Name: Jason Byassee
Where you live: Trick question: for now Durham NC, in 6 days will live in Boone NC, where I’ll pastor Boone United Methodist Church and my wife Jaylynn will pastor Bethelview & Valle Crucis UMC’s.
What you do as a vocation or avocation? I’m a pastor, writer, theologian, dad, slow runner and mediocre basketball player.
Your two favorite books: Maybe the two most influential are Flannery O’Connor’s short stories & Andrew Louth’s beautiful book “Discerning the Mystery.”
Your two favorite songs: Right now anything by Mumford & Sons (especially “Little Lion Man”) and anything by the Avett Brothers (especially “Go to Sleep”). Now this is really cheating: anything out of Taize and any Charles Wesley hymn would also count.
Why you are interested in spirituality? Christians often speak of God finding them rather than the other way around. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t interested in God-with-us, in Israel, Jesus, and church. It’s as though I wasn’t seeking at all, but rather I got found, and couldn’t give it up now if I wanted to.
Your favorite quote: “If you understand it, it is not God,” St. Augustine
Your favorite web sites: Faith & Leadership (www.faithandleadership.com), The New Media Project at Union Seminary (http://blog.newmediaprojectatunion.org/), Theolog, the blog of the Christian Century (http://christiancentury.org/blogs).
Your hero? Rowan Williams, precisely for refusing to be a hero, and trying to be a saint, and admitting so freely how often he fails, while contemplating God so profoundly.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? To be wise. So very different than being smart, it seems to require not only multiple intelligences but also profound love.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually “connected?” Mepkin Abbey in the coincidentally named Monck’s Corner SC. Or playing sports with my boys, Jack (8), Sam (6) and Will (3).