In my previous post I mentioned that I had contacted Christine Colón & Bonnie Field (authors of Singled Out) earlier this year to let them know just how great I thought their book was. When I was invited to contribute to this month’s EQUIP book club on Singled Out, I realised that this was a great opportunity for some of Christine and Bonnie’s readers to get a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at Singled Out.
And so I immediately contacted them both again, inviting them to participate by way of an extended written interview. I was thrilled when they both readily said yes! Unfortunately, looming work deadlines and the busyness of life ended up limiting Bonnie’s involvement, but as she wrote in one of her emails: "Fortunately, Christine's responses were very thorough and echoed everything that I would say!"
So… this months’ EQUIP book club is somewhat like the blogosphere’s equivalent to a DVD’s Special Features, with the posts forming an extended email interview between myself and author Christine Colón. Before she introduces herself in a little more detail let me take the opportunity to thank her (on your behalf) for her willingness to participate in the September EQUIP book club. I trust that you will find her contribution encouraging, challenging and thought provoking!
Christine, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where did you grow up? What do you do for a job? How did you become a Christian?
I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home, and I made a commitment to God at a very young age. My testimony, then, is not one in which God’s power is shown by grabbing hold of someone who seemingly had no interest in Him but rather one in which God’s power is displayed by His ability to hold me in His hand and keep me from straying.
As I grew up, I always thought that I would marry and start my own good Christian home. I loved reading and my family valued education, so it seemed natural for me to go to college and study literature. I was planning on becoming a high school English teacher, and I looked forward to sharing my love of literature with my students. I also thought that teaching was a good career choice for a woman who was planning to start that good Christian home.
I went to Biola University, a Christian university in southern California, where I hoped that I would not only get a good education but also find the Christian man with whom I was to start my family. To my surprise, graduation arrived, and I had not yet met that man. I went off to teach high school for a couple of years, and while I enjoyed it, I felt that God was leading me to graduate school. So, off I went to get my MA and then my PhD in English literature. I still would have liked to start that good Christian family, but graduation arrived and I was still single.
Eventually, I began teaching at Wheaton College in Illinois where I had the opportunity to combine my love for God and my love of literature as I engaged with my students. It was the perfect job, but it was also the place where I began to realize that I might never marry. I was living in a suburb full of families and mini-vans, and eligible single men were few and far between. So, despite the fact that my formal training is in nineteenth-century English literature, I began to put my researching skills to the test to see if I could start to understand why God might want me to remain single. Thankfully, my friend Bonnie, who I had met at Biola, was struggling with the same issue, so the two of us worked together and eventually wrote our book Singled Out.
Today, I am still teaching English literature at Wheaton College, and I am still living in a suburb full of families and mini-vans. But I am also much more confident that God wants to use me exactly where I am and that He will bless me as I focus on serving Him. I am part of a church community that values my presence as a single woman and allows me to use my gifts. And I am looking forward to seeing how He will continue to use me in the discussions that have opened up surrounding the issues that Bonnie and I explore in Singled Out.