It’s counterintuitive to admit to your flaws, especially in Christian circles. Author Jonathan Acuff unflinchingly shares his faith, intersecting comedy and conviction in everyday life.
For our Special Blend Interview today, I’m shining the spotlight on Jonathan Acuff, blogger and author of Stuff Christians Like, whose debut book has been dubbed the next “Christian Classic Living Handbook“.
On one hand, I was sort of nervous. You never know what will happen when you talk to a guy who is highly skilled at blogging about the funny things we Christians do.
On the other hand, when I thought back to the first SCL blog post I read, Refusing The Gift of the Desert Road, I felt right at home with a spiritual brother.
So, grab yourself a cup of coffee and join my interview with Prodigal Jon.
I want to thank you for being generous with your time, hanging out here at Faith Barista.
Given your “baby” is finally available for pre-order on Amazon, you probably have celebrations queued up with your wife, two children, and gaggles of friends. Wahoo!
Lemme jump right in and ask my first question:
You caught my attention with the Desert Road post because you talked about a difficult subject without trying to look good in the process.
You describe yourself as, “wildly impatient, selfish, arrogant”, while concluding, “I still struggle with the desert road concept”.
How do you explain your ability to post confessionals out on the blogosphere for everyone to see? Do you close your eyes and click “publish” quickly before you change your mind?
That’s a great question. I get nervous about almost everything I write, so I’d be lying if I said I didn’t worry or think about the stuff I am sharing.
Especially knowing that coworkers and family members are reading the site from time to time.
But a missionary once told me to not look down.
He encouraged me to just keep climbing up.
So I try to avoid “looking down.”
Nice. That’s a great quote for blogging and faith walking.
It’s counterintuitive to admit to your flaws, especially in Christian circles.
Was there a significant event that triggered this ability to hang dirty laundry out so well?
Without a doubt.
My life fell apart in the summer of 2005.
More than fell apart, I really blew it up with some bad decisions and some consequences that I deserved and could not change with my own power.
I couldn’t fix me with me and out of that I started to try to share my scars, in the hopes that other people wouldn’t get the same ones.
Many of us can relate, although I’m not sure how many would post it up on cyberspace. You are definitely called!
It’s no surprise that you’re a fan of Jerry Seinfeld. You got me laughing at myself when you “got judgy”, writing about watching too much TV.
What’s been your relationship with laughter, and how has God used it in your faith walk?
I honestly believe laughter is a gift from God.
When you go on a mission trip to another country, you are always able to laugh and play with the kids there.
I think laughter has a universal appeal and that God loves to express His love through love.
Couldn’t agree more. Laughter is the best faith medicine.
Reading SCL is like “opening a box of chocolates”, as Forrest Gump would say. You never know what you’re gonna get. On minute, you’re our buddy. The next minute, you’re a spiritual heat lamp, putting us in the hot seat.
… Like the time you tweeted — “Does Kanye deserve less grace than I got?”
What type of posts do you enjoy writing the most: contemplative, funny, convicting, or confessional?
Serious Wednesday posts are my favorite because they force me to wrestle with something in my own life before I can write them.
While we’re on the topic of tweets, I noticed you’ve been tweeting Proverbs quite a bit.
Which passages in the Bible are you currently most drawn to in your spiritual season?
I hesitate to bring this up, but there have been some pretty negative comments posted on the blog (anonymous ones, I might add). It’s sad, considering we are called to love one another. Makes me think “What in the world?!”
How do you handle negativity in your blog and personal life?
Poorly. I would say I handle it poorly.
But my wife has been a constant source of encouragement and wisdom in that area.
I hate negative comments and I spend way too much time thinking about them, but my wife challenged me one day.
She essentially said, “Worrying about an anonymous stranger said about you is like following a stranger on the highway so you can ask him what he meant when he flipped you off.”
I would never do that in real life and that helps me remember to let the hate stuff go.
Wise words. As the saying goes, “Behind every successful man… is a woman.”
Okay, on to happier topics! I like that you’re meditative in your posts, like Why God Goes Quiet.
Between tweeting, blogging, working and being dad, how do you find the time to be meditative on top of everything? Do you sleep?
Ha, I don’t sleep enough, but I’m trying to practice a Sabbath day during the week.
I get up at 5AM every morning to make sure I fit in the things I need to do.
I think a big part of it is that you always have time for the things that you really care about.
I really care about Stuff Christians Like and sharing God’s love that way, so I make time for it after my time with God, my time with my wife, my kids and my job.
It’s an ongoing exercise, practicing Sabbath. You’re a hard worker.
Okay, so your debut as published author of Stuff Christians Like is scheduled for April 2010.
After his first book, Blue Like Jazz, got published, New York Times best-selling Christian author, Don Miller, said that he “woke up one morning, and was no longer inside a story and life no longer made sense.” (Quoted from in an interview with Michael Hyatt.)
What part of your story does this first book play in your life?
Again, great question.
I don’t know.
I would say I am learning to hope again.
When you break your life, you forget how to hope.
You get cynical and afraid to believe in the goodness of God because what if it goes away?
What if the other shoe drops?
The book, the whole experience to me, feels like I’m learning to be vulnerable and hope.
Beautifully put. It sounds like this book is God’s gift to you. Not just because you’re getting published, but because of what it says about God’s love. It’s opened your heart to risk again.
What’s up ahead?
Worshipping and obeying.
I hope to do a second book and speak more.
But above all, regardless if this whole thing is just some weird two year season that fades out, what I want to keep doing with my life and my heart is worshipping and obeying.
That sounds like such a cheesy Christian answer, but I’m trying to stay faithful to the things that won’t change.
And the call to worship and obey won’t.
Doesn’t sound cheesy at all. It’s the continual call God circles us back to, that leads to finishing well.
Finally, give our readers an itch to get that book of yours.
Why do you love it and what do you hope folks will get out of it?
The book is the best thing I’ve ever written.
It’s like the Stuff Christians Like Blog concentrated and amplified.
Zondervan illustrated the ideas and did an awesome from start to finish with it.
I hope folks laugh and wrestle.
Sounds like a double-shot of faith. I can’t wait!
Well, time has flown quickly, hasn’t it? I’ve enjoyed the conversation.
One last thing, Jon. Even though you’ve referred to yourself as the prodigal son in Jesus’ story of homecoming, I see a growing resemblance to the father, welcoming us with love and grace in the walk of faith.
Keep on. May God bless you in ways we cannot see, because those are the true treasures that will satisfy and last into eternity.
Well, that about wraps up this Signature Blend Interview: Jonathan Acuff.
Hopefully, it was so good, it left you wanting more!
No worries. Here’s what to do:
1. Pre-order Jon’s book, Stuff Christians Like, so you can be first in line!
2. Head on over to Jon’s blog, Stuff Christians Like, and get an SCL shot of faith!
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