This month at EQUIP book club, we will be featuring various contributions from various people on the book of the bible Esther, in the lead-up to the EQUIP09 conference, The Queen and I. To start us off I thought I would interview Di Warren, who is the chair of EQUIP ministries and will be speaking at this year’s conference. I thought we’d ask her a little about books, and also how she came to be involved in EQUIP.
How did you come to faith in Christ?
I grew up in a Christian family. Sadly none of my grandparents knew Christ, but my Dad & Mum became Christians during school, so by the time I came along (1st kid!), they were wonderful mature believers. At night before bed, they’d read the Bible and pray with me, so I always knew that God loved me more than I could imagine. Life wasn’t easy. My little brother Joshua died from SIDS, and then my little sister Sarah died in a bike accident. My brother David and I were with her when she had her accident, so it was very traumatic and I felt guilty and responsible for many years. However, I still had a deep sense that God was good and could be trusted, even though life felt uncertain. During high school I kept going to youth group and church, but struggled to live a distinctive Christian life, I pretty much just blended in with the crowd. But at Sydney University, I joined the Evangelical Union (EU) and met Christian peers who really challenged the way I thought and lived. It was wonderful. In particular, my understanding of grace and Jesus exploded and I started knowing why it was that God was so good and could be so trusted, no matter what happened in life.
What do you love most about reading?
I love the speed of communication. How you can jump into someone else’s brain and learn so much. I’ve just finished reading Carolyn McCulley’s Radical Womanhood (which is a very worthwhile read), and in a few days I get to understand what must have taken her years to research and write – what I blast! I also love reading beautiful language. I’m a boring Maths nerd, so tend to reduce everything to the simplest concept. So when I read a good novel, I love the magic of the words and the way they paint new worlds.
What is your favourite novel?
Whatever I’ve just read. A friend gave me To Kill a Mocking Bird for my 40th so I just re-enjoyed that one. Though I still don’t quite get who’s the mocking bird. (I should’ve listened better in HSC English!)
What book has helped you the most in growing in your knowledge of God?
Again, whatever I’ve just read! Books like Graham Goldsworthy’s According to Plan really helped me understand that Jesus is the key to all of the Scriptures. But no book compares to the Bible, because it is new every time I read it. I think I’ve understand a passage, and then I re-read it a month later, and there’s more in there. I love my cross reference Bible, because just looking up a few references, let’s me discover new links between that passage and another. But crazily, I still find myself picking up To Kill a Mocking Bird before I pick up my Bible. Why is that?
What do you love about Esther?
It’s amazing book. I don’t think I’d even read it closely till this last year, and I still can’t get my head around all the details. It’s such an intricate story. I love the humour, and I love the way God is so obviously the hero, even though he’s not mentioned. And I love seeing Esther’s decision in chapter 4. It deeply challenges the way I understand my own life.
How did you get involved in EQUIP?
I had the privilege of being part of the starting group 11 years ago. A bunch of friends (Ainsley Poulos, Isobel Lin, Tara Thornley, Jane Tooher, Ruth Muffett and Charissa Forrest) got together to put on a combined teaching day for the young women at our churches. And from there, friends invited friends, and God invented EQUIP. The team has grown and changed alot. And God was extremely kind to give us Carmelina Read! But what’s always been in common, is a wonderful unity and desire to serve Christ and equip women. The team is amazing – it’s such a joy to serve with them.