- Question #1 – Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what do you do in your spare time, etc.
I’m British – from southern England, where I’ve lived and worked my whole life. I am a pastor, and work for an Anglican church in a town called Maidenhead. Despite being a Brit, I’m something of an Americanophile – I love US history and politics. I’ve had the opportunity to visit the States numerous times and find America utterly fascinating. Other than that, I love hill walking – especially up in Scotland – and Thai cuisine.
- Question #2 – Did you always enjoy writing?
Yes – I’m a bit of an introvert, and so quite enjoy taking time out to play around with words. As a pastor I know that so much of Christian ministry feels intangible, and so it is a joy to have time to write and be creative and have something tangible to show at the end of it. Which isn’t to say writing is always easy – I’ve had many a day where I’ve ended up deleting most or all of what I’ve spent the day working on!
- Question #3 – What inspired you to write Connected: Living in the Light of the Trinity?
Understanding more about what it means for God to be Trinity has been one of the greatest joys in my Christian life. It has made me realize that God is both bigger and more beautiful than I had previously thought. His triune nature has captivated me, and as a pastor it is something I long for Christians to better grasp and enjoy.
So it was natural for me to want to do some writing on this, and to try to write something that would help Christians in general be excited and thankful about God being Trinity. I wanted to write a book that didn’t get bogged down in technicalities or Latin terminology, but which showed both the beauty and practical significance of the Trinity.
I remember thinking some time ago that if I could write an even vaguely helpful book on the Trinity then I would die a very happy man! Whatever else I may get round to writing in life, I can’t imagine writing on anything more significant and wonderful than this!
- Question #4 – Do you have a specific spot that you enjoy writing most?
I have to confess to enjoying writing in coffee shops, and Panera Bread is a favourite, particularly the one in Herndon, Northern Virginia. Writing can be quite an isolating experience so it is nice to write with other people in the background. Plus a cinnamon bun is a good mental stimulant!
- Question #5 – What book are you reading now?
I’m reading a number of books at the moment. One or two each on Christian theology and ethics, The Return of the King, and Hillary Clinton’s latest memoir (I’m a sucker for political biography).
- Question #6 – Do you have a favorite author? Who is it and why?
I have a number, and for different reasons: Tim Keller opens my eyes to God’s wisdom in his books; N. D. Wilson writes so beautifully; C. S. Lewis was the first author who taught me that it is enjoyable to think about God’s truth; Tolkien can utterly captivate and absorb me.
- Question #7 – What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I read a book on writing that kept stressing the importance of remembering how bad your first draft will be. It is easy to read books and to think the finished work all poured out of the writer seamlessly in one go. The fact is, it takes me about as long to re-write a book as it does to do the first draft, so don’t worry that the first draft may be awful! There is a sense in which a book is never actually finished – it can always be improved.
- Question #8 – At what time of day do you write most?
I love writing in the mornings. I feel most fresh and clear-minded. If I start the day writing it is easier to carry on, otherwise it is very hard to make the gear-shift into it if I’ve been doing other things that day.
- Question #9 – What has been the best compliment?
I think the most encouraging piece of feedback I heard was someone who had just read my first book Lifted telling me that they’d finished it (adding that they rarely finish books) and that as a result they were so excited about Jesus being alive. It’s hard to top that!
- Question #10 – Do you have a favorite animal?
I love dogs – such great fun to be around, especially retrievers.
- Question #11 – Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia? Why?
I love both, but Rings wins in the end as it has such an extraordinary depth and pathos that I can easily lose myself in.
- Question #12 – What famous person (living or dead) would you like to meet and why?
I’ve always loved the music of Mozart, and you sense from it a man who had both depth and levity to him. I’d love to meet him and get a sense of what was going on underneath his beautiful music.
- Question #13 – If you have a favorite book of the Bible, what is it and why?
My favourite book of the Bible tends to be whichever book I’ve most recently been studying closely. So at the moment it is Ezra. But Acts is a book I frequently come back to when I need to get my heart stirred afresh for the Lord’s work.
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