A fellow Timothy who also happens to live in my neck of the woods gave me the following excellent questions to answer as part of the Interview Game. I now “owe” interviews to seven people. Would you like to be interviewed and receive your own question set of five questions? If so, please say so in the comments. You can see my answers to the last round of the game, here. Without further ado…
1) When and how did you become a Christian?
I became a Christian when I was 14. I grew up in a Christian family, although I had adopted a Pluralist viewpoint and really didn't “get” the Gospel. I equated good deeds with admission to heaven and therefore doubted my own eternal destination at times (the realization that I wasn't “mostly good” was probably one of the few orthodox ideas I had at the time).
I did not want to go to Confirmation, but my mother insisted, and that is where I first really came to an understanding of the Gospel. Within the first few weeks of the program, the students were asked if they had been “born again.” I didn't understand what they were talking about. But, I did soon learn what this meant, and shortly thereafter I prayed to ask Jesus into my heart. Over the years, there have been times that I felt like I've slipped away a bit from that initial plunge, and at those times I've prayed to recommit myself to Christ, but that time during confirmation is definitely when I would pick out as when I was “saved.” (Note: I do affirm the believe in the perseverance of the saints, so I do not believe I ever backslid out of my faith, but I still do see the value in renewing my commitment to Christ at times.)
Like many people I've talked to who grew up in a church but were theologically off-base, I did not have a dramatic conversion experience that makes for a “great testimony.” Much of the process was a gradual change rather than one experience I can point to. I'm not sure one could really have discerned a difference in me on the day before I prayed the sinners prayer and the day after, but God has slowly molded me into a much different person than I was before.
2) What tools do you use for blogging and why do you think they are better than other tools available to do the job?
I use my own blogging tool, known as SAFARI 2, which I hope to release under a Free Software license at some point. It does not have a lot of distinct advantages for blogging, but I have spent a lot of time trying to shoot for efficiency concerning database querying with an eye to making this a tool that can hold up to Slashdotting-like loads of traffic (and therefore, be usable for my company's online publication, OfB). I've also tried to avoid some of the mistakes in WordPress that makes it easy for spammers to post spam, added a “forum-like” view of comment activity and I am working on a new system of categorizing posts that I think will be advantageous for proper archiving of old content.
3) What hobbies do you have that have not yet made an appearance in your blog?Hobbies that haven't appeared on my blog? I think now that I'm entering into my fourth year of blogging, I've pretty much touched on all of my hobbies at one point or another. Let's just go over a quick list of my hobbies, eh?
- Theology and Philosophy — primarily theology, but that's only because I've lacked the time to immerse myself in both to the same extent. I love these two fields perhaps too much though — they both should be the means, the windows, to the truth of God, not the end itself. Right now, I'm on a Karl Barth kick (who was repeatedly recommended to me by my professor Dr. Meyers over the past few years). Next up is a book on the “historical Jesus,” pitting evangelical N.T. Wright against Jesus Seminar scholar Marcus Borg.
- Politics — I enjoy political theory almost as much as the above mentioned subjects of philosophy and theology. Yes, I like abstract subjects that aren't suppose to be discussed in polite company. So sue me.
- Other readings — I do a lot of reading on the topics above, but I also enjoy good fiction, be it literature (Go Aeschylus!) or a modern novel, such as the Da Vinci Code.
- Creative writing — I'm the better part of 20 sonnets into my first sonnet sequence. I've written a bunch of haiku and one tanka, one villanelle, and various other poetry, some of which is posted here. I also have a novel and a play in progress at the moment.
- Photography — I love playing around with my camera, and it shows. I have over 10,000 digital photos in my iPhoto album.
Notice the conspicuous absence of computer related hobbies. I'm burnt out on computers at the moment, so they've been banned from the list. In reality, this really is the case: these days computers the things I work on as a job and I simply don't find it all that amusing fighting with them “after hours” anymore.
4) What one blog do you read on a regular basis that people who read your blog might be surprised about?
I may be proving rather unexciting now. There are only a handful of blogs I read that are not presently in my blogroll. Yours, Sparkle,
Mysterium Tremendum (to which I add: et fascinans!), Celerate, the Book of Confusion…
5) If I had responded last time you did the Interview meme, what would have been one of your five questions?
“What would you say are the most surprising similarities and differences of living in the U.K. and St. Charles County, Missouri?”