Watching Her Tone
With her 6'8" husband, Leif, and their 4-pound dog, Hershey, Margaret Feinberg travels the States speaking to Christian audiences composed of young and old, male and female. Enthusiasm, humor, and candor have established her as a fresh speaking voice, but Feinberg's deepest love is writing. "I want to write more than I want to eat," she says. The author of more than a dozen books, she believes her latest, Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey (see an excerpt), is her current best. "But my best book won't come for another 30 years."
Feinberg's authenticity comes through in everything she says and does. Seeking a sustainable lifestyle, she and Leif plan to spend most of next summer volunteering at a camp for at-risk kids. "Living on the road can't be complete enough," she says. "All of your stories become airplane stories." She says she lives for "introducing and re-igniting the wonder of God and his Word in people's lives."
There's been spiritual wonder aplenty in Feinberg's life, as the daughter of a Jewish man and a Gentile woman, both of whom came to Christ as adults. Feinberg says she "grew up with all the tensions that come from having a Jewish grandmother watch her son turn to a different faith. It's a bumpy journey for sure."
Question & Answer
What are your impressions of the church in the United States?
More than anything, the church is very, very tired—so many new programs, initiatives, and events. In that place of exhaustion, we don't need the latest program or initiative as much as we need people who are falling in love with God and the Scriptures.
How did you personally fall in love with God and the Scriptures?
As a child I had terrible nightmares. I learned early on that if I read the Bible, the nightmares went away. So almost my whole life I've read the Bible. Then, during college, I had a sense that God was grabbing me by the scruff of the neck, saying, "You belong to me—come back to me."
How would you describe our cultural moment?
The Internet is changing everything on every level of society. Music labels, movie-makers, and publishers are struggling to stay in business. Presidential elections are shaped by [candidates'] Internet presence. The queen of Jordan is Twittering. Meanwhile, people are leaving the church like crazy—particularly those in their 20s. I was talking to a pastor who finds the Internet essential even for pastoring. People will say that everything is fine at church, and then you look at their Facebook account, and you find the real story. People are more open online.
If you could change one thing about U.S. Christians, what would it be?
I would change the tone. We have forgotten that when Jesus rode into Jerusalem to settle things once and for all, Scripture depicts him as "gentle." Paul described himself as gentle in 2 Corinthians 10:1. In a culture of noise, gentleness is not a sign of weakness, but can be incredibly powerful for the glory of God.
Copyright © 2009 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.