Jeff Lucas: 'I'm a pendulum'

Posted by Sam Hailes  ·  1 visitor comment

 Author and speaker Jeff Lucas travels internationally with a vision to encourage and equip the church. 

Jeff is the author of eighteen books, as well as a number of study guides, booklets and a DVD teaching series called Life Journeys

His radio broadcasts are heard daily on over 350 radio stations worldwide, including Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Jeff and Kay live in Loveland, Colorado, where he holds a teaching post at Timberline Church, Fort Collins.

1. You are best known for mixing serious teaching with light hearted humour. Is that a good description of what you do?

Yes, some of the most effective social commenters in our day are comedians. Humour has changed in the last 25 years from being slapstick, punchline driven knockabout laughter to observational humour which is effectively the comedian holding up a mirror and saying 'why do we do this'?

Laughter doesn’t need its defense, it’s medicinal and it’s great to have fun. I love to see Christians laugh, especially those who have been taught they shouldn’t.

2. Tell us about your new book There Are No Strong People.

I’ve tried to explode the myth that bad people do bad things and good people do good things, and basically say there’s no such thing as a strong person, just people with strength. 

3. Why does it follow the story of Samson?

I think he is one of the most misunderstood characters in scripture. He totally lashes things up and yet he’s the only one of the judges of whom it’s said God blessed him. Surprisingly he appears in the Hebrews 11 hall of faith which suggests God looks at him in a way that most Christian commentators don’t.

4. Why do you describe your book as controversial?

One of the things I highlight in the book is that the church is the perfect environment for immorality because of the linkage between spirituality and sexuality. So when the Holy Spirit stirs Samson, that’s when things start going wrong and he sees a woman and starts going off on the wrong trail. Not to any way blame God for what he did, but there is a linkage between being stirred spiritually and being stirred sensually.

If you examine the story of Samson and you look at what the ancient Rabbis said about him, it’s an incredibly sexual story. It’s very lurid and the imagery is very graphic. Just that can make some Christians feel uncomfortable because they’re not sure we can really talk about this stuff. I’ve not tried to gloss it up and say the naughty stuff isn’t there. It is there and it’s there for a reason.

5. What has God been teaching you recently?

God has been teaching me that I am a pendulum. We all think we’re balanced and we live with this notion that we’re right and have understood Jesus correctly and reached the evolutionary pinnacle in theological understanding and we know how to interpret the Bible. But the truth is that we don’t.

In the past I reacted against the faith prosperity teachers and I instinctively was reluctant to pray about my stuff. We’re all pendulums and we’re all swinging one side of the point of balance or the other. I realised through Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker that I’d stopped bothering God with the stuff that bothers me. I’ve started doing that again.

What prevents us from having conversations is the idea we’re all in trenches, but we’re not. I don’t expect to ever stop being a pendulum. Every second of our lives we’re changing and that’s been a little bit of a revelation to me.

6. Why did you write Helen Sloane's Diary?

When you write a story, you don’t have to answer all the questions, you can ask the questions and use them open-ended. I think we need to ask more questions. Jesus asked over 300 questions.

Much of what we do in the church is about providing prescriptive answers and we like to go away with the boxes checked but I think there’s a role in both preaching and writing that stirs up the questions and gets under your skin and sends you away to a few sleepless nights.

7. What’s the best Christian book you’ve read?

The most life changing book I read was The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass. Something within me wants to say Pilgrim's Progress or something deep, profound and heavy but the reason Sacred Diary changed my life was because it was honest and real in a Christian culture back that then that didn’t have much reality going on.

8. Which book has been your favourite to write?

It sounds a bit cheesy but the truth out of all of the books I’ve done, if there’s one book I want them to read it’s There Is No Strong People. There was a certain amount of agony in writing the book and the process of it. It’s a slightly different style for me and I’m very very excited about it.

I also really enjoyed doing Seriously Funny with Adrian Plass and we’re doing a follow up to that now. I enjoyed the process of writing backwards and forwards as we did and telling the truth and being honest with it.

9. Are you going to be touring with Adrian Plass again?

We’re talking about the possibility of doing a Seriously Funny day conference. We found as we trekked around the country so much bottled up pain in Christians.

Sometimes what happens in the church is someone wants to talk about something difficult like heaven and hell and everyone starts digging their trenches. We catch a whiff of controversy, chuck our grenades and duck.

No one is available to thrash through these things, so they bury their doubts and questions. Then they get depressed and drift away. One of the things I’m wanting to encourage is to be honest and stop messing around with talk that doesn’t really impact Monday mornings.

10. You split your time between the UK and the US. What are the pros and cons of all that travelling?

I’ve enjoyed travelling backwards and forwards and bringing a bit of the UK church to America and a bit of the American church to the UK. One of the negatives is it's not great for the environment and not great for me.

I was with a group of Anglo Catholics back in England for five days which was life changing. Two weeks ago I was in Oklahoma with a group of Charismatics who thought that volume meant equaled intensity. They were lovely too. I’m really blessed and I mean that not in any clichéd way. I’m grateful for the opportunity to interact with people broadly.

13th March

March 13th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes

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Claire Musters

Claire Musters

Posts: 12

This is a great interview. Jeff is such a funny guy who is also full of integrity - he manages to get people to open up and be honest, which is a real gift. :)

Friday, 23rd March 2012 at 10:22PM

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