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EPISODE 72: Finding Real Answers to Real Questions

English gentleman, actor, and former atheist Nigel Goodwin was raised within a Marxist worldview.  He saw church as fabricated theatre until he found the real God.

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Transcript


Welcome to Side B Stories, Nigel, it's so great to have you with me today.

Thank you. It's a joy to be here with you. And I do have a cup of tea in my hand because I'm English.

Of course, of course. It would not be proper without a proper cup of tea. So, as we're getting started, Nigel, why don't you introduce yourself to our listeners? Tell us a little bit about your passions, your history in terms of what did you do for the predominance of your life? What were your loves, your training in that regard? I know that they would love to hear about that.

Well, hello, people. This is Nigel, sometimes called Niggle, not Leaf by Niggle, but Nigel. Very English. Born in the Second World War, in 1937, evacuated as a small child, as we all were, onto railway stations and platforms. Boys and girls, little boys and girls, who in many cases never saw their parents again. So after the war, my father sent me to boarding school, private school boarding school. You know, we are two languages, two nations divided by a common language. So we exchange words slightly differently. And my father said, “There are five schools, and one is by the sea,” and I put my hand up and said, “Yes, please. By the sea.”

So I went after boarding school, and I was there from 8 to 18. It was a wonderful school.

I’m enjoying myself running up and down the cliff, swimming in the sea, having a lot of fun. The only time we saw our parents was when we came home in the long holidays, three months’ holiday. And I came back to London, where they had moved back to after the war, and to London. I suppose I liked showing off as a kid. Perhaps not so much as showing off as to, “What is my mark?” What is our mark? What identity do we have and what do we put out in the world? And for me, it was the arts. I love drawing. I love poetry. I love music. We had a piece of music every single day as children in the school chapel, and we listened to a piece of music.

But my parents did not bring me up. Their philosophy was Marxist and humanist. They were part of the brave new world crowd, Julian and Aldous Huxley. And although I was passionate for justice, I was concerned. I didn't like to see anybody hurting anybody. I didn't like to see anybody hurting themselves or anything. And I've always had a strong feeling for justice and injustice to recognize that. But I had no sense of there being a God, there being… I had any value in relation to God. It was humanism, really. I mean, the brave new world were determined that God was offstage. And Bertrand Russell, Malcolm Muggeridge in his youth, the Huxleys, and others: “We are the center of everything. Mankind is the center. God is offstage, waiting for Godot, if he exists at all. We're on stage. We're going to make the world.”

But of course, the war really blew the lid on that and showed us, as it's showing us in the 21st century, that humans aren't all getting on together. Some people are choosing injustice over justice. And there's war in the human heart. There's conflict inside all of us, and how do we deal with that conflict?

After school,

I went into the British Army. We all had to do compulsory national service, and that was tough. It was tough for me, because I like people. I genuinely like people. They may not like me, but I actually like them, because I believe something about every human being. Today, I do. That they may not believe about themselves. And I like people, and I liked them then. And so here we are sent off to Cyprus. We’re the jam between the two pieces of bread, the Greeks and the Turks, and we are supposed to be peacemakers. Making peace is hard work. It's hard work. And I learned a lot of lessons in the army. I do remember an army chaplain. He was a really decent human being, and I listened to him. But I didn't understand really what he was talking about. As Francis Schaeffer used to say, God is there, and He is not silent. For me, He wasn't there, and He certainly was silent if he was.

I came back. I did an audition. I went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and here I was now doing, making my mark, doing what I wanted to do, and acting. And I loved the fourth wall, the audience. I still do. If anyone's listening out there, if anyone's looking out there, we all need an audience of one. Just one person, to hear us and really hear us. I mean, the question behind the question behind the question. Hear us deeply. So there I am. I'm at drama school. I finish that.

I go into the theater. I start working on television. I like theater more than television because I liked the live audience, the feedback you feel from your audience, the fourth wall. In television, you have to rely on the director. You have to trust one person to be putting together what he is putting together, the story that he or she is making. It's a different media to work in, but I enjoyed that, too, and I did some film as well. And I loved that.

My parents had been divorced in the war, separated. My father came back one day. He did what he wanted to do, is the sort of guy who said, “I can do what I want to do. A woman's place is in the home.”  No longer, you know, but that's how he was. He came back. He found my mother in bed with a soldier. He had gone to bed with all sorts of people, but not for my mother. He threw her out, he threw him out, and he dressed us little boys in the morning and said, “Your mother has gone. You will never see her again.” I'd made a den in the woods, a hiding place. I ran away, had a couple of boiled sweets, and I hid there for the day. A thunderstorm came. It poured with rain. I thought I'd better go home. I went home, but that pain, that angst—we all have angst of one sort or another at different levels—lived with me for a long time. What do we do with our pain? I didn't know what to do with my pain. Yes, I could exercise it in the arts, in performing, in acting, and that, but it didn't get rid… it didn't deal with that brokenness in my life. I’ll have a sip of tea.

Yes, yes. Okay. Wow. This is quite an introduction. You've given us a bit of an overview of your life, and your growing up into young adulthood. In listening to your story so far, it sounds like you had a lot of things going on. Obviously, the brokenness in your family that you just mentioned that brought about pain. You also had the separation of your parents in going away to boarding school. It sounds like that you had, I guess, touch points of Christianity, because you spoke of a chapel somewhere in there.

Yeah. But it was like theater to me, you see.

Oh, it was like theater? What was that for you? I mean, when you when you went into a chapel, and they talked about God, you were from a frame of reference where there was no God. And then you’re in this place where they're talking about God. What did you make of that?

Well, I didn't know that God was personal, relational. I had no idea that God had a name. G-O-D, D-O-G. It was just a word, really. People talked about God, but you know, He didn't seem real in people's lives. And I think we're all looking for a place of trust, a foundation, a place that makes sense, safe space, and all that. So chapel was a little like another place, a performance place. People read. I heard music. People talked. People sang. But it was a kind of performance space. A bit like church: Sit up, shut up, and look up. Somebody is six feet above contradiction in front of you, but what is the… is there any meaning behind this? Is there anything tangible, authentic? Is there any solid ground of being? Is there anything I could really trust? I felt a lot let down as a child growing up, as we said, with my family sending me away, with my mother going away. There was a lot of brokenness. So what can I trust?

So as you were also exposed to Marxist humanist ideas, whether they were coming from your family or perhaps—I don't know—your culture or even your school, were you personally embracing that kind of ideology? Was that your lens through which you saw the world?

Yes, I think I was. I mean, Marxist humanist ideas. It didn't seem to just be talking. There was some walking the talk as well. And that's important. How are we living? And I had stirred up in me a real concern for where people were hurting each other, hurting one another, putting people… a real social concern for that. I started, for example, in my teens to get to know Bertrand Russell. My first teacher during the war was Bertrand Russell's second wife, Dora Russell, and she was teaching us German, and she was teaching us Hindi. Hindi is very interesting. [Hindi 13:41]. And she was teaching us Hindi, but she was teaching us German. [German 13:47], you know? I’m five, six, seven, eight years of age. Why am I learning this? Well, because we're about to be invaded and taken over. And it will be important to know a bit of the language if we're going to try and communicate and survive under Hitler and the Nazism and everything.

But there was in Marxism a concern for protest. So one day, I'm in my middle teens, and Bertrand Russell is taking a march from Aldermaston, the nuclear power station, to Trafalgar Square in London. It's quite a long march, twenty-some miles or so. Trafalgar Square is the home of protest. It's a huge square with the national gallery in front of it. But it's where people came and stood on the plinth there under Nelson's Column with the lions. You can see the theater of it, feel the theater of it. And it's where people got up and shouted for some issue or another.

But what happens when the protest is over? The curtain comes down. People dispel, disperse. And I thought… and the square comes back to traffic going around it. “Is that it? Is that the end? Is that all there is?” So it did stir up, Jana, in me. “Surely, there's more. I want more.” I want some end to the story or fulfillment to the story. Like the old Hollywood movies, walking off into the sunset there, and they all ended happily ever after, but this isn't a happy ever after.

But it did start me asking bigger questions. Really, really heavy questions. “Well, who am I? Where do I fit in? Where do I belong?”

Those are very, very big questions, common to us all in our own humanity. For those, Nigel, who don't really know when we say the Marxist humanist view of reality, can you explain what that is and what that means and why that might not answer those big questions in a satisfactory way?

We are the center. Humanity is the center, the meaning of everything. There is no meaning beyond this moment. There is really no meaning. It’s like the playwright, Waiting for Godot. I mean, he uses the word Godot, but Godot isn't coming. Because he isn't there. He isn't coming on stage, and there are the two tramps, Estragon and Vladimir, sitting under the tree, the tree of life. But they're waiting, and they both say, “Okay, let's move.” But there's nowhere to go. “Okay. Now, let's go!” And there are no exits, and there are no entrances, and there is no meaning. And I think that is the great cri de coeur wherever you go, to any nation in the world today. If people don't know, if there is no knowing, then mental health is exploding everywhere. What's it all about? Who am I? Why am I here? What's is my raison d’etre? What is my purpose for being and living? And people are exploding in their heads, in their hearts, in their person. They're crying. Even if they're not showing it yet, they're feeling it deeply. “There has to be more. There has to be more. There has to be more.” So that's the great cry.

My mother separated from my father, bringing up this little girl who was the cause of the divorce, who eventually became a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators. I mean, that shows you. Out of the dust and the ashes comes forth the fruit. And she, for 35 years, translating the scriptures into the Chinantec language, in Mexico, down there. I went to visit her. My mother, in her own value and worth of herself, she felt that somehow she should send my sister to a Baptist church at the end of her road in South London. And she did, in her late teens, and my sister came back after a year of listening, and said, “It’s not just for me. It's for you, too,” to her mother. And her mother went in her fifties. And for a year they listened to the scriptures, the Bible. And they began to understand that God had a name, Jesus. God was personal and relational. God wasn't distant, removed, some kind of injection, fantasy of the imagination, whatever. They began to turn the pages over of their minds and understand the scriptures, and they began to pray for me.

I'm working now in the British theater. I'm working on a play with Derek Jacobi. And I hear… I'm not seeing my mother. I didn't actually find her from the age of 8, when my father said you won't see her anymore, till I was about 13 or 14 again. But I found her because I was curious, and I wanted to know who she was and where she was and all that, and I found them again. But now they're praying for me. I didn't like that. Kind of, “Why do I need prayer?” But you can never stop anybody praying for you. You can silence them in all sorts of ways. But if they've got breath, they can pray, they can talk to the God Who is there about anything, about absolutely anything, because He’s infinite. And the finite can talk about anything to the infinite. And they prayed for me for five years, and I thought, “She’s got that old time religion. She's got the bug!” you know? And everything. And I didn't really have anything to do with it because it was foreign. I didn't understand it. I didn't want to know about it. I'm enjoying myself in the theater.

And one day, my mom said, “Would you like to come to a meeting?” “A meeting?” I said, “Is it religious?” She said yeah. She said, “Well, you've got nothing to lose.” I said, “That’s true.” She said, “You’ve got everything to gain.” I said, “I don't know.” She said, “Well, you don't know if you don't go. If you just stand on the touchline of life, you'll never play soccer or football or anything unless you get involved.” You can argue from a distance till the cow comes home. Get it? So I thought, “Okay, I'll go. I'll give it a chance or something,” and I went.

Anyway, I tried to listen, but there were some teenagers down in the front. The man who was speaking didn't give God a name. He just talked about God. God didn't have a name. He wasn't personal. He wasn't on the wavelength of these kids nor mine. And probably most of the people. Sometimes we sit listening to a load of junk because we're being polite. You know. It’s not communicating. It's not getting through. And I got up and left. I thought, “I've had my injection. That's it for religion.” And my mom said, “Would you like to come again on a Saturday?” I said, “What? God on a Saturday. You must be joking. He's a Sunday pill. Surely, you don't get excited about going on a Saturday.” I had no idea that people got excited about God on other days of the week than Sunday. And she's invited me up. She said, “Well, would you like to come?” And I was looking for an excuse. “I'm still rehearsing this play, a television piece.” But I remember I needed some laundry doing, and mom does laundry pretty well. So I took it along, and I went. “I’ll give it another whirl.”

This time, the man was speaking about Jesus. And he kind of bugged me, because now God's personal, relational. I could see that He meant everything to the person who was speaking to me. I see that he had a relationship with Him. God seemed real. And he said… I looked for him afterwards after he'd spoken. And I said, “Excuse me. You’ve been bugging me tonight.” I didn't know about the work of the Holy Spirit. I didn't know that God could bug us. And he said, “I'll pray for you.” I thought, “My mom's praying for me. He wants to pray for me.” Oh, if only we realized that prayer was direct access with the Father in the name of the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is better than any piece of technology like we are using now. Technology is a servant, not a master. Sadly, it's mastering too many people's lives with too much junk and too much information, but that's another story.

So he said, “Christ died for you.” I said, “What? I know my history. That’s 2000 years ago. How is that relevant to me today?” And he said, “He didn't stay dead.” I thought, “What? He didn't stay dead? This is weird.” And I looked for an exit. I'm 25 years old now. I'm not a kid anymore, but I didn't like that idea that God was alive and well and talking and speaking in the twenty first… well, it was the twentieth century.

And this is August 20, 1962. I went back to the TV studio, but I'm now curious. I'm asking questions, and something in me says, “Go and listen again.” And these were a three week series of meetings, and I didn't know about that, but they were still on. And there were children. I went up during the daytime. I wasn't rehearsing. And I heard little children. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” “How do they know that? Who told them that? Why do these kids know that and I don't know that?” 27:13 And I'm more and more curious. I come back on the Friday. I sneak into one of the seats. I hope nobody can see me. I don't know that my mom and sister are there. And there's a man on the platform taking the scripture of Mark 10, about the blind man on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem.

And Jesus is on the road up to Jerusalem. There's a crowd of people. There's a blind man. “Jesus son of David, have mercy on me!”

And Jesus hears us when we mean business with Him. He is not deaf. He can hear even our little cries, as well as our big cries. And He stops. And he goes to Jesus, and He says to the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man says, “Lord, I want to see,” so he believes that the man who he can't see standing in front of him can do something about his condition. And Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole.”

A listener today may only have a grain, a flicker of light of faith. But that faith can be turned into a room full of light, if we ask. If we ask. I got out of my seat, and this man's in the middle of his sermon. I came up to the front. Everybody was there. I wasn't noticing anybody else. I was driven to go up there, and I went up to him. I reached up. I touched him on the arm. He stopped preaching. It was if grace went off his face. He looked quite cross, actually. Because I'd stopped him preaching. He said, “What do you want?” I said, “I want to know that Jesus is relevant to me in the twentieth century.” He never preached another word. People got up and started to leave. He said, “Nigel, ask Him.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Talk to Him.” I didn't know how to pray. “Do you look up there? Do you look down there? Where do you look?” It doesn’t matter where you look. I said, “Hello, God. I’m Nigel,” like the blind man. Of course, He knew that. He knows all about us. But we don't know until we introduce ourselves that He knows.

And I got past what I call the weather forecast prayers, and I started to weep, down here in the gut, in the viscera. There's 90 percent water in all of us, Jana. What's it there for? It's there for a dry world, a dry land. It's there. Never stop people's tears. Tears are really important. And I sobbed, and I sobbed, and somebody showed me the scriptures and put an arm around me and what Christ had done for me and told me that He could clear up the mess of my life. He could give me shalom, the fullness of peace. He could do everything. And if you invite Him, and I did that night, and it was like I was stripped naked and re-clothed. I can only describe it like that. My mom and my sister, their prayers came out of the woodwork, came out there, took my arm, and we danced across the open ground. And they gave me a Bible, and I went back into the TV studio the following day. And my friend said, “What are you reading?” I said the Bible. “You what?” I said, “the Bible,” as if I kind of got a disease. The world has a dis-ease, like, “You bug me man,” like, “What are you talking about, Nigel?” It's restless.

And I said, “I'm reading the Bible.” And they, “Oh!” like I something… but a dis-ease is a lack of ease, a lack of peace, a restlessness. God likes our restlessness. Because it's only when we confess to being restless that we can find rest.

So there is a lot there. As you were… I know you were entering into this sacred space where God was, where your mom was praying for you and calling you to come and see, it sounds like. Come and see God, who has a name, named Jesus, and you were willing to come and to see. And it was compelling to you, the story of the gospel, the story of what Christ did for you. It seems like the story came together for you, that you could find the answer to those big questions, I would imagine, that somehow it came together and made sense.

I'm trying to think of those who are listening, who are saying, “But wait. You had this kind of Marxist, humanist, godless perspective, and then all of a sudden, your mom's praying for you, your sister's praying for you, you go to a church service, and you believe.” Can it be that simple? Weren't you thinking, “Is this true?” I can understand why people might be skeptical, thinking, “Well, he just wants it to be true? It sounds like a good story.” I mean, obviously, we know that a change of heart, often it comes from God, Who allows us to see and to see Him and for our hearts to be changed.

I love the way that you talk about, being re-clothed, almost like things were brand new. [37:28] That something palpable happened to you that was real. But I'm, again, thinking of the listener here, that they're thinking to themselves, “How did he make that switch” How did he move from one worldview to the other just like that?” What would you say to someone who was kind of looking back, listening, and is a little bit skeptical of your story in that way?

Well, of course, over the years, I have met and loved many skeptics and cynics, and in a way, it wasn't quick because it was five years of praying for me, you know? When it happened, when the tsunami in my life happened, when the tornado—dare I use that, because they're all around us—happened, when that dramatic thing happened…. God having a name, I began to understand. He didn't just appear. He appeared on my stage, my life, but He’d been there forever, waiting. We have a free will. Waiting for me to see how hungry I was for Him. What is our appetite? We can stand and criticize anything. But when you begin to understand the anything, the thing, or you understand what's going on, you have to engage at some point. There has to be an engagement of the willingness, the engagement of the mind, the engagement of the heart, the engagement of the whole person, that has to be willing to cross the road. Yes, there are many diseases, much pain, much excuses, good excuses, for not believing, many things that get in the way, and God is knocking at the door of our lives, and saying, “Let those who have ears to hear, hear.” Ears are doorways, eyes are windows. We can hear with them or we can open them a little bit and start to hear through them. God won’t rape us and beat us up and force them open. And there's a lot of wax in the way.

William Blake, a wonderful poet in the eighteenth century, nineteenth century said, “They only will believe the lie, who see with and not through the eye,” not through the eye. The window of the eye. There's a deeper seeing and a deeper hearing, and God wants us to see with the eye of our heart, our gut, our Hebrew belly. This is the birthing place down here. This is where music comes, poetry comes, dance comes, song. This is where we conceive, and this is where we're born. And most of us in the West are brought up in the Greek rationale, the head, but we are afraid of our emotions, our feelings, and all that. They're not at war with each other. When the head and the heart are working from the viscera, the gut, for the glory of God, watch out world! He wants the whole of us. There's always more. There's more seeing and more hearing. Our stories are huge.

And so I'd been watching my mother, observing my mother, hearing my father's voice even when he wasn't there, thinking about these philosophies. But I began to become restless. And I wasn't satisfied. I wasn't at peace with myself, and I wanted to know more. You know, I don't think God enjoys our answers nearly so much as our questions. I think he is the God of curiosity, keeping the child alive in you, not becoming a boring adult, a big yawn. The question behind the question behind. “What's that over there?” “Who's that coming around the corner?” “What's under the rock?” I'm an 85- going on 86-year-old teenager, I want to know. I'd love to know my audience. I'd love to know who's listening out there. I'd love to know who's looking out there, who's asking questions, because our questions are what God loves to know. He can meet us in our questions, where we are, and take us to where we never dreamed we might go. No quick fix, no easy answer, but real answers to real questions. As Francis Schaeffer used to say, true truth, or Jesus said it before him, “Truly, truly, I say unto you. I am the way,” not a way, the truth, not a truth, the life, not a life. “No one comes to papa, to the father, except by me.”  Well, that's blasphemy if it's not true. That's mad and bad if it's not true. But I've discovered that it's the truth, and I'm hungry. I'm a child who's tasting the bread and the cakes and the wine, and I want more! I want more.

Yes, yes! I mean, that is really quite glorious. It sounds like you moved from this state—I love the way that you use the word disease as dis-ease, that you were restless, that you had this dis-ease, but yet when you came to Christ, it sounds like you have found that sense of shalom, that the questions of who you are and why you're here, that those questions have been answered in a really profound way that has informed the rest of your life, it sounds like. You also mentioned Francis Schaeffer, and I know that's part of your journey.

Right.

Yeah. Well, I'm working in theater, and I'm in love with somebody, or I think I am. And we're two weeks before our wedding, and she takes off the ring, off her finger, puts it down in High Park, a big park in the center of London, and walks off stage, walks off out of the park. She says, “I can't marry you.” With my parents’ divorce, with the theater that knows a lot about rejection, you're only as good as last night's production. The curtain won't rise if there isn't an audience on Monday when it comes out on Saturday or whatever. And so there is a lot of uncertainty in the performing arts. You’ve got to savor the moment. Enjoy the moment. None of us know tomorrow. I ran away to Switzerland, to some friends in Switzerland, who had a Christian ministry.

And I'm with them one day, halfway up Mont Blanc in French Switzerland, and I'm drinking a hot chocolate, chocolat chaud, and in walks this interesting couple in lederhosen and looking like dwarves or elves or something. And because I so enjoy people, whatever space I'm in, I usually disturb the cafe's comfort. And I walked across, and I took their hands, and I introduced myself. I said, “Hello, I'm Nigel.” And they said, “I'm Francis, and I'm Edith,” and that was the Schaeffers. And they invited me to L'Abri.

And Schaeffer was walking the talk. He wasn't the perfect human being. He didn't have all the answers. But he had some real answers to some real questions. And he listened to the questions. That impressed me hugely. When someone cares. He believed that the people who came were the people God wanted to bring there. And he sat down, he ate with them, he talked with them, he went with them, he laughed with them, he cried with them, he listened to their questions. And so his books began to come, Escape from Reason, because people in the sixties, and today, were escaping from reason. Because reason wasn't working, and they were turning to Timothy Leary in San Francisco or elsewhere to kind of try and make sense of the madness of their world. And isn’t our world mad today? So many voices, but unreasonable voices, not walking the talk voices. Voices that say, “Yeah, I know where it's at,” but they clearly don't from their own lifestyles know where it's at, to coin that phrase.

We are all, we listeners, are worth it. We've been beaten up. We don't believe what I'm saying, because we've been beaten up. But you know other people's insecurity does not have to be your clothes. The clothes that you wear. Other people's pain does not have to be your pain. We do need to listen to it. Jesus tells these stories, doesn't he? The church comes by, and He walks by on the other side. Jesus comes, the Samaritan comes by and stops and looks. There is need. There is so much need. So much brokenness. Can we engage it? Can we use our tears? Can we weep over it? Can we pick up the brokenness, put him on a horse, take him to an inn, pay the bill, care? It’s not just the few. All of us need to care. The moment we get out of bed, there is need, in the home, in the street, in the town, in the city.

Yes. Yes. And, you know, I am thinking about those skeptics who might be listening, and there are so many reasons why someone might be rejecting this personal God Who is love incarnate, but they, in their own lives, haven't felt that. They haven't seen that. They’re rejecting someone that they don't know, that they haven't experienced.

Right.

Maybe even haven't seen, like you've referred to earlier in the lives of people who do confess to be Christians. But there's still a restlessness, a dis-ease, a desire for more. And if someone was listening to you and they were willing to take that small step towards God in some way, what would you or how would you recommend them do that? I know you mentioned for yourself it seemed like it came in the form of a prayer.

Yes.

But, like you say, everyone is different, but generally speaking, what can someone do if they're looking for the God, the personal God that you have found?

Yeah. Why are we different? Why are we not the same as everyone else? How did that come about? Did somebody somehow pick up the clay and say, “Oh, I like that part. We'll have ten more exactly the same.” No, we are. Scripture teaches us some of the answers to your quest. There is a book which is full of knowledge called the Bible. And it was only when I went back to the television studios to carry on rehearsing for this play, but had been given the Bible, the words—after my eyes were starting to open the previous night—the words began to leap off the page. We are fearfully and wonderfully made! We're awesome! We're loved. So, you know, everybody, however broken, when they make their mark, declare, show, reveal something about themselves.

And so when somebody comes with an intellectual fist. If it takes a month or a year to get that bit of light to open the fist, into freedom, into safe space, into being, a being place. Time. How do we use time? That's hugely important. You know, as I speak, some of you haven't got long. Some of you have longer. I don't know. You know your situation. But it doesn't take a thousand years to know something. It takes honesty and truth.

If you're going to let the truth in, you have to be honest with who you are. You have to cry out. You have to own up. You have to own up to what you are not to become what you are, who you're meant to be. It's a journey. It's not easy, but it's courage mon brave, it's courage. And we need Someone to hold our hand. We need Somebody to come, but that's not a weakness. That’s a strength. Confession is a strength. Owning up is a strength. Not a weakness. The world tells us it's weak to weep. That's a lie. It's strong to weep. We can all criticize what we hear through the media and all these things. It's easy to criticize. But are they telling us the truth or lies?

Yeah, that is the penultimate question, I think, is finding the truth and being willing to submit to that once we find it. The last question I'd like to ask is—you have mentioned a few significant people in your life who were following Christ, who knew that God was real and rational and that He informs all of reality, including your life. And I wonder: There’s so many things that you've spoken about how we as Christians can be light, can be presence of God, can be prayer, pray-ers, can offer prayers for others, to be there when someone is weeping. There's just so many things that we can do as Christians, I think, to help those who don't believe see Christ perhaps in a way that they would become more willing-

Yeah.

What advice would I give to myself first. It’s easy to point the finger and forget there are three coming back at you. Physician, heal thyself. I can't share wellness if I'm not well in that area. I can't give what I haven't first received. We need to know that we are candles in the darkness if we're in Christ the hope of glory.

Christ is in you. If Christ is in you. If you've invited Him in. And Plato said, “You only need a candle to find the exit to the cave.” Now, a lot of people out there actually don't know yet that they're in a cave. So don't beat them up. Don't rush at them. Don't be in a hurry. Don't give a starving person a banquet. Give them a little bit. Teach them how to fish. Teach them how to find bread. Teach them. Build it up. God is making a banquet.

He is the big picture, as well as the detail. And so He’s not in a hurry. We wish He were. Come, Lord Jesus. Come, Lord Jesus. We wish He were. We see the mess, but He’s working. We’re sometimes not aware of where He’s working. He's working through love, the gift of love, what C.S. Lewis said, storge, friendship, phileo, brotherly, sisterly, eros, physical, good, healthy, physical relationships, and agape, unconditional, four loves. He is working with the gift of love. Love is not sloppy, sentimental, wishy washy, lovey dovey. Love is tough love. It's Calvary love, the theater of Calvary. Love is down. And out. He's working with you.

You are His love for the broken world, so He’s working with you. He comes to where we are and takes us to where we never dreamed we might go. Wow! There's yuck. There's yuck. There's stuff that you don't want to do. And sometimes you have to go through the valley of yuck, the disappointments. We don't choose disappointment. We don't choose brokenness. But God takes us through the valley of yuck to the mountain of wow! The mountain of wow! And that's what He wants for each one of us. You are his, “Wow!” His wow, His color, His shape, His design, His purpose, His child. Keep the child alive in you. Be curious. He loves our questions much more than our opinions, our answers. He loves to know how curious we are. Are you genuinely? Dear Listener, are you really listening with and through the doorway of the ear, the window of the eye, into the heart?

He is mending broken hearts. Now, at this moment. He’s mending my heart. If by sharing something with you, you become more of who you were intended to be, that makes sense to me. If you're not listening, I will cry, but I'll move on to the next person who is listening. Listen well.

Nigel, I'm almost breathless at just trying to comprehend and keep up with so much wisdom that you've given us. It seems that your 85 years have been rich and full and just full of life and art and depth and meaning and purpose. Yours is a life that is truly extraordinary! It seems that you have spent your time really well, and we are sitting at your feet, just absorbing the riches that are coming out of your mouth.

Thank you.

And I am just so honored and privileged to really have your story. What a transformed life, from Marxist, humanist, godlessness, and searching, to a life that is completely full to overflowing. It's very, very obvious to anyone who listens to you that Christ is your life. And that you have given your life to the One Who loves you personally and Who loves you extravagantly and that you want others to know that. And so I just want to thank you so very much for the time and for the wisdom and really for the love that's being poured out upon all of us through you. Thank you for coming on to tell your story today.

Thank you, Jana. Can I say, Jana… Well, thank you for inviting me, because you can't speak where you're not invited. But if you're invited, there's a door. There's an invitation to deeper levels of hearing and knowing and understanding.

My focus today is with whoever is in front of me but specifically and especially, it's with the creatives, those who are particularly called to put color on the shadows of life and celebrate that color. So I want to say to the artist: We do it because God made an incredible cosmos, an incredible world, and if we know nothing about Him other than Genesis 1, we know that He doesn't make mistakes with any one of us listening. But at just two or three verses in, we have a responsibility to the Great Artist, to make the world ourselves. And He says we are called to take care of the planet, the cosmos. We are care takers. Care is a beautiful word, but it's the verb to take care of the planet. Till the hard ground if you want fruit. Make it make sense for you, your neighbor, your family, your friends. We're not doing a very good job of care taking. We're waking up rather late. Now, you can cry and despair or you can start taking care, of your family, your home, your friends, your town, your village. Why shouldn't you be in a position of authority. It’s servant leadership, not groveling, but serving. Serving. If that is your gift, bring your gift to the table, because the table is richer for your presence and poorer for your absence. Don't start arguing on the touchline of life. Get involved. Get involved. Take a step. Hold someone's hand across the street. Live a wild, wonderful, holistic, beautiful, peaceful, loving, dynamic life.

That's a word for all of us, creatives or not. That's beautiful. Beautiful, Nigel. Thank you, again. Thank you so much again for coming on. We so appreciate your time and your wisdom.

Thank you very much.

 


 

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