - interview me. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey Scott,

I like this idea of interviewing. Seems like this is going around the blogosphere, but it'd be fun to actually do an interview where you could actually follow up on the answers, rather than answering a set of five question. So consider this a follow up question. :-) Upon reading about your love of Lewis, you said there are issues you disagree with him on. I'd be intrigued by a follow up question that asks what issues you disagree with Lewis on. Like you, "his thinking has pervaded my own for many years," but there was a time a few years ago when I was ready to give all of my CSL books away--or throw them in the nearest dumpster. I've come around again to a deep love and appreciation of him, but there are certainly things I can't agree with him on. I'm curious what you find troublesome with Lewis.

Dan in GR.

PS I really liked the answer regarding your daughter's birth.

Scott said...

All right, Berkhimer, here are your questions:

1. How do you live in the Story of God, the Story in which you find yourself? ; )
2. If you could be any character from literature, who would it be and why?
3. What do you hope to do with your MDiv from Biblical?
4. When did you know you wanted to marry your wife and how did you ask her to marry you?
5. What is your favorite food memory and why?

ScottB said...

Rock on - I'll pull it together tomorrow. Should be fun. ;)

alison said...

I talked to Dan today. Encouraged him to stop lurking and start commenting. So he goes and comments on you.

Is that good manners?


ross said...

Scott, excellent answers all! I love the tree-hugging image in particular.

I think you should go and read up on / introduce yourself to my friend Paul, another writer / C.S. Lewis fan. I suspect you two might have a lot in common.


Scott said...

Alison, I'm sorry. Have him over for dinner some night and then force him to post. I don't know how, withhold dessert or something.

Ross, thanks for the intro to Paul. I'll check him out. And thanks for the questions - I enjoyed that. I'll be raving at you later tonight on Signposts, I'm sure. : ) And tomorrow I'll die of exhaustion.

Dan, it's great to hear from you. (You might want to post over on Alison's blog : ) ) About Lewis: I guess I wonder sometimes about his theology. I think he leans toward Universalism, which is understandable since his "spiritual father," George MacDonald had the same leanings. I understand the sentiment, but Scripture doesn't seem to square with it. I read one essay and swear he's a theistic evolutionist and then another and think he's a creationist. Maybe because I read him irregularly. Maybe it's me who is changing and not him. Maybe I'm too quick to slap a label on him without really just tasting. Also, sometimes he's just too clean - his essays are too neat, somehow. Maybe I'm just jealous, but I'd like to see him wrestling more with the mystery of it all. Of course you see that crop up in his fiction much more than his essays. Poor answers, I know. It's been a long time since I've read anything by him. But I find his illustrations and stories keep popping out of my mouth when I'm thinking about an issue.

What are some of the areas you find troublesome?

alison said...

He is the one who brings dessert!

I am glad he posted wherever.

Dan In GR said...

Hey Scott,

Well, regarding Lewis, like you, I realize that it's been awhile since I've read his stuff in depth. It's more a memory of things that caused me to recoil rather than specific passages or beliefs of Lewis. There was a long time where I accepted the thoughts and writings of C.S. Lewis as if he was a modern day apostle, and that his writings, more than any other modern writer, were pretty close to gospel truth. As I think back on Lewis, and why I might have issues with him, I believe my thoughts reflect the feelings of Douglas Gresham in the movie "Shadowlands." Soon after his mother died, he is seen sitting upstairs in the attic, in front of the wardrobe, just after reaching into the closet with the hope that somehow he'll be transported to Narnia. Instead, he was confronted with the hard, unyielding wood of the wardrobe's back wall. He sat down, defeated, disillusioned, and disappointed that he must live without hope of the fairy tale ending in this world. Lewis joins him on the landing, and they weep and sob together uncontrollably.

I guess for me, Narnia, and Lewis are the wardrobe, and my moment of disillusionment with CSL came when I ran smack into the back of the wardrobe. I guess it goes back to that conversation we had at TGIF in Lansing last year, where I wondered if all that I had grown up believing was simply a falsehood. Lewis epitomized all that I felt I was taught to believe, and so I was ready to throw him overboard. I suppose I've journeyed a bit since then, and am in the process of coming to terms with all of those promises. What I truly believe, what I must believe, is that those promises are true. It is me, and my understanding of them, that must be questioned, not the reality of the truths and promises of God. I guess that's where "working out your salvation" comes into play, right? That being said, after those events in my life, the glittering appeal of Lewis became tarnished for me, though I suspect, when I'm ready, he'll help me see things aright once again. Full circle, I suppose.

Dan M.

ScottB said...

Responses are up - thanks Scott!

Scott said...

Thanks for sharing that, Dan. I appreciate your thoughts and your honesty.