JQM Literary Chat Welcomes R. Christian Bohlen
Tell us about yourself:
I grew up in western Pennsylvania in the United States. My parents were from the Netherlands and I grew up speaking Dutch, which was enriching. I’m married to a wonderful, unique woman who makes everyone laugh and has a heart of gold. We were unable to have children but have had loving dogs over the years. Mental health issues have been a major issue for us and I’ve begun writing about that topic for my next book.
I’ve been involved in ministry and church leadership for over thirty years now, including oversight of a prison ministry program, which is my signature cause as an author. I have an M.S. degree in communications and have received multiple personal and team awards as a human performance improvement consultant, instructional designer, and program manager to Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States and Canada.
Tell us about your book:
“Jesus Christ, His Life and Mine: The Story of Jesus and How It Applies to Us in the Twitter Era” is a delightfully simple, fresh approach to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ for today’s adults and youth.
It’s like a historically accurate guided tour through Jesus’s life – like you are there – from birth to resurrection, with a caring mentor who explains things and creates connections to modern life.
Readers come to know Him as a real person and not just a name. Much of it is written in present tense, which creates an immersive experience. We watch as He dramatically unveils Himself as the God of all creation and the Savior of the world.
Readers find insights and solutions for tough, modern problems. No matter they are on their spiritual journey, the Spirit of God whispers how it all applies to the reader’s life as they ponder the thought-provoking questions at the end of most sections.
The non-judgmental tone, evidence-oriented approach to building faith, and short sections make this the ideal book about Christ for today’s insanely busy, sometimes skeptical listeners.
What influenced you to write your current genre?
I had a pretty rough time finding God and getting my spiritual feet planted. In fact, I told the whole story on this live TV interview (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ata0FSU_PMo) plus I wrote a lost more detail in an intense and uplifting post of my own: My Conversion Story.
The “aha moment” to write this book came to me about 20 years ago when I was teaching at a juvenile corrections facility. A young man had been given a Bible and he couldn’t make heads or tails of it on his own, of course. I was a reading a scholarly book about the life of Jesus and I was having this magnificent movie-like experience. That’s when the thought came to me, “There has to be a way to create that same experience for readers like my young friend here, but in a shorter, easier format than all of these overwhelming, thick books!”
That’s where it all started! I never lost the passion for it all these years and I know this is one of the reasons God planted and pruned me on this earth.
Once I truly started believing in Jesus Christ and understanding who He is, I wanted to give my very best efforts to help others understand it. I’m a teacher at heart so my “special project” became helping others to understand and love Him as the God of all creation and our very best Friend in the world!
Who are your favorite authors?
I’m a big Victor Hugo fan. I think he’s a master on so many dimensions. I’m uplifted by his stories (for example, Les Miserables), but also the goodness in humankind that he seeks to highlight and awfulness of many behaviors and ways of thinking displayed too commonly in our societies.
On the spiritual side of things, I recently discovered James Emery White, author of Rise of the Nones and Generation Z. These are well-researched books that provide insight into the modern mindset and emerging cultural norms. As a Christian author, these are very valuable windows into my potential readers.
What are your favorite books?
Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)
Middlemarch (George Elliott)
I listened to masterfully produced audiobooks for each. Juliet Stevenson is a British actress who can change voices like nobody I’ve ever heard. Supreme entertainment. The prose is textbook beautiful and inspiring. And the story line is very interesting. Some call Middlemarch the greatest English novel of all time.
Who are your favorite literary characters?
I found Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brone) to be an interesting and admirable character. Her impetuosity, her longing for kindness for herself, and her sense of moral correctness compelled me to cheer her on throughout the story. It was beautifully crafted and touching. I just listened to that audiobook quite recently.
Is there anything you want to share with potential readers?
I’m a practical kind of guy. There’s nothing more practical and important, in my view, than gaining an understanding of things like the purpose of life and how to fulfill that purpose and be happy.
Some might consider these to be ridiculous, far-flung statements.
But to me, spiritual truth is learnable and discernable through the Word of God and His Holy Spirit, which enlightens our understanding about what matters most in this life. And if such teachings are true, what could be more important or more practical? Jesus taught the silliness of being wise in the physical world while being a mindless brute in the spiritual world.
Given my practical bent, therefore, I love writing and reading things that fill me with understanding and help others learn these important and yes, practical topics.
More foundational than any other spiritual topic, of course, is the life and teachings of Jesus Christ—He who was sent to be our Teacher and Example, as well as our Savior.
I chose to focus over 20 years of my life on an easy-to-read book about the life and teachings of Jesus for modern readers. I wanted this critical topic to be accessible and simple for all readers.
There is power in simplicity.
If there is anything brilliant about the book Jesus Christ, His Life and Mine, it is the simple approach and language that ultimately packs such a powerful punch that my readers are often saying it has motivated deep behavior change. It has planted their feet on the rock of Christ—some for the first time ever, despite being lifelong Christians.
There’s a difference between “knowing” and “spiritually comprehending and loving” something.
This book excels at helping readersdiscover the truly powerful blessings of the gospel that Jesus intended for us.
Where can we go to learn more about you and your literary works?
You can learn more athttp://hislifeandmine.com. There are a lot of critic reviews, reader reviews, media interviews and a description of our prison ministry, where we donate this easy to read book at no profit whatsoever to prisons and addiction recovery facilities.
I’m also very active on Facebook, at http://facebook.com/hislifeandmine.