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Here's where we keep all our press releases,
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Q & A Interview for the Bridge River
Q. We have with us today, Jesse Leigh Brackstone and her new
seven-novel series Time & Unforeseen Occurrence. Welcome Jesse. How are you today?
A. Still blessed, thank you - and you?
Q Did you say, "Still blessed?" That's an interesting answer.
A. Well, it's true, isn't it?
Q. I... I guess it is when you think about it. I've just never heard
anyone say that before, so you took me by surprise at little - just a
little. (Both laugh.) Do you always respond to 'How are you's' this way?
A. Mm-hmm. I figure as long as I'm still here, I'm still blessed.
So are you.
Q. I've never thought about it like that. I think I'll need to
sit with it for a while. I'm not particularly religious, so...
A. Neither am I.
Q. What? But you're a missionary, and you write Christian books and
music. How can you say you're not religious?
A. I don't write Christian books and music. It's true
that I'm a missionary, and a Christian, but the books and music that I write
are intended for all people. I don't know why so many assume that
because someone is a Christian that everything they do must be labeled
'Christian' too. Certainly, one's behavior ought to reflect the
expression of one's faith, but to label everything 'Christian' borders on
the ridiculous. I don't wear 'Christian' clothes, sleep in a
'Christian' bed, or cook 'Christian' stew. What the word 'Christian'
means to me is that I'm a follower of Jesus Christ, and that's all it
should mean, in my opinion.
Q. Is that why you say you're not religious?
A. No, not at all. I suppose it depends
on what the word 'religious' connotates for you.
For me it brings images of divisions and sects, which God hates, and the
man-made rules that cause these divisions. I've nothing against the concept
of the worship of God being organized - as long as it's God Who's doing the
organizing, and not imperfect humans.
Q. So, in other words, you don't care for organized religion?
A. I didn't say that. I don't care for the rules that man has added
to the teachings of Christ, which so far have only served to divide God's
people, instead of uniting us.
Q. I was under the impression that differences in theological
perspective divide people, rather than 'rules' - as you say.
A. Oh, I think every human on Earth probably holds a unique
perspective when it comes to theological interpretation and understanding, but the
Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is nothing if not simple, and all Christians
know what it is. It's encapsulated in John 3:16, and for me, in 1st
Corinthians chapter 13 as well.
Q. Would you mind shedding some light on those scriptures for us?
A. Not at all. John 3:16 says, 'For God so loved the world that He
gave His Only-begotten Son so that everyone exercising faith in Him might
not be destroyed but have everlasting life.' I think that's
self-explanatory, don't you?
Q. Sounds straightforward enough. Let's test it out. From what you said, God loves the world so much
that He sent His Son to Earth so that people would have faith in Him and
live forever. How did I do?
A. You have the right idea. The Father calls people to the Son,
Jesus, and through having faith in Jesus, and that means in ALL that He is, and
did, and said, we can then be reconciled to our Father in Heaven - which is the
purpose and plan of God.
Q. What is?
A. To have all things in Heaven and on Earth reconciled to Himself
and living under His Dominion. When we pray, 'Thy Kingdom come,' that's
what we're praying for.
Q. I guess I've never really thought about that either. I've known it
by rote since I was a child, but I never really thought much about the words....
A. I think it's pretty safe to say that you're not alone in that.
Q. Really? Well, I suppose I think of it more as a cultural thing.
A. You're not alone in that either.
Q. Good to know! What about that other scripture you mentioned? How does that
relate to the Gospel?
A. Ist Corinthians 13?
Q. I think that's what you said.
A. Well, it speaks of love as being more important than anything,
so much so that
even if we do everything God asks of us, but don't do it with love in our
hearts, it's worth nothing in God's eyes. God IS Love, and everything we
think, say, and do needs to be motivated by that love, or we might as well
Q. Really? So, how does that relate to the Gospel specifically?
A. Well, as I said, God IS Love. God sent His Son to pay a debt that He didn't owe because
humankind owed a debt that we could not pay.
Q. A debt? How so?
A. Well, the Bible tells us that the wages for sin is death, and since all
people are sinners, all people deserve to die. But Christ, Who was sinless,
took upon Himself the sins of everyone in the world, past, present, and
future, and by spilling His Perfect Blood and dying in our place, He
repurchased us and rescued us from the consequence of sin, and made it
possible for us, through Him, to approach The Father.
Q. You've lost me here. Why did He have to spill his blood? And why
couldn't any other Holy man die for our sins? Why did Jesus have to die at
A. Because without blood being shed there can be no atonement for
sin. You must have heard people say they've been washed in Christ's blood?
Q. Yes, I've heard that often, but I've never understood it.
A. Well, it isn't complicated. Christ was sinless, perfect, holy - Divine,
in fact. No human on Earth can
claim this, and that is why the Father sent Jesus to shed His Blood as the
atonement for the sins of humankind. When someone says they've been
washed in Christ's blood, they mean that Jesus' Blood cleansed them from sin
- washed away their sins, if you will.
Q. And is this what your story is about? The Gospel?
A. In the sense that as a Christian I adhere to the
principles in the Bible, yes, but it isn't a 'how-to' series, nor a lecture of
any kind, it's a standalone story. I believe wholeheartedly in the principles that Christ
taught, and I try to live my life by them, so I think it's inevitable that
they find their way into my writing, but it isn't something that I
consciously set out to do. Understand though, Dawn,
that every human on Earth values the principles that Christ taught,
regardless of the label they have, or the faith that they adhere to.
God wrote His Laws on the hearts of all people, which is why all humans value
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, mildness, faith,
self-control and all other
good things. Christians know these values as 'The fruitage of The
Spirit,' and others call them by other names, but the Source of our value
system is one and the same - Yahweh, or Almighty God.
Q. So, your story is about these values?
A. It's based on these values, but what isn't?
Time & Unforeseen Occurrence is about a fascinating journey -
several personal journeys in fact - and a diverse and intriguing family. You know, of course, that the novel
you're holding is the first in a series of seven, right?
A. Well then, as we follow the characters through their lives, we
participate in each one's journey.
Q. What kind of journey are we talking about? You know I haven't read
the series yet since I only got mine today, so....
A. (Jesse shrugs.) Several kinds. The quest for truth, some specific answers, some
not-so-specific answers, personal growth, learning to hit what you're
pitched. (Jesse laughs.) It has plenty of adventure in it, but I see it as a love story -
not a 'romance novel' or anything like that, but love of many different kinds and intensities,
and on multiple levels. Life's tough, but it's how we meet the
challenges we face that defines us. Primarily, it's a story about the
human condition, with love, faith, and family at its core. It was a joy to write, and it still is. I'm totally
in love with the story and even with the characters, who are all as real to me as
anyone else I know - more in most cases.
Q. I guess I can relate to that in the sense that the characters in my
favorite TV show are, in a way, real to me. I know that they're not real,
but it feels as if they are - and look at the millions of people that are
hooked on soap operas.
A. I think that's a good comparison - and the hallmark of a popular TV show.
Q. Or a book?
A. I believe so - for whatever that's worth.
Q. So, what are your hopes for this book, or the series. Is there a
message that you're trying to impart?
A. Hmm... how to answer that. If there is a message it would have to
be 'Love conquers all.' As for my hopes for the series, I don't think in
those terms. I never intended to write a novel, let alone seven, but I
felt compelled to do it, so I'm just leaving the rest up to God.
Whatever His Will is for this story - that's what I want too. I'll admit
that I won't hate it if a series of movies is made based on the story, but
that won't happen for a few years yet. I've always felt that this
series was destined to make its way to the silver screen, but I can't explain why any more
than I can explain anything else about Time & Unforeseen Occurrence -
it seems to have a life and a destiny all its own. (Jesse grins.)
A movie series has been suggested a few times now, so I guess we'll
have to wait and see what happens.
Q. Is it true that you donate the profits from your music and books to
A. Mm-hmm. Well, not all of the profits
- one has to make
a living, after all, but we donate most of them, yes. We're not a
charity, we're just ordinary people doing the best we can, which I believe
is true of most people at heart. We've been involved in local and
overseas outreach programs for many
years and believe that this is what we're meant to do.
Q. How do you know that you're 'meant' to do it? I mean, why not
just give the money to Sick Kids' Hospital or another charity you care
A. Well, we care about all people who
need help in the world, and we do give to Sick Kids' Hospitals.
Obviously, they're not the only cause we support, but we know whom to give
to in the same way that I knew to write the story in the first place - we just
do. I believe that when you show up for duty and ask God what His Will is
for you that He shows you through His Holy Spirit. I'm doing what I'm
doing on faith. Some people will understand this and I know that some
won't. Either way, does it really matter? I'm doing what I believe I'm
supposed to do, and that's all any of us can do, don't you agree?
Q. I don't think that any of us can do more than that,
It's been a pleasure having you with us this evening.
A. Not at all, the honor is mine, and thank you.
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