Saturday, August 05, 2006

Methodist Blogger Profile: Terry Schrimscher

Terry Schrimscher of Sleepwriter

I live near Birmingham, Alabama where I run a Christian design company that produces magazines in several regional markets. I graduated from the University of Alabama and I have worked in publishing, media, advertising, and public relations in a sixteen-year career. I serve on the Board of Directors for the state chapter of the Public Relations Society of America as well as an alumni group from college and also a local chapter of Civitan. I volunteer with the Celebrate Recovery program at my church each week. I have been married for nine years and I have two children and two weiner dogs.

Why do you blog?
I have always wanted to be a writer. Blogging helps me clear my mind, and it forces me to think about certain issues in a different way than I might ordinarily. I appreciate the fact that other people will read what I have written, whether they agree with me or not. Writing about faith helps me grow in my faith.

What has been your best blogging experience?
It’s a very simple pleasure, but the first time someone actually left a comment after something I had written, it was a real blessing to know that someone thought enough about it to reply.

What would be your main advice to a novice blogger?
I am a novice blogger, and I tell myself all the time that I should strive to write more frequently. I find myself listening to lessons or reading Bible studies or news stories and thinking about what I would write on that topic. Also, try to include artwork when possible.

If you only had time to read three blogs a day, what would they be?
Well, I have to admit that I miss reading Shane Raynor’s blog, I enjoy this one, of course, and a secular one,, has a humorous perspective on things. I frequently check out to see the playlists from his podcasts. I love music.

Who are your spiritual heroes?
Jesus, of course. I admire people who have personal stories of redemption. C. S. Lewis, Johnny Cash and even Franklin Graham. These are people who stumbled at some point and had the good sense to let God lift them up.

What are you reading at the moment?
I read a lot of stuff simultaneously. I also work in Christian publishing, so I read a lot every day. The things I am reading for pleasure at the moment are a Bible study called “The Mind of Christ”, a history of Methodism, my Spiritual Formation Bible, and a biography of Teddy Roosevelt.

What is your favorite hymn and why?
I’ve always loved Amazing Grace. It is such a simple song, but it gets straight to the point of sinner’s redemption.

Can you name a major moral, political, or intellectual issue on which you've changed your mind?
I rarely change my mind as much as my perception. Two issues come to mind, immigration and lotteries. On immigration, I still resent the thought that people come here illegally when others must wait to enter properly, but God was pretty specific about showing kindness to the aliens living among us. So, I changed the way I perceive the issue by seeking to understand why people are desperate to get here. On lotteries, I think it is immoral to waste your money on the false hope of sudden material wealth, but I don’t think you are going to hell if you buy a lottery ticket at the gas station when you fill up. I think the main issue where I have changed my mind is that I used to want to run for state office, but I no longer have that as a goal.

What philosophical thesis do you think is most important to combat?
Two things I have written about in my blog are negativity and eschatology. I can understand that people have a bad day now and then, but we should not dwell on the negative and we should seek to avoid getting into the downward spiral that dwelling on our sorrows can bring. We are all shaped through hardship to serve God’s purposes, but we cannot serve him if we don’t allow ourselves to be lifted up. On the subject of eschatology, I think people dwell on “end times” teachings too much these days. It’s a sort of pop theology that distracts people from doing more effective things for God.

If you could effect one major change in the governing of your country, what would it be?
I’d like to see politicians adopt the same attitude of servanthood that we, as Christians, should follow in our own lives. They should all be seeking to better the world around them rather than seeking to score political points on the pain of others. Civility stopped being a virtue in politics about 10 years ago. Maybe it was never there.

If you could effect one major policy change in the United Methodist Church, what would it be?
That’s hard to say, because I am a new Methodist. I read the social principles for the first time recently. For the most part, I find them well reasoned but I worry that such things create a disconnect with the layperson. I don’t think, as they say, that the function of government is to “reduce the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.” On the contrary, I think the purpose of government is to provide all people with the freedom to achieve. Perhaps that is a little vague, but we’d be serving God a lot better through things like UMCOR and mission work rather than wringing our hands that our neighbor makes more than we do. God warned us about coveting, did He not? Government should seek to make things fair, but it should not serve to punish the successful. The Church should, on the other hand, be reaching more people to use God’s financial blessings to help the poor. Anyone can be generous with other people’s money, but Christian charity is what you give from your own belongings to help others. I’m blessed to be in a church where the focus is on mission work (both foreign and in the local community) and I believe that is the function of Christians. Since I joined the UMC, I have become a lot more aware of God’s grace in the world around me, and that is what gives me strength.

What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
Always try to understand the people you disagree with and love them. God may be trying to work through you to show them grace.

What, if anything, do you worry about?
I’d be lying if I said I never worry. I am a father and I run a small business. I worry about my ability to provide for my family, but I trust in God to provide. I try to avoid stress and I have found that dwelling on things that I cannot control makes things worse. I used to be terrible about taking things into my own hands and then running to God to clean up my mess. Now I try to turn to Him first and trust him to lead.

If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything that you'd do differently?
No. God has used everything in my life to shape me to be who I am today. He is also using the good and bad today to shape me to serve him better tomorrow.

Where would you most like to live (other than where you do now)?
I love where I live (Birmingham, AL) and I am happy to be here. It is a beautiful place. However, if I could pick anywhere else to live, I’d love to live in Aspen.

What do you like doing in your spare time?
I read a lot. I usually have two or three books in the mix at any given moment. I listen to a lot of music too. Mostly, I am just happy when I have spare time.

What is your most treasured possession?
Materially, I have nothing that I would not part with to help someone in real need. My most treasured thing in life is the time God gives me to spend with Him and with family.

What talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could sing. My daughter thinks I can and she makes me sing to her almost every night. She is a minority of one, I’m afraid.

If you could have any three guests, past or present to dinner, who would they be?
Everyone says Jesus, but he is here already. I think I’d like to have dinner with one of the Apostles, perhaps Peter, and Ronald Reagan, and perhaps C. S. Lewis. I can imagine the list would change often if I had to answer that question several times.


Anonymous said...

Always try to understand the people you disagree with and love them. God may be trying to work through you to show them grace.

I find it interesting that you didn't also say that God may be trying to work through them to show you grace.

William Boot said...

very good point.

I think we, as Christians, often think we are teaching others but you are right in that we are also learning from others.

Anonymous said...

Hey Terry ... thanks for the propers! Always nice to read about listeners. Seems we have a lot in common. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

I am so very proud to know that young men such as you exist in this world of fault finding and finding ways to make yourself feel better through the short comings of others. We are only as strong as our faith and God tells us to love one another. I truly do love are my son. Love Mom

cindidi said...

I'm glad I found you here and that I was able to read the words you've written. God has some very unique ways of helping us to find the way in which He wants us to serve Him. I am blessed to have finally found my way into the world of ministry and proud that I have a brother to turn to for support and advice! Cindi