Phew – my too-busy season is over, and I can be more attentive here on the blog. Here’s an interview with the amazing Jeff Lucas – the prolific author and not-to-be missed speaker and broadcaster. He spends his time with one toe on each side of the Atlantic (his official title is teaching pastor at Timberline Church in Fort Collins, Colorado).
Through spoken or written word, I want to creatively communicate truth with vulnerability – I am weary of the image that some Christian leaders present which is about strength and arrival; I am about weakness and journey. I want to liberate, agitate, and bring relief. I love to hear people say, ‘It’s not just me – I thought that I was alone in my thoughts and fears.’
I love Jesus, but am endlessly frustrated with the religious clutter that surrounds him. I want to help remove the rubbish, not as someone who loves to knock things down, but rather to build up. I love the church, even though she drives me crazy at times. Ultimately, I want people to discover what it means to be healthily human, rather than becoming more spiritual – and of course healthy humanity is only ultimately possible as people discover a life of love and friendship with God in Christ.
Being a pastor who lives on both sides of the Atlantic means that I am able to write about the joys and challenges of church life while actually experiencing it, which was not the case when I was traveling full time. And interfacing between the church cultures in American and Britain gives me such a valuable opportunity to see the strengths and weaknesses of both Christian communities.
When Adrian Plass and I work together, most of the time it’s both serious and funny. We write back and forth across the Atlantic, occasionally meet to collaborate on the manuscript, and then tour with the Seriously Funny evening. Kay and I love being with Adrian and Bridget. Our conversations together are fuel to my soul, filled with hope, angst, questions, half-answers, and laugh-out-loud stupidity.
The Wisdom of Pelicans by Dr. Donald McCullough is my book of the decade. McCullough was a distinguished church leader and university academic who had two affairs and lost everything – his wife, his job, his car. He almost lost his faith. He spent a lot of time walking the beach, and watched the ungainly flights of pelicans each day, and wrote this book, describing life lessons that he discovered as he watched and walked. It is a beautiful, gut-wrenchingly honest book. I have been in personal contact with Donald and have sought to encourage and thank him. We have exchanged very warm emails, and he told me that my encouragement came at a very timely moment for him.
My grandson Stanley likes it when I make up my own stories, which can be completely pointless and follow no logical plotline whatsoever. He laughs even when I’m not funny. I’m grateful.