Interview with A.J. Swoboda, Author of “Messy: God Likes it That Way” – Part 3
Here is the final part of my interview with A.J. Swoboda on his book Messy: God Likes it That Way.
J.R. What was most difficult when it came to writing “Messy” and what was most rewarding?
A.J.: Existing and practicing the Christian faith in the context of a church that continues to live at such profound odds with itself is a challenging task in itself; let alone writing a book to it. Jesus’ church is very broken right now. Suggesting one thing alienates one side and arguing another thing alienates the other. Writing in and about the church has become an incredibly scandalous affair. Without question I believe the mark of a good book in our world is that it upsets someone. I went into this project assuming this. So, for me, the most difficult aspect was coming to grips with how challenging writing is to a broken church. On a purely technical level, writing, as a process, just never ends. At the same time, most rewarding was the challenge of writing. We all learn the most when we’re forced to do something we’ve never learned to do well.
JR: Do you have a favorite chapter(s), why or why not?
A.J.: Yes. The chapter on suffering was particularly fun (wrong word) to write. The process of thinking through pain and suffering in the context of grace was an enlightening prospect; and I loved doing it.
JR: What is the biggest take away you want people to have after reading “Messy”?
A.J.: Nothing you do makes God like you more. Also, nothing you do makes God hate at you more. Great place to be. I heard Miroslav Volf say in a sermon: “God loves you for no reason.” If Jesus is the reason for God’s love, live freely.
JR: Is there anything else you would like to share about the book?
A.J.: Buy it. Read it. Give it away. I need to feed my family. Aside from that, have hope. God is real and really real.