Jon R. Roebuck is the executive director of The Reverend Charlie Curb Center for Faith Leadership at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of four books published by Nurturing Faith Books: Morning Conversations on the Creation of a People and Place, Morning Conversations, Creating Space and Christmas: Then and Now.

1. What story, verse or passage from your faith tradition’s sacred texts has significantly influenced / shaped your life?

The story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) has always been my favorite text.

Life offers all of us many opportunities to respond with grace or guilt towards those who have betrayed us, disobeyed us or disappointed us. As I look deeply into the heart of the father, I see an image of God who loves us beyond our mistakes, our poor choices and our wayward hearts.

When knowing that I am the recipient of such grace, how can I respond any differently to others who have stumbled or lost their way? I hope that grace allows me to rejoice with others on their best day and not condemn them for their worst moment. Always choose grace.

2. Who are three people (other than your family) who have shaped your life and worldview? And why?

Stan Campbell. Stan has been my best friend for the past 40 years. His character, consistency and compassion have made my life better.

Rabbi Mark Schiftan. Mark offers me perspective, insight and friendship from a very different faith tradition.

Barack Obama. President Obama’s empathy, wisdom, authenticity and honesty continue to inspire many to a more noble view of our nation’s character.

3. List three of your “desert island” books, movies or TV shows.

Tattoos On the Heart by Gregory Boyle; Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton; All Over But the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg.

4. What is one of the most critical issues people are facing today?

Loneliness. We are created for community. When isolated by distance, emotion or illness, we are diminished.

5. What are a few of your hobbies?

College football, biking and writing.

6. If you could freeze your life into an already-lived 10 seconds, what would they be?

The greatest days always involve family. In those rare moments when I am surrounded by all my children and grandchildren … those are the best of days.

7. Our tagline at Good Faith Media is, “There’s more to tell.” What’s your “more to tell”?

I’ve been working on a few thoughts about those miraculous stories you sometimes hear when the right person just happens to be at the right place at just the right moment.

Many chalk-up such occurrences as mere coincidence. But I firmly believe that God arranges people, place and circumstance to his glory. I believe that all of our life stories are being carefully written into his greater narrative. There is more intentionality to the moments of our lives than we might imagine. I might just write a book about that one day.

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