I first encountered Nathan James Norman during his appearance on the Strangers and Aliens podcast’s episode entitled, “What Makes Christian Fiction Good?” (also on itunes). Nathan’s thoughts were both articulate and interesting, and I listened to his conversation with host Ben Avery (who I interviewed HERE) more than once.
According to his website, Nathan James Norman is a “Husband. Father. Pastor. Storyteller. Reader. Comic Fan. Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.” That means he and I have a great deal in common. Granted, I’ve not yet become a father, and I won’t be a pastor anytime soon (unless they stop requiring things like seminary), but other than that, Nathan James and I are pretty much on the same page.
That being the case, I was very grateful to Nathan for his willingness to take part in my In God’s Image Interview Series. Nathan’s The Untold Podcast is a very interesting and unique show that provides audio recordings of short stories that engage the culture’s imagination while also presenting truth and spiritual food for thought.
Please join me in getting to know Nathan James Norman:
1. Define yourself in one word (Disciple, Christian, American, Man, etc.)
2. Why do you choose that term?
Over and over the New Testament refers to a follower of Christ as a doulos. We often translate this word as “servant” but it is better rendered as “slave” which reflects the call to radical obedience to Christ. At the end of the day, I need a constant reminder that I am not my own.
3. In two sentences, tell us about your creative endeavors as well as whom you see as your audience.
I serve as a pastor and try to preach the Word with engaging, attention-keeping, tension-rising sermons. I also produce a podcast that brings speculative fiction stories to a growing audience.
4. What was your latest creative project and what led to its creation? Can you give us your favorite three projects on which you’ve worked?
Two of my short stories (“Snow and Ash” & “Proverbs – A Fairy Tale”) were published in The Crossover Alliance Anthology: Volume One. The book came together when author David N. Alderman gathered bunch of like-minded Christian writers to write edgy Christian-themed stories.
My favorite projects include Walking High, a short film I wrote for filmmaker Frank Lozano. “Snow and Ash,” a long-form short story set in ancient Norway. And The Untold Podcast, has allowed me the distinct pleasure of producing stories by a variety of wonderful authors.
5. How have your creative pursuits required you to sacrifice?
I have no free time. My leisure time is spent on creative endeavors. My work as a pastor is demanding, and the recent addition of two young children to my family (one by birth, the other through adoption) has chipped away at my creative time. So, I made the decision to cut out most of my personal entertainment in favor of creativity.
6. What is your primary goal as a writer? How about as a podcaster?
My goals as a writer and podcaster are one and the same: to tell transformative stories. If there is any such thing as a universal language, it is story. And every story is trying to teach its audience something. The vast majority of the Bible is story. Good stories circumvent our intellectual biases and infiltrate the deepest places of our hearts. I want to tell and promote true stories that transform people toward God.
7. What is your largest hope for those who engage your work, whether it be writing or podcasting?
For my writing, I want to one day write a story that matches the beauty and truth found in the pivotal scene in C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair. I tried reading this scene, where Puddleglum talks about following Aslan even if there is no Aslan, at the end of a sermon. I was almost sobbing beyond control by the end. I aspire to write something with this much emotionality and truth.
As a podcaster, I want to have a massive audience. The authors we feature are telling amazing stories and I want to promote the authors and their stories to the widest audience possible.
8. What are two key ways in which you believe your creative endeavors benefit readers today?
I think the podcast is exposing “readers” to a wide variety of good stories in a variety of genres.
I would like to think my stories give readers a good storytelling experience from a pastor/theologian’s perspective.
9. How have you seen God’s goodness and faithfulness in your work?
With the stories featured on the podcast I’ve been inspired, encouraged and challenged. There’s moments I’ve laughed or become angered. I’ve shed tears.
As a pastor, I’ve seen how preaching the Word accurately and creatively can change people’s hearts.
10. How can readers learn more about you and your work?
My sermons can be listened to at http://www.orchardchurch.net/sermons
My blog is http://www.nathanjamesnorman.com/
The Untold Podcast can be found here http://www.untoldpodcast.com