It’s been a long time since I’ve conducted an interview with one of my friends to post on the blog, so I am thrilled to present to you a new Pathos feature with my good friend and fellow second cook Adam Beckmeyer. He warned me when he sent me his answers that he does a lot of rambling and derailing and gave me permission to edit him, but those rabbit trails are part of what makes him who he is (and many of them are quite convicting), so I’m posting the unvarnished, uncensored interview for your enjoyment. Good stuff after the jump!
The Author’s Apprentice: What is your greatest passion? How are you using that right now?
Adam Beckmeyer: On a basic level, my passion is the same as that of all Christians: I want to serve the Lord with all my heart, mind and soul. What makes each of us unique is the manner in which we discharge that passion given to us. Some may serve by preaching or devoting their time to some other so called “vocational ministry” position, but the vast majority of us are called to serve God while immersed in the world outside of the Christian subculture.
That’s what I believe I have been called to. I positively long to actually make a difference in the world, and the area I see the most need is in the clear communication of the truth.
Everybody thinks they understand Christianity, but even most Christians have no solid grounding in the theology of their faith. Theology isn’t some big theoretical realm where only the giants of the mind can strive with each other; it’s nothing more than human’s seeking to more completely understand God and His plan. I think that’s something for which every Christian should long.
Because of this general lack of knowledge, I find myself often correcting people’s wrong, distorted, or cloudy perceptions on Theology and other subjects, and that moment of comprehension where the pieces of the whole finally fit together for someone brings me true joy.
TAA: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be and why?
AB: I’m assuming that I can’t say that I would make myself supreme dictator for life, huh? That’s kind of like using a genie to wish for more wishes or some other such nonsense.
The problem with this question is that there are many many things that I would change about the world given into finite power, but most of them would involve my meddling in the lives and hearts of people in a way that even God doesn’t.
The fact of the matter is that God has this world right now exactly where he wants it, and who am I to exercise the kind of power this question suggests to change the world away from the pathway that God himself, the Omniscient One, has set it upon.
In short, given infinite power, I would change nothing, but one thing that I will strive to change given only the power that has already been granted me is this: I will strive to show the world how extreme of a change the Christian life really ought to be.
So many so-called Christians go through this life as if their only commitment to God was to show up for church three times a week. Some even go so far as to lead a Sunday-school class or to actually practice the discipline of tithing.
Even the Jews did this. If we have truly been made a new creation, how much more intense should our commitment be? We haven’t been freed from the commandments so that we no longer have to live up to their standards; instead we’ve been freed to live a life even more drastically righteous. We have a higher standard and example, now.
TAA: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?
AB: It’s so difficult for me to answer questions like this. I’m the kind of person who accepts things as they are and then works to improve them. Instant whole-sale change is very rare in this world, and so it’s not something that I’m given to thinking about.
My greatest personality flaws are wrapped up inside of the traits that I see as my greatest strengths, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I’m not willing to sacrifice my strengths to lose my flaws and I’m not willing to gain new strengths equally tainted by their accompanying flaw.
TAA: Who are your heroes and what about them inspires you?
AB: My heroes are primarily people found in the Bible. It seems to me that many Christians have heard the stories so many times that they have become jaded to them. They see stories like the travels of Paul, the adventures of Jonah, and the life of David as utterly mundane; they are anything but!
These stories the Bible tells really happened. When you stop to think about what it means for a teenager to slay a giant taller than most any man living in the world today with nothing but a weapon used by shepherds not to kill predators but to scare them away it reveals just what kind of faith that young man had.
When you think about what kind of devotion and love it would take to spend years in prison for the preaching of the gospel, to sacrifice the freedoms we are inundated with and take for granted for something that we can’t even yet see, it’s utterly astounding and deeply challenging.
Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt with nothing but a promise from God that He would take care of His children. Hope of a much smaller nature was what carried him through much tougher times than any of us will ever likely experience, yet we often live our lives mired in the depression despite having the promise of eternal life.
I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,,
Who made heaven and earth.
This is the heritage we carry into our well-furnished church buildings. These are the people God used to establish our comfortable brand of religion. Why do we feel comfortable? Why do we spend our time arguing over the color we carpet our sleek, high-tech, modern sanctuaries with? Why is “church” nothing but somewhere we go on Sunday mornings to take a nice nap?
TAA: If everyone in the world gathered together to listen to you speak for five minutes, what would you say to them?
AB: How much time would I have to prepare?
I would give a brief but in-depth presentation of the gospel, beginning with Creation and the Fall, which are left out by so many people.
But I would spend the majority of my time pleading with the Church to live up to its calling.
Then, in the last 10 seconds, I would politely ask the Muslim extremists not to murder me.
TAA: How can we pray for you?
AB: My foremost prayer request would be for wisdom. That’s something every teenager needs. I’m also transitioning to college in the fall, so prayer for that would be appreciated very very much. Very much.