VIP - Very Interesting Person is a series where I interview someone who is... very interesting! I want to find out in an informal way who they are and maybe glean some tips and insights from them.
All the Very Interesting People I interview are different - some are small business owners, some are parents, some are young, some are women, some live in the U.K., some are all of these things and some are the opposite of these things!
Today, I am interviewing someone I grew up living with, my brother. Nathan is two years my junior and while God has taken our lives on very different paths, we’re more similar than I realised. We grew up in France, and he has stayed there. He is a published author and has worked on some big projects, like The Blessing France. I’ll let him tell you the rest.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Nathan. I have a UK background, but I'm based in Paris and I have a great wife (Beki) and 3 kids. I'm a pastor in a church plant in the centre of Paris and have a side-gig as a translator - the perks of being brought up in a bilingual context. And then I guess I just love life and the good things of life (if ever you're over in France, try "saucisson" with a little glass of red wine...) Oh and I have a sister who makes cool cards.
Ha, thanks! What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Beyond the obvious of convincing Beki to marry me, and building a happy family with her, I'd probably say that I did get a lot of satisfaction out of some of the big crazy projects I get myself into.
My latest one is working on getting a Master's degree in theology, alongside family, church and translation... I'll sometimes have a crazy idea like: "let's write a book!" Then I get a burst of energy and creativity, and the first draft gets done in no time. And then usually I'll find a new interesting thing and never take the time to finish my previous big-crazy project. My brain sometimes functions like those dogs in "Up!" ("Squirrel!"). So when I do put in the perspiration to make good on my initial inspiration, and the project comes good, that's when I get the ultimate sense of pride.
I'd list a couple of books I've written - Dieu Est and Devenir Un Homme Selon Jesus, a big fat complicated article and an artistic project I did for one of my recent uni papers would be up there (they're all in French, so find your best beret and click on the links if you're curious).
I do have some french speaking readers, so they may well be interested to take a peek.
When you’re having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?
Usually a silly YouTube video will do it (How Ridiculous or The Slo Mo Guys are go-to). But when I'm having a really bad day, then a day out to a spot of nature, on my own, reading the highlighted passages of my favorite book (Desiring God by John Piper), with the "Piano in the background" Spotify playlist in the ears will usually get me out of any funk!
What’s a great book you’ve read recently?
"Pensées" by Blaise Pascal
When are you happiest?
When I'm doing new things... ("Squirrel!!") Or when I'm on my own with a good book and relaxing music.
Who inspires you?
John Piper, my dad and my wife.
I think that I'm particularly impacted by steadfast faithfulness, patience, long suffering and sacrificial love, because they're virtues that just don't come naturally to me.
I've grown to be impressed by longevity more than by exuberance. Burning brightly for a while is easy. Keeping a steady fire going over years is what it's really about.
Can you tell us 3 things you would bring to a desert island?
It can't be anything electronic right?
Well they wouldn’t be much use on a desert island with no signal or charging point...
I guess a Bible, a guitar and a world-class swiss army knife...
If you could ask God one question, what would it be?
To be honest, probably something petty like "why mosquitoes?"...
I've found, in my walk, that the biggest questions in life have satisfactory answers in Scripture, if we're ready to read it with a humble and submissive heart, that lets God's answers satisfy us.
So I'd probably moan at him for one of the botherations of life on earth. First world problems mainly...
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
A guy who's mentored and fathered me a great deal (Dave Holden) once told me to not build anything that is more lofty than the strengths of the relationships between the people building it could handle. That's proved very true and salutory for me a number of time.
Building strength requires strong relationships before anything else. And you can't rush relationships. If all the traffic lights of "trust" aren't on green, stop building, get the trust right, and get back to building again.
Ooh some great things to ponder there. Thanks for those thoughts. Now for something a bit lighter - it’s lightening round time!
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Cake or pie? Probably cake... It has to be gooey though. Lemon drizzle fresh out of the oven.
Pineapple on pizza? No ma'm
Winter or summer? Summer... But mostly spring or autumn.
City or country? City!!!
Book or movie? Hmmmm... Probably book, but I can't do that with Beki.
Most used emoji? 👍
Favourite day of the week? Sunday, or Monday
What’s for dinner tonight? Something yummy that Beki will have spent time making and that one of my kids will whine about.
Yeah, I know that feeling! Where can people find you online to follow along with what you’re up to?
Thanks! And thank you for your time - was good to hear your responses to these questions!