One thing I couldn’t seem to integrate into the book very much because it always appeared a bit off topic, but is certainly related to the whole, was the role of the local Church and active ministry in a local church in doing things right in matters of the heart. The book is aimed at individuals (since that is the nature of a book). But the truth is the local church plays a vital role in proclaiming a vision for mature manhood and womanhood and providing a healthy setting for matches to occur. My pastor, Dr. Gordon Hugenburger at Park Street Church in Boston gets silly with delight when he sees Christians meet along the pathways of worship and service, get to know one another in that context, and then come to him with wedding plans. And so do I.
We couldn’t help but notice the liberal sprinkling of Shakespeare references throughout your book. Can you tell us how you became a fan and if you have a favorite play? [I just had to sneak this question in!—Nicole]
When I was a skulking cynical senior in High School, I somehow landed in a class with a dowdy old school-marm who had the audacity to think that my friends and I could actually understand and like Shakespeare. She made us read Macbeth, then Hamlet, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet. Half-way through Hamlet, and I was totally enamored. I remain so. When my kids were in their teens we watched Kenneth Branagh’s films of Shakespeare’s plays and went to Shakespeare in the Park in Boston. When I sat down to write a book on love, I kept thinking of Shakespeare scenes and quotes that illustrated the theological truths I was developing. I decided that he should be our expert witness; and help us see that not only are the doctrines true, but have long been true and are delightfully true. As for favorite, it depends on my mood. I really like Much Ado About Nothing and Taming of the Shrew. They force all the inner tensions between men and women to the surface and yet, “all’s well that ends well.”
We especially enjoyed the personal stories you included in the book about you and your wife. Can you tell us one thing you most appreciate about your wife, Kristen?
After 29 years of enduring me and my chosen path of ministry, which has been most unconventional and risky, (at one point I gave my salary away, another time, went to jail, and last year took up an initiative in Miami that required me to commute from Boston every other week or so) what I most appreciate is that she is still there when I get home!
Indeed she is faithfulness incarnate. I think what I appreciate about her the most has been her commitment to make our home and family the counter-balance to my work: a place of refuge and laughter, peace, order, and a good cup coffee.
Finally, can you tell us briefly about the work you do with Heartbeat International?
I wrote a brief book entitled Answering the Call (Focus on the Family) that explains the biblical foundations, historical precedence and practical implications for Christians to visibly cherish and defend innocent human life. At www.heartbeatofmiami.org you may read how I am attempting to live out that message. You may see how my role as Executive Director of Urban Initiatives fits into the larger work by visiting www.heartbeatinternational.org.
For a more in-depth conversation about John Ensor’s work with crisis pregnancy centers, we want to encourage our readers to check out his interview with Justin Taylor.
Mr. Ensor, thank you so much for writing this immensely helpful and delightful-to-read book! May God bless you and your family and may your work with Heartbeat International save many children who will grow to know and love the Savior, and rejoice in the compelling vision of biblical manhood and womanhood.