Friday, February 27, 2009

An interview with Dani Scarratt

As I mentioned on Wednesday, Dani Scarratt will be contributing half of the Sunday Philosophy Club posts in March. Here is a short interview with Dani, before we start discussing the book next week:

Dani, how did you come to faith in Christ?

I was brought up 'in the knowledge of God' as the saying goes, in a Christian family. I don't remember ever not trusting God, but there were still significant points of growth in my understanding of who God is and what he has done. One was when I decided not to use my daily devotion notes any more (not that there was anything wrong with them). This was like a Christian coming of age for me: just me face to face with the God of the Bible. Another was the discovery of biblical theology: my whole belief-system got smashed and then put back together with a coherence that took my breath away. And one day in Bible study, I remember reading about something Jesus did, and saying “that's just so like God, isn't it?” It hit me that that's what you say about someone when you know them. I thought, wow, I know God. It's an amazing thought.

What do you most love about reading?

I love ideas and stories, and they come wrapped up in words, which I also love. Words come wrapped up in (among other things) books and ipods. So I love reading (and also listening to podcasts, which, unlike reading, you can do while doing the dishes)!

What do you love about philosophy?

A philosophy lecturer once told me you don't choose philosophy, it chooses you. Isabel expresses a similar notion in the book: like a radio, she's tuned in to a particular station and the dial is broken. I agree: I think it appeals to me because of the way I think. I like analysing ideas and seeing how they fit together with other ideas. I like analysing arguments, seeing how they work and whether they're any good. I also like building and following arguments and seeing where they take me: sometimes it's completely surprising. There's a straight-forwardness and honesty about good philosophy that's refreshing.

What is your favourite novel?

What, just one?!

At age 16, The Outsiders by S E Hinton; at 26, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; and at 36, The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (which would be great for the EQUIP book club...)

Honourable mention also has to go to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, which is surely as close to perfection as a novel can get; and jointly to Lewis Carroll's Alice books and the very-poorly-indeed named Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide trilogy, because I love how they play with words.

What book (apart from the Bible!) has helped you most in growing in your knowledge of God?

C S Lewis's collection of essays on Faith, Christianity and the Church. It has short pieces on a huge range of topics, from personal godliness to moral theory, Christian mysteries like the trinity to practical issues like church music. He writes with amazing clarity and insight. Reading C S Lewis can, like reading the Bible, cut through joint and marrow to lay bare the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Sometimes the honesty makes you squirm, at other times it's like your own thoughts come into focus and you find yourself thinking 'Yes, exactly!” Although I've found some of the essays more personally relevant than others, I haven't read any that didn't challenge me, encourage me, or help me understand something better.


Jean said...

I love nearly all of your favourite books - and yes, isn't "The Remains of the Day" by Kazuo Ishiguro wonderful? It would be a wonderful book for EQUIP books, I agree.

Anonymous said...

You obviously have great taste in books! My first 'reading' of "The Remains of the Day" was hearing it as a talking book. It was read in a measured, painstakingly proper 'English butler' voice, and was incredibly powerful.