Jaquandor (Kelly) from Byzantium’s Shores was kind enough to interview me. Truthfully, I saw the interview thing going around and had some reservations about asking to be interviewed. I don’t know, it seemed a little self-absorbed to ask someone to interview you. However, after seeing the questions he asked some other bloggers, I was intrigued by what he just might ask me. So, risking my own humility, I asked him to interview me.
These are his questions:
1. Is your wife aware of the degree to which you blog about your relationship? If so, her reaction?
My wife, to my knowledge, is not even aware that I have a blog, much less a blog that reveals aspects of our relationship. I am a firm believer of the “separate worlds” theory as perceived by George on Seinfeld. We all need a place where we can be real, a place that is a sanctuary from those closest to us. If my wife started reading my blog and became familiar with those who regularly read and comment on it, “Independent Jeff” would cease to exist.
No one in my real life knows about or has read my blog, so it is not just about hiding things from my wife. However, I do try to protect the most sensitive of details and people that I mention in my blog by keeping them somewhat anonymous.
2. How much, generally, do you find Christianity to be a struggle?
True Christianity is not a struggle at all. It is we humans who have to incorporate our wills and interpretations on Christianity that makes it difficult. We like to think that we can set up our own agenda. Because we are believers, we believe that agenda can easily be incorporated into God’s will for us. When the square pegs of our agenda items are being forced into the round holes of God’s will, there is bound to be a struggle; we are bound to feel that pain.
Christianity is all about surrender. Surrender is really not a tough thing, but our pride and ego get in the way and make it difficult. For example, if one is being hunted by the police who have weapons fixed on him, how hard is the decision to surrender going to be for him? The problem is that we tend to believe that our own weaponry is equal or even part of God’s - that we are hunting WITH Him rather than being hunted BY Him.
The best “Christians”, although I don’t like to imply that one person is better than any other, are those who have hit rock bottom and completely surrender to God.
So, to answer your question as it concerns me, I still need to work on surrendering from time to time. In those times, there is a struggle. However, what lessens the impact of that struggle is knowing that the Savior has already provided remedy for those shortcomings. So even when I fail, the love of God has already made my life blemish free. The realization within my spirit that God loves me to that degree, makes it a little easier to live my life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
3. What's your favorite book in the Bible, and why?
That is a tough question. Each book of the Bible is part of the overall message. However, if I had to pick one, it may be the Book of James. It is full of hope and teaches about love. There are many key passages in this short book of only five chapters. It discusses living in the success of Christ - showing HOW to live it. James also points out how powerful words are to cause harm and blessing. It shows the meaning of God’s love and reveals His heart.
Because of my current trials, the first chapter of James is there to remind me of what I have come to trust:
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves.” (James 1: 2-6 – The Message Bible Paraphrase).
I recommend to all that they should read this short book. I have provided it in the easy to read “The Message” paraphrase on my appendix blog. It is fantastically better than any drivel you will read on my blog. Read it here and be blessed.
4. Describe the best and worst meals you've ever had.
The best and worst concept is difficult most of the time. Let’s say I have had 25 simply outstanding meals in my life. From those, how could I accurately pick the best? Some meals are outstanding for reasons different than others. The best I can do is say that when my grandmother was alive, one of the best meals I have ever had was at her house. When she served fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and corn on the cob, there is little that could compete with that. Her chicken was unique for no apparent reason. I asked her what she did to it and she simply said, “Oh, I just use flour and add a little salt and pepper.” Yet, grandma magic made it more delicious than any other I have ever tasted. It is a pity that I will never taste it again.
The worst meal in my life came on a first date. It was a lunch date and we walked from her apartment to the Cracker Barrel which was a short block away. I had . . . chicken, ironically enough. It was grilled chicken and it tasted terrible. I noticed that it was raw inside, but I didn’t want to say anything and look like I was some malcontent on this first date. However, my date noticed the bloody pink filet and encouraged me to notify the server. At that point, I was no longer hungry, but my meal was free, awkward, and bad tasting. I think I recall feeling sick the rest of the day. A great date!
5. You, at home, a night alone, and you won't have to clean up. (Elves, or something.) What do you do? What's for dinner?
As great as a question this is, I don’t want to answer. Is it because I am embarrassed of my actions on such a night? Nope. The truth is, I am boring. However, here it goes: I would probably want an “Una Pizza”. This is a pizza unique to my town (for the most part). It is a thin, cracker-type crust with an interesting blend of cheese, sauce and toppings. I can’t explain what makes this blend taste different than other pizzas (since they ALL have cheese, sauce and topics); it just does. After dinner, I would probably watch a movie that I have been putting off for sometime (there is always at least one), and end up writing (either blogging or working on one of my projects). Before bed, I would get some magic powder from those elves to keep mosquitoes off of me without smelling like DEET, lay in a hammock that apparently those elves provided, stare at the stars, listen to the crickets and other nocturnal life, and fall asleep praying to my God, thanking Him for the gift that the evening was – and, of course, for supplying the elves.