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Q & A
Interview for the Bridge River News:
Q. We have with us
today, Jesse Leigh Brackstone and her new
seven-novel series Time & Unforeseen
Jesse. How are you today?
A. Still blessed,
thank you - and you?
Q Did you
say, "Still blessed?" That's an
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
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,
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
Well, I suppose I think of it more as a cultural
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
A. Ist Corinthians
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 not bother.
So, how does that relate to the Gospel
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.
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 all?
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?
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....
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 outreach programs?
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 about?
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,
Jesse. 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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