More About the Author
(From interview on Harvest House website)
Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and your family.
"I grew up a three'minute walk from Puget Sound in west Seattle. We used to go down to the beach, dig butter clams, turn over rocks looking for sea cucumbers and crabs, and watch sail boat races on Sunday afternoons. My parents met at Westside Presbyterian Church, left when it became 'too liberal,' then went back again when they realized that church was still quite good'it took about fifteen years.
"Like G. K. Chesterton, I'd have to say, 'I am sorry if the landscape or the people appear disappointingly respectable and even reasonable, and deficient in all those unpleasant qualities that make a biography really popular.' I grew up in a cheerful blue color family, where there were plenty of books, including World Book Encyclopdia, which after Winnie The Pooh was my first literary influence. We went to Awana and Christian summer camps and memorized Bible verses in the original King James.
"When I was in sixth grade, the Vietnam War ended, Seattle went bankrupt, and we moved to Alaska for several years. I've loved mountains, wildflowers, and strawberries ever since. Many significant things happened up there. We spent two summers at Echo Ranch Bible Camp, north of Juneau, the most beautiful place on the planet, and I 'received Jesus.' I learned about being an outsider. We got a dog, a St. Bernard/Husky/German Shepherd mix, born for Alaska. And I started reading C. S. Lewis, a habit I haven't broken yet. I discovered Narnia in the basement of my parents' friends from church.
What led you to found the Kuai Mu Institute for Christianity and World Cultures? What does it exist to do?
''Kuai Mu' (pronounced 'kwi moo') is the name of an ancient evergreen that grows high in the mountains of Taiwan, like a redwood. The name relates to our need to find roots, and to my work with 'mountain peoples' while I was in Asia. The purpose of Kuai Mu is to educate Christians and non'Christians about how the Gospel relates to other cultures and religions, and evidence for the Christian faith. We do this in three ways. First, we put on seminars and other teaching events, with myself as the speaker, or with other Christian thinkers. Second, I write. And third, we also do some ministry through the Internet.
"Some of the speakers who have participated in our seminars include Miriam Adeney, Craig Blomberg, Gary Habermas, Vishal Mangalwadi, Don Richardson, and Dudley Woodberry. These seminars are always lots of fun."
You spent time teaching English and working as a missionary in Asia. Where did you work, and when did you feel called to Asia?
"I heard about Youth With a Mission at a Keith Green memorial concert. I'd been studying Chinese, and thought, 'Why not go to China? There are more Chinese than anyone else on the planet. I can do God's work, learn a new language, take some cool pictures, and maybe meet some girls.' So in January 1984, I joined a discipleship training school in an old bombed'out hospital on the hill near that giant beehive called Hong Kong.
"My years as a missionary changed me quite a bit. I learned how to worship. I discovered that God can answer prayers in dramatic ways sometimes. I did see a good chunk of the world'we camped out in hill tribes in Thailand, smuggled Bibles into China, and were caught in a little civil war when we arrived in New Delhi just before the assassination of Indira Gandhi. I also began to work out my own way of doing ministry."
You also served in local Chinese churches, where Christians are often imprisoned and abused because of their faith. What was this experience like?
(For the rest of the interview, please see the Harvest House web site.)