Creative Christian Moments
“Reviews of up and coming Christians in the arts community.”
Blog Article 41: Email Interview with Blogger Brian Bailey
A father’s love for his child is the best illustration one can perceive to represent the deep spiritual richness of Christianity. Good father’s embody the traits of loving sacrifice, entrenched encouragement, chivalrous discipline, a jovial nature, all the while calling their children to excellence and giving them the tools to succeed in life. Mother’s offer the nurturing children need to thrive as they grow but father’s call their children to chivalrous purpose with an unyielding ability to encourage. Our Heavenly Father, God, encompasses all of these traits in far greater capacity than humanly possible to conceive in our thoughts and surpasses the ideas of what a great father is in our limited understanding of the term. A transcription of words could not adequately explain God as Father because our greatest imaginations of His greatness are just droplets in the vast ocean of God’s personality.
Yet, our society’s view of a “good father” appears alien to this generation given the absence of fathers physically and emotionally from their families. If you ask the children of this generation as to which is easier to endure, an absent father or an emotionally distant father, both sides of the debate can defend their positions with tenacity and empirical evidence. Think about it, what would be easier to endure? The emotional, pain, hurt, and betrayal of an absent father who chose to take a selfish path of his own or is it the presence of a father who embodies these traits above as well yet the child is reminded of them everyday because he is there. Often these children would answer it would be easier to endure if he were absent given the distance in their relationship already.
In our secular society, we have received more freedoms than were possible to conceive hundreds of years ago, yet depression, immorality, arrogance, pride, selfishness, and crime continues to grow. The paradox appears staggering, yet to the Christian the degradation of the nuclear family and loss of morality has produced this cauldron of calamity we now reap in the emotions, attitudes, struggles, and pain of this generation. One of the biggest culprits in the breakdown of the nuclear family is the absence of the father in the family.
But the struggles of a being a good father have only increased in this generation where media portrays them as bumbling womanizing idiots worthy of extinction like the Neanderthal. Blogger Brian Bailey of Edmonds, WA, knows this all too well as he pours out his heart felt passions, worries, and hopes to his new daughter through a blog called “Bringing Up Eva.” Bailey’s blog is fairly new but the fruit of experience is ripe for gleaning from the reader. Below is an email transcription of our interview to learn more about him and his writings.
Barry Irwin Brophy: For those who may not know about you, could you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started writing?
Brian Bailey: I am a Seattle native, born and raised. I was always able to write. I believe it came from my vivid imagination. The problem was I was not able to write well. During high school, I was a horrible student. The reason I was a poor student was because I didn’t believe I could learn. It wasn’t until a man in my church handed me a book and I fell in love with learning. I went on to get my Master’s degree, where I took 2 years of Greek. It was there that I began to understand the parts of speech much better. Who knew studying a dead language would help you write better?
Barry Irwin Brophy: How did you come to faith in Jesus Christ?
Brian Bailey: When I was a fifteen years old, I ran away from my mother’s house to live with my father. Every morning I got up to get ready for school, the 700 Hundred Club would be playing. It was beside my bed, every morning for 2 weeks, that I would ask Jesus to come into my life and be the Lord of my life that I received the forgiveness of my sins. Although that was when I professed faith in Christ, I believe I became a Christian when I was around 23. It was then that my faith was made real by being accompanied by repentance. God began to show me what sin looked like from His perspective, and I began to agree with Him.
Barry Irwin Brophy: Tell us a bit about your blog and articles you’ve contributed to? Any other projects you’re currently working on?
Brian Bailey: While I was in seminary, as I was filling out PhD applications I began to write about race and higher theological education for the seminary magazine. After graduating, I began to write discipleship curriculum for my church. I am currently host a blog called “bringing up Eva” where I write letters to my daughter about Jesus, discipleship and life. I thought to myself, “Now that I have been a follower of Jesus for about 10 years, what would I have wanted to know then that I know now?” I try to keep it gospel-saturated, Christ exalting and God centered. I try to point her to Jesus as much as I can in each letter. If I were to pass away at an early age, I would want her to have some guide to what it means to follow Jesus, love him and obey him
Barry Irwin Brophy: How has God been using your blogs to spread His Gospel message? Any stories?
Brian Bailey: No, not really. I think the discipleship curriculum/class that I taught has had more of an impact, but I am just getting started.
Barry Irwin Brophy: I loved the article “Another Nail…Another Laceration” and how it spoke to reconciliation between races, especially within Christianity. How do you think the American Church can accomplish this? Would you be able to provide a model by which local congregations could implement this process?
Brian Bailey: Excellent question Barry. In the article, I propose a foundational point or process: confession, birthed out of conviction walked out in repentance in the community of the repentant. We would be naïve to think there is not sin in our hearts and we would be even more naïve to think that the sin of racism doesn’t exist in our hearts. I know it does in mine. Therefore, we (both minorities and Caucasians) must ask the Holy Spirit to reveal our hearts and make Jesus more enjoyable than the sin of racism. This must be confessed and repented of just like any other sin. The protection of unity which the Holy Spirit has brought depends on it. The church cannot facilitate this sin of repentance by being silent about it or acting like it doesn’t exist.
Barry Irwin Brophy: What do you think are the biggest obstacles within the American Christian Church institution? How can they change to be more effective in preaching the Gospel?
Brian Bailey: So many answers to that question, I will give a few. First, there must be more expositional preaching (expositor or to “expose” what the biblical text says). Expositional preaching is the life blood of discipleship in the church. It builds the Christian up in their spirit and gets their hearts full of the bigness of God. It is essential if we are going to make disciples who make disciple-makers globally. Second, there has to be a clear understanding of what a disciple is and how they are made. This is so critical here in America because of the state of church in America. Somehow, we have traded in the life of discipleship (Mark 8:34-9:1) that Jesus calls us to, and erected a Jesus of our own. That Jesus, wants the things we want, likes the things we like and does not call us to disown ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him (Mark 8:34). Essentially, it is grace without discipleship….which isn’t grace at all. So I would say, pastors, teachers and preachers, in all of your sermons aim at the bigness of God, and the life that makes sense biblically…which is the life of discipleship that Jesus Calls us to. God values His Son above everything else, he invites the nations (including the American church) to do the same.
Barry Irwin Brophy: Where do you see the future of the Christian Church heading given our current environment politically, socially, and economically?
Brian Bailey: In 5-10 years, I see the church in American will need to take cues from our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. Each year, through social, political and economical avenues, Christianity is being marginalized and not tolerated (Canada and the UK are among the worst socially and intellectually). In the next 5 years as the days get darker spiritually, we will see more and persecution of Christians for so called “hate speech”, intolerance, and many other things. However, Paul tells the church in Philippi, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him” (Phil 1:29). So, I don’t think this is anything that should surprise us in the least.
Barry Irwin Brophy: In Washington State, our area is experiencing quite a Christian renaissance revival in the arts. How do you think your blog and writings will influence the coming revival?
Brian Bailey: Good question. I am the least artistic person I know of, so I don’t think it will influence them at all to be honest. I am hoping the my writings will draw people (whoever they are) into meeting the glorious, risen Christ that the New Testament author herald; so that they can have transformational encounter with Him.
Barry Irwin Brophy: Writing counts as an art! 🙂
Barry Irwin Brophy: What advice would you like to give to future Christian writers, authors, bloggers, and poets just getting started? I’ve also encounter many struggling Christian writer’s who’ve just giving up on their calling either through circumstance, unmet expectations, or just downright hardships that prevent them for continuing in their callings. If you were speaking with them one on one what encouraging words would you say to them?
Brian Bailey: Out of my experience, I would say to them, to check the motives of their own hearts AND to write especially in the midst of suffering, unmet expectations and hardship. It could be that God is taking them through a journey which will make them more satisfied in God (which is what we were created for, since God is the thing to be enjoyed the most). Write when you heart is low and hurt. Write when you feel as though no one is paying attention. Keep writing. It helps to work things out of your soul. You (or someone else) may look back on your writing and God could meet them there. Think of Martyn Lloyd-Jones who wrote “Spiritual depression” about Psalm 42, or the entire book of Job. We as Americans have to get away from judging life according to how we feel or how happy we are. This was not what we were created for. So I would suggest asking God to reveal the motivations in their heart as to why they are writing (To make much of Him or to make much of them?) and I would say write during times when you seem to be experiencing the most pain with God and dependence on God.
Barry Irwin Brophy: Any helpful tips or practical disciplines that you have learned in your walk with Christ that other followers could benefit from?
Brian Bailey: READ!!! Stop looking at the Internet. Read. Read. Read. Read deep theological books that are God centered, Christ-exalting, gospel-saturated. Read books that call you to the life of discipleship. Read apologetic books that will help confidently understand what you believe, why you believe it, and how to communicate that to a world which is in rebellion against God. Listen to good, biblically based sermons that have deep conviction about who God is and the worthiness of Christ. Talk to people about Jesus. Find a place to begin to share the good news with people. The more you talk to people about Christ, read about Christ (in His word and other books), and the more you hear about Christ (through sermons and talks), the more the Holy Spirit will shape your heart to believe that everyone’s deepest need is God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
Barry Irwin Brophy’s Closing Thoughts
If you have not had a chance to read Bailey’s blogs, I would enthusiastically encourage you to check out the link to it at the end of this post. His concerns, hopes, and dreams for his daughter mirror the reflections of countless father’s across this earth as we navigate the through the given time period bestowed upon us by God. What I found most intriguing about the interview were Bailey’s answers to the questions about where he sees the church heading and they ring with prophetic truth.
Christians understand that the calling of their faith promises suffering, which is most evident in the genocide being committed against Christians in the Middle East. As radical progressives proclaim tolerance without Christianity, the Western Church is preparing to enter such a time as well given the numerous court cases involved costing Christian’s their businesses in the process. But under the fires of persecution, the light of Christ shines the brightest and Christians have prepared for this moment for a long time. Mark my words, when Christian organizations, churches, and ministries begin to lose their 501c3 statuses in the United States of America, revival will occur in an unprecedented manner unseen in human history.
But we are not to fear these times because God is faithful to His people and even more so to the fathers raising their children in this new world. Bailey’s blog serves as an anchor of honesty during this transitional stage. Just think if all this persecution coming upon Christians produced the enduring fathers our society has long for decades. It will be Bailey’s honesty in his writings on this subject matter that will unite fathers around the world as they remain steadfast in their callings. In the end, Bailey’s blog produces hope in the reader and is much reflected in the Gospel, too. Hope is the anchor of the Christian as well as the father towards his children.
How can you support Bailey? Prayer is a good place to start. Lots and lots of it as the writing process can seem strenuous at times of absent inspiration. Are you looking for a world shaking speaker and theologian for you ministry or youth event? Bailey is your man given his focus of discipleship. You can reach out to Bailey through one of his page links below.
Brian Bailey’s Page
Bailey, Brian, email message to author, March 20, 2015.