Tag Archives: Margaret Feinberg

Scouting the Divine: An Interview with Margaret Feinberg

Recently we had a conversation with Margaret Feinberg, author of the new book, Scouting the Divine. We asked her questions about her pilgrimage across the US, caring for a flock of sheep, and Wal-Mart. And this is what she had to say…

Have we heard incorrectly or did you recently come to Oregon, our neck of the woods (or should we say “God’s country”), to spent time with sheep?

I love me some Oregon. Seriously, I HEART the Pacific Northwest. After spending five years living in Alaska, it’s hard not to fall in love with your region of the country. Almost a decade ago, I met a woman from outside of Portland who took care of sheep. I never forgot our meeting all the rich spiritual insights that emerged from her simply talking about caring for a flock. Last spring, I tracked her down, cold called her, reintroduced myself, and garnered an invitation to spend time in her home and among her sheep. The experience was unforgettable.

Why ‘Scouting the Divine?’ Where did this concept come from?

I’ve become increasingly aware that the agrarian world of the Bible is distant from my modern suburban lifestyle, so I decided to be intentional about closing the gap. I went on my own “stay-grimage.” or “spiritual pilgrimage” in the United States. I spent time with the shepherdess in Oregon, a farmer in Nebraska, a beekeeper in Colorado, and a vinter in Napa Valley. With each person, I opened the scripture and asked, “How do you read this—not as a theologian—but in light of what you do everyday?” Their answers changed the way I read scripture forever.

Can you spend a minute and tell one of the truths that impacted you personally while writing Scouting the Divine?

There were so many spiritual discoveries. One I’ve been gnawing on lately came from my time with the beekeeper. I asked him why he thought the Promised Land was described as a land overflowing with milk and honey. The land could have been described as anything—the land of ginormous pomegranates or luscious olive oil. Instead, God chose to make the land famous for overflowing with milk and honey. When I asked the beekeeper, he noted that a land that overflows with honey means that everything is working in its proper order. The winter snows don’t melt too late. The summer heat isn’t overwhelming. The rain falls at its appointed time. The first freeze doesn’t arrive too early. If any of these factors are out of alignment then the grasses and flowers can’t bloom to their full potential and the bees can’t produce honey in abundance. That means that one of the defining characteristics of the Promised Land is that everything works in it’s proper order. I want to enter that Promised Land in my own life.–where I’m living in the season of life God has placed me in to my full potential.

On a side note, we’ve always been impressed – from following you on Twitter and reading your blog – that, despite the busyness of ministry, you prove to remain passionate about your relationship with Jesus. What are some practical things that you do to keep that passion fresh?

Even in the midst of a busy schedule, I try to take care of myself. This may sound so unspiritual, but I try to make sure I’m getting enough sleep. I carve out mornings when I allow my body to drink in as much sleep as it needs. Why? When I’m well-rested, I’m less like to make foolish decisions that lead me into sin and it’s easier to connect to God and respond to His leadings and nudging. I have a hunch the people of God would be far more effective if we were well-rested. In addition, I love to read what I call Bible nerd books. I read commentaries, studies on ancient Israel and obscure books that really feed my spirit and soul. And Leif and I read a Walter Bruegermann prayer aloud together. It’s one of the sweetest moments of our day.

When does Scouting the Divine release and how can people purchase it?

Scouting the Divine is available October 1 and the accompanying six-week DVD study releases from Lifeway in January 2010. You can check it out on amazon.com, borders.com, or my own site—which is launching all-new in October!–www.margaretfeinberg.com. For all you Facebookers, I’m on as Margaret Feinberg and for all you twitters, you can find me @mafeinberg.

Next time you’re in Oregon herding sheep, you’ll have to stop by and say hi.

Would love to! I’ll be speaking at Living Hope Church in Vancouver, Washington, and George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, in November.

BONUS: When I think of Wal-Mart, I think of … the hidden story of Sam Walton’s heart for caring for the poor that isn’t heard or heralded oenough. I just got back from Bentonville, Arkansas, home of Wal-mart, and discovered countless stories of outrageously generous and good things being done by this shopping behemoth. You’d be surprised at just how much!

007A popular speaker at churches and leading conferences such as Fusion, Catalyst, and LeadNow, Margaret Feinberg (www.margaretfeinberg.com) invites people to discover the relevance of God and His Word in a modern world. Audiences love her ability to connect the practical with the spiritual. Recently named by Charisma magazine as one of the “30 Emerging Voices” who will help lead the church in the next decade, she has written more than a dozen books including the critically-acclaimed The Organic God and the Sacred Echo (Zondervan). People of all ages connect with her relational teaching style. Margaret currently lives in Morrison, Colorado, with her 6′8″ husband, Leif. When she’s not writing or traveling, she enjoys anything outdoors, lots of laughter, and their super-pup, Hershey. But she says some of her best moments are spent communicating with her readers. So go ahead, become her friend on Facebook, or tag her on Twitter at @mafeinberg.

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Margaret Feinberg: What Are You Rethinking?

Rethink Monthly: What topics/scripture has God been speaking to you, causing you to rethink lately?

Margaret Feinberg: On a recent trip to Israel, we visited the Garden where Jesus’ resurrection may have taken place. As I walked inside the tomb, I was once again reminded of the resurrecting power of Jesus, just the fact that our God is a God of life, who gives life; who brings back to life. Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of sorting through culture wars, keeping a list of do’s and don’ts, or even who’s stacking up the best ammo when it comes to arguing a hot topic of faith. But when Jesus boldly proclaimed, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” He didn’t just say those words, He lived them. The word “life” was never meant to be interpreted as number 3 on the list…something we’ll get to. Life flowed out of Jesus everywhere He went—healing, giving hope, challenging, and even resurrecting. All of this has made me question how much of the life of Jesus I really have. How much do I give that life to others? This thinking and rethinking makes me want to experience more of the life of Christ, and allow it to flow out of me like living waters.

RM: What sort of things are keeping you up at night / moving you to action in your spiritual life?

MF: A hunger for God. I pray regularly for hunger—whenever it wanes—and it’s the kind of prayer that God never seems to say “no” to. He always gives me more. I live with an ache inside that says there’s always more of God to uncover and discover. I want more of Him.

RM: How is that translated in your own life / in the lives of those you influence?

MF: In my writing, it forces me to be far more vulnerable than I am in real life. I have friends who lovingly joke, “Margaret, I buy your books to find out what’s really going on in your life.” So often I want to hold back. I’m intensely private, but then I feel that nudge that if I share those things I most want to keep to myself, God can do amazing things through them. And He does.

RM: Why do you say that when God speaks He does so as an echo?

MF: So often when God speaks He’ll use multiple things to get our attention—a scripture, a chance encounter, an unexpected conversation—all of them help alert us to the ways God is trying go get our attention and speak to us.

RM: You describe God as “surprisingly talkative.” Can you describe one of those moments when God has spoken to you?

MF: There’s a verse tucked away in Mark 6:31 that sometimes, when I’m reading the Bible, will feel like it was written just for me. It simply says, “Come away, to a lonely place, and rest awhile.” Jesus spoke those words to the disciples, but when I read them, or that verse flashes through my mind, it’s like He’s speaking them to me–issuing an invitation to slow down, get away, and refresh.

A popular speaker at churches and leading conferences such as Fusion, Catalyst, and LeadNow, Margaret Feinberg (www.margaretfeinberg.com) invites people to discover the relevance of God and His Word in a modern world. Audiences love her ability to connect the practical with the spiritual. Recently named by Charisma magazine as one of the “30 Emerging Voices” who will help lead the church in the next decade, she has written more than a dozen books including the critically-acclaimed The Organic God and the Sacred Echo (Zondervan). People of all ages connect with her relational teaching style. Margaret currently lives in Morrison, Colorado, with her 6′8″ husband, Leif. When she’s not writing or traveling, she enjoys anything outdoors, lots of laughter, and their super-pup, Hershey. But she says some of her best moments are spent communicating with her readers. So go ahead, become her friend on Facebook, or tag her on Twitter at mafeinberg.

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