5 minutes with Bronwen ...
- Tell us a little about you
I’m blessed to have the opportunity to help kids to learn to do life better, through my role as
a school chaplain. I’ve worked with kids and young people pretty much all my adult life –
everything from pre-kindy kiddies to university students – in both paid and volunteer
I live in Perth, with my husband and our 7 year old son. It’s a dreadful cliché to say that he is
the light of our lives, but it’s true.
In 2014, I founded God’s Design – Perth, a ministry for Christian men and women which aims
to bring clarity, healing and encouragement in Christ through the biblical message of gender
equality. I blog at www.godsdesignperth.org
In my so-called spare time, I sing in a Christian acappella choir. Don’t you love it when
science backs up the value of something you like to do (such as “studies prove dark chocolate
is good for you”)? Apparently, recent studies have proven that choral singing is one of the
most powerful stress-relieving things you can do. So I guess now I have a really good excuse
for spending time exercising my vocal cords.
- What's your favourite Bible passage & why?
If I were told there was just one book of the Bible I could take onto a desert island with me (silly notion, I know, when they usually come bound together in one volume, but just humour me!), it would be Isaiah. Yes, I know there are quite a few “woes” floating round in there, but I think no other book gives us such a breadth and depth to the question, “Who is God, and what is He like?” Chapter 40 in particular leads us through the awesome power and might of God, the tenderness with which he cares for us as a shepherd with his flock, the enormity of what it means to contemplate God the Creator, the futility of worshipping those things made by human hands…this glorious chapter covers all this and more. Given the way Isaiah has set up the reader to contemplate the awe of who God is and to feel so very small in contrast (“Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?...
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket…”), how wonderful it is that he ends with this testament to how God loves and sustains us as individuals, through our hard times:
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
- How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus? As a mother, trying despite my own imperfections to live for Jesus in a way that models a living faith to my son is a great motivator. Helping him to work through his questions about issues big and small (like whether his toy rabbit and tiger will go to heaven with him!), and reading the Bible together helps me to have to think through the biblical texts and their application in a very different light than when I read alone. This relationship between mother and son is in some sense a microcosm of the Christian life, as we seek to live, learn and worship together in our Christian communities.
I love, love, love to sing, and to meet Jesus in worship. While I have a tendency to make Bible reading an academic exercise, I can’t hide behind that in song, where brain, voice, body and will come together to focus on Jesus and His “old, old story” that lives in every person who knows Him.
- What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?
That God loves them deeply as women.
That being a woman does not make them something less in God’s eyes.
That they don’t need to feel that even if the world affirms them, God puts them back in a box
God’s vision for them is so much bigger than they might think!
That if the way they read the Bible leaves them feeling crushed and rejected, it’s not God
that is the problem, but the way they’ve learned to read the Bible – when they put on the
“new glasses” of biblical equality, the Word really will become life-giving and nourishing.
That His calling is greater than any obstacle that comes their way.
That God heals their pain and sorrows and suffering.
That when the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
- What's one thing that you love about your local church?
Dinner! Oops, is that too unspiritual? We attend our church’s Saturday evening service, and
share dinner together after the service. It’s such a lovely way to get to know one another
beyond just “How are you?” - “Good, thanks.”
I also love that there is space in our quite conservative evangelical congregation for social
justice issues, particularly the pressing concern around asylum seekers. (That’s more than
one thing, but you didn’t notice, did you?)
- What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?
Oh, we know hard times in our family – far, far too well. I’m just waiting for someone to give
me an honorary PhD in Doing It Tough. I’ve found that even when the tunnel seems dark and
unending, when I reach the other end, I discover that Jesus has had my back the whole time.
I’ve discovered that the worst of times is just another opportunity to discover and wonder at
the great grace and love of our God.
- What are you passionate about?
Singing (especially if I can sing to God!).
Enjoying life with my son while he’s still fairly little.
Encouraging this country to treat asylum seekers with compassion.
Spelling and punctuation (it’s a curse, I know…I would so love to go through life with a
permanent marker in one hand and white-out in the other!)
Gardening - having flowers and vegetables/herbs/fruit growing in our garden fulfils my need
for very practical things and things that are beautiful for their own sake.
The purple passion – Fremantle Dockers. Um, but not enough to sit through a game in the
rain. I’m a bit of a fussy guts about that stuff.
Did I mention chocolate?
- What do you enjoy doing when you rest?
I do love to spend a day (or two, or three…) curled up with a good book. I just don’t love having to have the flu to find an excuse to do it!