Q & A With Jeff Bethke || A Unitive Interview

Posted on September 29th, by Bryan Halferty in Heart, Interviews. 3 comments

Q & A With Jeff Bethke || A Unitive Interview

Nearly two years ago a video showed up on your newsfeed, and was no doubt shared by many of your friends. Sure, this happens regularly–weekly–but rarely when the subject of the video is “Jesus”. That video came to be known as Jesus > Religion or “Why I love Jesus and hate religion” and it launched a young man named Jefferson Bethke into the spotlight. Since then Jeff has stewarded his role well. He’s not only constantly and humbly pointed people to Jesus but is is anything but snobbish when it comes to interacting with fans and followers on Twitter. Jeff is also just about to release his new book Jesus > Religion which further explores the topic of the viral video. I caught up with Jeff and was able to ask him a few questions.

@Bhalferty: Jeff, it’s been a while since Jesus > Religion came out. What are some of the biggest personal changes from then till now?
 

@JeffBethke: The video actually helped me grow up a ton. It helped me learn more personal discipline, how to lead, gentleness, etc. A big thing is it gave me a lot bigger sensitivity to people in the spotlight. Before I was so quick to blog about how someone was wrong. Or be snarky in a tweet about leaders. But being on the other end has really given me a gentleness I didn’t have before. I try so hard now to really ask, “what are they trying to say?” What was their intention or heart with a post/video? Also knowing I really can’t speak much on a person if I don’t actually know them.

 
@Bhalferty: I’m sure a ton of young spoken word artists and other creative types are constantly asking for advice. What’s the most common question you get and how do you answer it?

@JeffBethke: The biggest question is “how did you do it? How do I get started?” and the answer is do what you love and be faithful, and don’t become a slave to the results. Especially as a creative, the process, and the grind of making something is the goal itself.

 
 @Bhalferty: Talk about the process of writing a book. How long did it take?

@JeffBethke: Man it’s long! Especially for ADHD mind like mine ha. It took me prob about 4-5 months and I wrote most of it on an airplane. The hardest part for me is I haven’t touched the book since January, and so it takes 8 months from there for it to hit the shelves! A lot longer process than making a YouTube video. It’s also a lot more heavy, because a book is out there for good.

 
@Bhalferty: I hear a lot of authors talk about creative road blocks, or writer’s block. Did you face any of that? If so, how’d you over come it?
 

@JeffBethke: Totally! I think I had to get away from the idea that is “just wait until inspiration strikes.” I learned that’s just garbage. Just writing, typing away, one word at a time gets the job done. Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth and sometimes it’s easy but just trodding through, even if it’s one mile per hour, helps a ton. Keeping rhythm also helps.

 
@Bhalferty: Talk a bit about Claro Candles. What’s that all about?
 

@JeffBethke: Most people don’t know but Claro is where most of my time is going these days! Brett & I (my business partner and friend) really believe that business is a domain God created and wants to reconcile back to Himself. So we created a candle company that has 9 different candle scents in our particular fall retail line. Each candle represents a different element of injustice–like clean water, child soldiers, etc. And when you buy a particular candle it gives a tangible giving outcome in that realm of injustice (for example, the education candle pays for a child to go to school for one day). We absolutely love it and it’s a blast! And the best part about candles, is when you buy one they are just natural symbols of remembrance and solidarity to not forget the brokenness in this world we all succumb too, but the fact there is hope that’s better.

 
@Bhalferty: Who are some people you’re reading or listening to, voices that are currently inspiring you?
 

@JeffBethke: This professor named Kenneth Bailey is absolutely blowing my mind right now! He is a scholar on middle eastern culture, and first century context of the world Jesus lived and breathed. I think his stuff is desperately needed today. We miss so much when we inject Jesus into our 21st century culture. Also I’ve been reading a lot of N.T Wright. Also, a pastor in North Carolina named Jonathan Martin is amazing. Look him up!

 

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Bryan Halferty Bryan Halferty runs, reads, writes, pastors and spends copious amounts of time with his beautiful wife and two children. He studied theology at Regent College (Vancouver, BC) and currently pastors Salt, the young adult and college ministry of Mercer Creek Church. He contributes to and edits The Unitive. Connect with him at @bhalferty.
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