Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Part Two: My Interview with Jeri Massi, author of "Valkyries"
Here is Part Two of some excerpts from my interview with Jeri Massi, author of Valkyries.
(This is all I'm going to post of the interview, but I'm looking into converting the actual audio into some form where it can be listened to online.)
Scroll down to read Part One
CINDY: Why was it so important to you as an author, Jeri, to get across the theme of grace...because that is the overriding theme of these books.
JERI: I think the most important thing that any of can us can know is the grace of God.This is stated in the book by one of the characters, because really, the grace of God is the only thing that we possess.We tend to think that we have our education, our family, our place in our church,our physical home, our money, our jobs, and we really don't...any of that can be taken away in an instant. But what we have that we never lose,
if we have Christ, we have Christ forever...and all of the wealth that God pours out to His Son Christ,
He also gives to us through Christ because we belong to Christ, and we are one with our Saviour.
When I started to get ahold of that truth...when I realized that no matter how nice I looked, how well I could speak, what I could accomplish...all of this is very temporal, changeable and ephemeral...and it's all sort of a hoax even that I play with myself, because I remain a sinner...that I completely depend on God, whether I know I depend on Him or not, my life is completely dependent on His good will. But God is very good, and very gracious, and He holds before mankind forever this promise, this bounty, this wealth that we can have in Christ...and really,that is the only thing that we get.
Again, as I looked at Christian fiction as a younger woman, I was disheartened because even though I live a moral life and I definitely advocate moral behavior, very much Christian fiction tends to display the idea that Christianity is the same thing as morality, and it is not. Christianity is about Christ and belonging to Christ and having Him be our righteousness, our forgiveness and our resurrection.
CINDY: The story is set in a Catholic school, and there are some negative aspects of the Catholic faith portrayed in the book, but not totally. Can you speak to how you dealt with that, because I know that is an aspect of the story that is somewhat autobiographical for you.
JERI: Right. Well, I went to Catholic school for nine years. I went to a parochial school for eight years and then a private girls' school for one year where basketball was very important to the people. Again, after I got saved at age 14, I was amazed at some of the hostility I saw towards Roman Catholic people. But my church,which is BenSalem Baptist Church up in Philadelphia, was very good, and our church was about 80 per cent former Roman Catholic.
But in the book,I did want to clearly show the errors of Roman Catholic belief, the doctrine, what is written on the page. But in the book, one person who is a model Valkyrie is one of the sisters, sister James Anne, who
who is based on a nun who had in elementary school. Now in the story
she is a retired high school teacher, but I had a sister James Anise who who was the first person who ever sincerely took me aside to tell me that Jesus loved me.
Now, nobody is saved but by the blood of Christ, but God's grace is God's domain...He dispenses His grace, He grants mercy, and there are Roman Catholic people who do truly trust the Savior. And so I didn't want to vilify people...I care about Roman Catholic people. I would like them to be able to come to Christ without the intervention of a priest or a pope, because we can come to directly come to Christ, and that was very important for me to say.
So I do identify the fallacies of doctrine, but I've never yet had a Roman Catholic person who has read the book
complain to me about the book. In fact, a couple of people were very keen on reading the book,
because they wanted somebody who has been a Catholic to talk about these issues and present some ideas about the grace of God and the power of Christ to keep us from sin.