Q&A with Stephanie

I was planning to post something else today. Then I realized that today is Stephanie's birthday.
I have followed Stephanie's blogging for many years. I appreciate her writing transparency.
Happy birthday to my Q&A friend of the day. Wish you a year filled with blessed joy.

What is the name and URL of your blog?
Never Been Here Before | neverbeenherebefore.blogspot.com
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a child of God, a daughter of the King. I work in ministry. I’m from Nebraska, and have lived in 5 states since I was 22. I like coffee a lot. Jesus, too. I have a ridiculous nail polish collection and way too many Kate Spade hand bags. I play guitar, though not well. I sing a bit better than that. I love bluegrass music and like to belt out the high notes when I can. (As long as no one else can hear me.) I love to read and teach people about Jesus. I’m currently doing that in Kansas, where I work for an awesome church.
Share a few sentences or a paragraph about your blog.
I’m not a regular blogger. I wish I was, but I find the process of writing often painful, so perhaps that’s why it’s not a regular activity for me. But that really is the point of my blog. I write when I need to process something difficult I’m going through. The title, “Never Been Here Before” acknowledges that I am always changing and transforming (thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit). I often look back and what I’ve written and don’t recognize it. This is the essence of being human and an artist: we, in the words of Derek Webb, are “constantly covering the material of another person” Meaning, we’ve changed since we created that art. So every place I am in is a place I’ve haven’t been and never will be again.
Share a URL link to one of your favorite blog posts and it is a favorite.
I think this is a favorite post because it was the first time I realized that by constantly labeling myself as a sinner, I was putting all the emphasis in the wrong place. Am I a sinner? Absolutely. But that’s not the end of the story. It was the beginning of the formation of my philosophy of ministry and a greater understanding of God’s story and my place in it. By reminding myself that I am a saint, I am giving glory to the one who conquered the sin, not the sin itself.
Where do you find your inspiration to blog.
To be honest? Usually pain. Writing has always been like this for me, and I’ve been writing since the 6th grade. The most tender and wise moments I’ve been given were the result of pain in my life. But I am also occasionally inspired to write about pop culture from a Christian perspective. So strong emotions and convictions are more broadly what inspire me to write. There’s a line from the song “Breathe” by Anna Nalick that comes to mind, “2 AM and I'm still awake // writing a song // If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me // Threatening the life it belongs to” I write when I have to. Usually the compulsion is pretty strong and won’t leave me along until I process it and write it out.
Share your favorite quote and how it affects you or speaks to you.
What is to give light must endure burning – Victor Frankl

This speaks to me because it, in many ways, illustrates the Christian life. We live in the “already/not yet” – the place of already being forgiven and not yet fully restored to glory in heaven. Living this life knowing things aren’t the way they are supposed to be is complicated and messy. And living it with authenticity hurts, because it means acknowledging and confronting all that is broken. Instead of focusing on easing that hurt (which is typically where idols are born) we should focus on giving light: the light of Jesus Christ. We must lean into the struggle and face the burning, because this is what makes a difference in the world.
Share a paragraph about anything that you are passionate about.
I am passionate about critical thinking in the Christian sub-culture. Because I don’t think there should be a Christian sub-culture. I think that by labeling things “secular” and “sacred” we are drawing a line that God never intended for us to draw. Everything is sacred because God created everything. (Have we perverted some of those things? Absolutely. But that’s another paragraph.) The fact that God is the creator of all things is what makes something sacred, not how many times the word “God” or “Jesus” is used in the lyric or the script. I believe the Christian sub-culture was born out of fear of being more tainted by sin than we already are. I also believe that by putting ourselves in a Christian bubble we are ignoring the Great Commission to go out into the world and make disciples. Relational evangelism is the most effective way to not only share the gospel with someone, but to be the gospel to someone. And that means entering in to the messiness of their lives to show them Jesus. (And let them see your mess, too.) We can’t do that in a bubble. But to step outside of the bubble requires discernment and critical thinking that we often are too lazy, ill-equipped, or too afraid to do.
Thanks to Stephanie for sharing in my Q&A forum. Send me an email if you are interested in participating.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to get comments and usually respond. So come back to see my reply. You can click here to see my comment policy.