2/8/10

5 Questions with Gary Thomas

Welcome to 5 Questions With.....

Today's guest is Gary Thomas.
Gary Thomas is a writer and founder of the Center for Evangelical Spirituality. He is the author of several books including Sacred Marriage, Sacred Pathways, Holy Available, Sacred Parenting, and the Gold Medallion Award-winning Authentic Faith. Gary speaks at approximately 50 churches, denominational meetings and ministry gatherings every year, teaching at seminars designed to equip Christians to grow in their faith. These seminars vary from one-evening sessions to a week long or weekend format and address the essential elements of Christian spirituality from an evangelical perspective.

And now without further delay, on to the questions:

Hi Gary,


Question 1: What one word would describe your current relationship with God?

Son.


Question 2: What was the catalyst for you to begin teaching about marriage?

It was my own experience. I couldn't find any other books that looked at the spiritual challenge of marriage, but I found myself being tested and tried as a married man in ways I'd never been tried as a single man - and I saw the benefits of having my sin exposed, learning to serve and other aspects of marital life. After living it for 15 years, as a writer it was natural for me to want to explore it on paper - and so I did.

Question 3: How do you balance teaching, writing and family?


When I had a "job," I wrote in the mornings, before anyone else was up, and on weekends, when the kids napped. By the time they were older, writing and teaching became my occupation, so it fit into the work week. As far as traveling goes, when the kids were younger, I let my wife have veto power over every speaking invitation. We talked about the balance between needing the income, the ministry opportunity, and the time away from home. It wasn't, and isn't, easy - in fact, trying to balance them has likely been one of the greatest stresses in my life.

Question 4: Sacred Marriage, Sacred parenting; it seems that much of your teaching is about letting God change you, rather than those around you. How big of a problem is self-centeredness in our relationships with God and others?

I think self-centeredness is the BIGGEST problem. When you read Scripture and the Christian classics, it's clear that humility is the chief virtue, and pride the chief sin. Thankfully, marriage and parenting both represent some of the most effective arenas in all of human experience to grow in selflessness, which the ancients would have called humility.


Question 5: If you could only have 5 minutes to impact a couple with truth about Christian marriage, what would you tell them?

Feelings fade; it's a scientific certainty. Marriage will pinch your feet, point out your weaknesses, raise little irritations - embrace these soul-scouring aspects of marriage instead of fighting them, and learn to appreciate your spouse as a sibling in Christ instead of resenting them for being used by God to point them out. And finally, never, ever forget you're married to God's son or God's daughter. When you truly believe that God is your father-in-law as well as your father, your marriage will never be the same; that's where worship (honoring God) and marriage (loving your spouse) come together.

Thanks you so much Gary.

There you have it. I would encourage you to check out Gary's website. There you will find an extensive bio, free resources and videos to view.

Also a special thank you to my colleague, Stanley Groothof, who introduced me to Gary Thomas and who really set this interview up for me.

To see past 5 Question guests, check out the rotating interview links on the sidebar.

2 comments:

4thpoint said...

Great questions, Rick! Great answers, Gary! Thank you, both.

I remember during the retreat, Gary said something to the effect of: "Okay, so you married a sinner. Get over it." That cracked me up! But it's serious, too: I think sometimes we get annoyed / angry / bitter at our spouse when we glimpse in them something of the sin that's burdening us... But we'd rather lash out at someone else than confess our own need for forgiveness. No wonder we're called to practice selflessness and humility!

The part about God being our Father-in-law (the Father of our spouse!) is also profound, and has huge implications.

Peace and grace,
the aforementioned Stanley =)

RDA said...

Thanks Brother!