5 minutes with Shane Fenwick
What's your favourite bible passage & why?
I admit this is going to sound a little humorous, but currently, one of my favourite verses is John 11:35. "Jesus wept." I can recall a classmate in high-school leading a 'bible study' on this verse as a bit of a joke. But, I can't help but think about how deeply profound it actually is! And, how deeply profound it would've been for those in the first century. In that day, the Roman gods were admired for their strength and ability to 'stand over' human affairs. Yet here, we see Jesus—the One whom Christians affirm is God in the flesh—in all his vulnerability. Weeping. Theologians use fancy language like 'transcendence' and 'imminence' to speak about God. Here in this short verse, I believe we encounter the 'transcendent' humility of God in the 'imminent' person of Jesus. Here, we encounter a God who does not stand at arms length from human affairs, but enters into suffering (and takes on that very suffering) in order to redeem it.
How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?
For me, the practice of prayer is central to keeping my eyes on Jesus. Being accountable to a community of faith is also such an important part, too. I'm still learning how to do this well and there are certainly moments where I need a lot of grace and patience! Also, immersing myself in the stories of scripture and the wisdom in various theological traditions (I'm a tragic theology nerd). And, being out in the glory of creation.
What would you like the next generation of Christian women and men to know?
That, ultimately, we have all we need in Christ. There's nothing we need to 'add on' to God's message revealed in that carpenter who lived, died, and was resurrected some 2000 years ago in Roman-occupied Palestine. We don't need to succumb to other narratives to define who we are or how we engage with the world. In Christ, we have what we need to understand what a flourishing life looks like; to understand what it means to practice justice and peace in the world. Ultimately, we can see what 'true' love looks like in this peculiar man who claimed to be God.
What's one thing that you love about your local church?
In the local churches I have been a part of, I have loved the sense of community, the willingness to explore the hard questions together (and including those who are questioning or have doubts), the passion for justice in the world (including ecological justice), and a conviction that the scriptures are still worth exploring, wrestling with, and learning from.
What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?
That God is gentle and gracious. That no matter what mistakes we have made or what 'dark holes' we might found ourselves in, God is that transforming Light which is always beckoning us to restoration and new life.
What are you passionate about?
Too many things! Amongst many other things, I'm passionate about creating communities of 'embrace', preserving this wonderful planet we live on, am deeply fascinated by the intricacies of the human mind, have a deep love for the outdoors (trail running, hiking, etc.), am a big fan of yoga, and am a huge coffee snob.
What do you enjoy doing when you rest?
Too many things, again (kind of defeats the purpose of rest, ha). But, I love doing a form of yoga called Ashtanga yoga, trail running (and just generally being amongst mountains), reading, drinking good coffee, and cooking good food.