Speaker 1 00:00:02 If you're gonna let the truth in, you have to be honest with who you're, you have to cry out. You have to own up. You have to own up to what you are not to become what you're who you're meant to be. It's a journey. It's not easy, but it's Raj Moav, it's courage.
Speaker 2 00:00:32 Hello and thanks for joining in. I'm Jana Harmon. In your listening to Spy stories, where we see how skeptics slip the record of their lives. Each podcast we listen to someone who has once been an atheist or skeptic, but it became a Christian against all odds. You can hear more of these stories on our side B Stories Facebook page. You can also email [email protected]
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Speaker 2 00:00:55 What you believe affects not only how you see the world, but how you see yourself and others. It affects your decisions on how you live. Our behaviors are not disconnected from our beliefs. In fact, our beliefs inform and substantiate and justify our behaviors. So when someone changes from one worldview of reality to another, we should expect that their lives and perspectives would significantly change. That should especially be the case. When someone moves from a world without God to a world created superintendent and loved by God, it changes everything. In today's story, former atheist Nigel Goodwin, was raised in a godless, Marxist humanist view of the world, of his world. It left him restless asking questions if this was true, if it was the best explanation for reality. And for his own life. As a classically trained British actor, he was steeped in the creative world. When he found God, he also found the grounding for his life in the arts. He found a palpable joy that radiates through his very being. He's here today to tell his story. I hope you'll come along to hear it. Welcome to Sibe stories. Nigel, it's so great to have you with me today.
Speaker 1 00:02:22 Thank you. It's a joy to be here with you. And, um, I do have a cup of tea in my hand because I'm English
Speaker 2 00:02:32 Of Of course, of course. It would not be proper without a proper cup of tea. Absolutely. So, as we're getting started, Nigel, why don't you introduce yourself to our listeners. Tell us a little bit about your passions, your history in terms of what did you do for the predominance of your life? What, what were your loved, your training in that regard? I know that they would love to hear about that.
Speaker 1 00:03:00 Well, hello people. This is Nigel, sometimes called niggle, not leaf by niggle, but Nigel, very English. Um, born in the Second World War. And, uh, in 1937, evacuated as a small child as we all were onto railway stations and platforms. Boys and girls, little boys and girls, who in many cases never saw their parents again. So after the war, my father sent me to, uh, boarding school, um, private school, boarding school. You know, we are two languages, two nations divided by a common language. So we exchanged words slightly differently. Uh, my father said There are five schools and one is by the sea. And I put my hand up and said, yes, please buy the sea. So I went off to boarding school and I was there from eight to 18. It was a wonderful school. It was, um, I'm, uh, enjoying myself running up and down the cliffs, swimming in the sea, having a lot of fun.
Speaker 1 00:04:12 The only time we saw our parents was when we came home in the long holidays, three months holiday. And I came back to London where they had moved back to, uh, after the War A and to London. I wanted, I suppose I, I like showing off as a kid, perhaps not so much as showing off as to what is my mark, what is our mark, what identity do we have and want to, we put out in the world? And for me, it was the arts. I love drawing. I love poetry. I love music. We had a piece of music every single day as children in the school chapel. And we listened to a piece of music, but my parents did not bring me up. Uh, the, their philosophy was, uh, Marxist and humanist. They were part of the brave new world crowd, Julian and Aldi Huxley.
Speaker 1 00:05:16 And, uh, although I had, I was passionate for justice, I was concerned. I didn't like to see anybody hurting anybody. I didn't like to see anybody hurting themselves or anything. And I've always had a strong feeling for, for justice and injustice to recognize that. But I had no sense of there being a God, there being, I had any value in relation to God. Um, it was humanism, really. I, I mean, the brave new world were determined that God was offstage. And Burton Russell, Malcolm Ridge and his youth, uh, the Hux and others, we are the center of everything. Man is, mankind is the center. God is offstage waiting for God. If he exists at all, we are on stage, we are gonna make the world. But of course, the war really blew the lid on that and showed us as it's showing us in the 21st century that, uh, humans aren't all getting on together.
Speaker 1 00:06:37 They're not, you know, some people are choosing injustice over justice and there's war in the human heart. There's conflict inside all of us. And how do we deal with that conflict after school? I went into the British Army. We all had to do compulsory, uh, national service. And uh, that was tough. It was tough for me cuz I like people. I genuinely like people. They may not like me, but I actually like them because I believe something about every human being today I do, that they may not believe about themselves. And I like people and I like them then. And so here we are sent off to Cyprus, where the jam between the two pieces of bread, the Greeks and the Turks. And we are supposed to be peacemakers. Making peace is hard work. It's hard work. And, uh, I learned a lot of lessons in the army.
Speaker 1 00:07:45 I do remember an army chaplain. He was a really decent human being. And, uh, I listened to him, but I didn't understand what really what he was talking about. That as Francis Shaffer used to say, God is there and he is not silent for me. He wasn't there. And he certainly was silent if he was, I came back, I went to the Royal, I did an audition, went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. And here I was now doing, making my mark, doing what I wanted to do and acting. And I loved the fourth wall. The audience, I still do, if anyone's listening out there, if anyone's looking out there, we all need an audience of one, just one person to hear us and really hear us. I mean, the question behind the question behind the question, hear us deeply. So there I am, I'm at drama school.
Speaker 1 00:08:49 I finish that. I go into the theater, I start working on television. I like theater more than television because I like the live audience. The feedback you feel from your audience. The fourth wall in television, you have to rely on the director. You have to trust one person to be putting together what he is putting together, the story that he or she is making. It's a different media to work in. But I enjoyed that too. And I did some film as well. And I love that my parents have been divorced in the war separated. My father came back one day, he did what he wanted to do is the sort of guy said, I can do what I want to do a woman's place in, in the home, huh? No longer, you know. But that's how, how he was, he came back, he found my mother in bed with a soldier.
Speaker 1 00:09:44 He, uh, he had gone to bed with all sorts of people, but not for my mother. He threw her out. He threw him out and he dressed us little boys in the morning and said, your mother has gone. You will never see her again. I'd made a den in the woods, a hiding place. I ran away, had a couple of boiled sweetss, and I hid there for the day. Thunderstorm came, it poured with rain. I thought I better go home. I went home. But that pain, that angst, and we all have angst at one sort or another at different levels, lived with me for a long time. What do we do with our pain? Mm-hmm. I didn't know what to do with my pain. Yes, I could exercise it in, uh, in the arts, in, in, in performing, in acting and that, but it didn't get rid, it didn't deal with that brokenness in my life. Mm. I have a sip of tea.
Speaker 2 00:10:51 Yes, yes. Okay. Wow. This is quite an introduction. You've given us a, a a bit of an overview of, of your life and your, your growing up into your young adulthood. I'm, I I, in listening to your story so far, sounds like you had a lot of things going on. Um, obviously the brokenness in your family that you just mentioned that brought about pain. You also had the separation of your parents and going away to boarding school. It sounds like that you had, I guess, touch points of Christianity because you spoke of a chapel somewhere in there. Um,
Speaker 1 00:11:31 Yeah, but it was like theater for me, you see?
Speaker 2 00:11:34 So, oh, it was like theater. What, what was that for you? I mean, when you, when you went into a chapel and they talked about God, you were from a, a frame of reference where there was no God, and then you're, you're in this place where they're talking about God. What did you, what, what did you make of that?
Speaker 1 00:11:52 Well, I didn't know that God was personal, relational. I had no idea that God had a name. G o d d o G. It was just a word really. Uh, people talked about God, but, uh, you know, he didn't seem real in people's lives. And I think we're all looking for a place of trust, a foundation, a place that makes sense, safe space and all that. So Chapel was a little like another place of, um, a performance place. Uh, people read, I heard music, people talk, people sang. But it was a kind of performance space, a bit like church, sit up, shut up and look up. Somebody is six feet above contradiction, uh, in front of you. But what is the, is there any meaning behind this? Is there anything tangible, authentic? Is there any solid ground of being? Is there anything I can really trust that will, I felt that a lot let down as a child growing up, as you said, with my family, sending me away with my mother going away, there was a lot of brokenness. So what can I trust?
Speaker 2 00:13:27 So as you were also, you know, exposed to Marxist, humanist ideas, whether they were coming from your, your family or perhaps, I don't know, your culture or even your school, were you personally embracing that kind of ideology? Is that, was that your lens through which you saw the world?
Speaker 1 00:13:49 Yes. I think I was. I mean, Marxist humanist ideas, they, it didn't seem to just be talking. There was some walking the talk as well. And that's important. Um, how are we living? And I had stirred up in me, um, a real concern for where people were hurting each other, hurting one another, putting people, uh, a real social concern. Uh, uh, for that. I started, for example, in my teens to get to know Bert and Russell. My first teacher during the war was Bert and Russell's second wife, Dora Russell. And she was teaching us German and she was teaching us Hindi. Hindi is a really interesting, and she was teaching us Hindi, but she was teaching us German.
Speaker 1 00:14:51 You know, I'm 5, 6, 7, 8 years of age. Why am I learning this? Well, because we're about to be invaded and taken over and it's, it will be important to know a bit of the language if we're going to try and communicate and survive, uh, uh, under the, under Hitler and the Nazim and everything. So, um, but there was, there was in Marx a concern, a for protest. So one day I'm in my middle teens and Berta Russell is taking a march from all the Maston, the nuclear, uh, power station to Trafalgar Square in London. It's quite a long march, 20 some miles or so. Um, Trafalgar Square is the home of protest. It's a huge square with the National Gallery in front of it, but it's where people came and stood on the plinth there under Nelson's column with the lions. It's, you can see the theater of it, feel the theater of it. And it's where people got up and shouted for some issue or another. But what happens when the protest is over, the, the curtain comes down, people dispel, disperse. And I thought, and the square comes back to traffic going around it. Is that it? Is that the end? Is that all there is? So it did stir up Jenna in me.
Speaker 1 00:16:26 Surely there's more, I want more, I want some end to the story of fulfillment to the story. I want. I, you know, if I'm gonna like the old Hollywood movies is wa too ch walking off into the sunset there. And they all ended happily ever after. But this isn't a happy ever after this is. Uh, and so I wasn't so, but it did start me asking bigger questions, really, really heavy questions. Well, who am I? Where do I fit in? Where do I belong?
Speaker 2 00:17:13 Yeah, those are very, very big questions. Common to us all in our own humanity. For those Nigel who don't really know, when we say the Marxist humanist view of reality, can you explain what that is and what that means and, and why that might not answer those big questions in a satisfactory way?
Speaker 1 00:17:41 You know, we are the center. Humanity is the center, the meaning of everything. There is no meaning beyond this moment. There is really no meaning. There is, you know, it, it's like the playwright, uh, waiting for God. O I mean, he uses the word God O but God isn't coming cuz he isn't there. He isn't coming on stage. And there are the two tramps, estragon and Vladimir sitting under the tree, the tree of life. But they're waiting. Um, and they both say, uh, okay, let's move. But there's nowhere to go. Okay, now, you know, let's go. And there are no exits and there are no entrances and there is no meaning. And I think that is the great creed occur wherever you go to any nation in the world today. If people don't know, if there is no knowing, then mental health is exploding everywhere.
Speaker 1 00:18:55 What's it all about? Who am I? Wh who am I? Why am I here? What's, what is my resonance? What is my purpose for being and living? And you know, uh, and people are exploding in their heads, in their hearts, in their person. They're crying. Uh, even if they're not showing it yet, they're feeling it deeply. There has to be more. There has to be more. There has to be more. So that's, that's the great cry. My mother separated from my father bringing up this little girl who was the cause of the divorce, who eventually became a missionary with Wickliffe Bible translators. I mean, that shows you out of the dust and the ashes come forth the fruit. And she, for 35 years, translating the scriptures into the Chino tech language in Mexico, me, uh, down there, I went to visit her, um, sh my mother in her own value and worth of herself.
Speaker 1 00:20:10 She felt that sh somehow she should send my sister to a Baptist church at the end of our road in, uh, the, her road in South London. And she did in her late teens. And my sister came back after a year of listening and said, it's not just for me, it's for you too to her mother. And her mother went in her fifties and for a year they listened to the scriptures, the Bible. And uh, they began to, began to understand that God had a name. Jesus. God was personal and relational. God wasn't distant, removed some kind of injection, fantasy of the imagination, whatever. They began to turn the pages over of their minds and, and, and understand the scriptures. And they began to pray for me. I'm working now in the British Theater. I'm working on a play with Derek Jacoby. And uh, I hear, I'm not seeing my mother.
Speaker 1 00:21:18 I didn't actually find her from the age of eight when my father said, you won't see her anymore till I was about 13 or 14 again. But I found her cause I was curious and I wanted to know who she was and where she was and all that. And I found them again. But now they're praying for me. I didn't like that. That kind of, why do I need prayer? And um, but you can never stop anybody praying for you. You can silence them in all sorts of ways, but if they've got breath, they can pray, they can talk to the God who is there about anything, about absolutely anything because he's infinite and the finite can talk about anything to the infinite. And they prayed for me for five years and I thought, she's got that old time religion, she's got the berg, you know, and everything <laugh>.
Speaker 1 00:22:08 And I, and I said, you know, I didn't wanna have anything to do with it cuz it was foreign. I didn't understand it. I didn't want know about. I'm enjoying myself in the theater. And one day my mom said, uh, would you like to come to a meeting? A meeting? I said, is it religious? She said, yeah. She said, well, you've got nothing to lose. I said, that's true. She's got, you said, you've got everything to gain. I said, I don't know. She said, well, you don't know if you don't go, if you just stand on the touchline of life, if you'll never play soccer or football or anything if unless you get involved, you know, you can argue from a distance till the cat comes home. You know, get it. So I thought, okay, I'll go, I'll give it a, I'll give it a uh, a chance or something.
Speaker 1 00:23:02 And I went anyway. I tried to listen. But there were some kids down, teenagers down the front. The man who was speaking was, didn't give God a name. He just talked about God. God didn't have a name. He wasn't personal. He wasn't on the wavelength of these kids, nor I, and probably most of the people sometimes we sit listening to a load of junk because we are being polite. You know, it's not communicating, it's not getting through. And um, I got up left. I thought I've had my injection. You know, that's, uh, that's it for religion. My mom said, would you like to come again on a Saturday? I said, what God, on a Saturday, you must be joking. He's a Sunday pill. Surely you don't get excited about God on a Saturday. I had no idea that people got excited about God on other days of the week than Sunday.
Speaker 1 00:24:00 And she's invited me up and she said, well, would you like to come out? And I, and I was looking for an excuse. I'm still rehearsing this play television piece. And uh, but I went, remember I needed some laundry doing and mom does laundry pretty well. So I took it along and I went have give it another whirl. This time the man was speaking about Jesus and he kind of bugged me cuz now God's personal relational, I could see that he meant everything to the person who was speaking to me. I see that he had a relationship with him and God would seem real. And he said, I looked for him afterwards, after he'd spoken. And I said, excuse me, you've been bugging me tonight. You know, I didn't know about the work of the Holy Spirit. I didn't know the God could bug us <laugh>.
Speaker 1 00:24:59 And uh, I, uh, and he said, I'll pray for you. I thought, my mom's praying for me. He wants to pray for me. Oh, if only we realize that prayer was direct axis with the Father in the name of the Son than the power of the Holy Spirit. It is better than any piece of technology like we are using now. Technology is a servant, not a master, sadly, is mastering too many people's lives with too much junk and too much information. But that's another story. So, uh, he said, Christ died for you. I said, well, I know my history. That's 2000 years ago. How is that relevant to me today? And he said he didn't stay dead. I thought, what? He didn't stay dead. This is weird. And I looked for an exit. I'm 25 years old now. I'm not a kid anymore. But I didn't like that idea that God was alive and well and talking and speaking in the 21st. Well, it was the 20th century that I said, and this is August the 20th, 1962.
Speaker 1 00:26:23 I went back to the TV studio, but I'm now curious. I'm asking questions and something in sales. Go, go and listen again. And these were three wee three week series of meetings. And I didn't know about that. But they were still on and there were children. I went up during the daytime. I wasn't rehearsing. And I heard little children, Jesus loves me. This I know for the Bible tells me. So how do they know that? Who told them that? Why do these kids know that? And I don't know that. And I'm more, more curious. I come back on the Friday, I sneak into one of the seats. I don't, I hope nobody can see me. I don't know that my mom and sister are there. And there's a man on the platform taking the scripture of Mark chapter 10 about, uh, you know, the blind man on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem. And Jesus is on the road up to Jerusalem. There's a crowd of people. There's a blind man. Jesus son of David have mercy on me.
Speaker 1 00:27:41 And Jesus hears us when we mean business with him. He is not deaf. He can hear even our little cries as well as our big cries. And he stops and he goes to Jesus. And he says to the blind man, what do you want me to do for you? And the blind man says, Lord, I want to see. So he believes that the man who he can't see standing in front of him can do something about his condition. And Jesus said, your faith has made you whole. A listener today may only have a grain, a flicker of light, of faith, but that faith can be turned into a room full of light. If we ask, if we ask. I got outta my seat and this man's in the middle of his sermon. I came up to the front. Everybody was there. I wasn't noticing anybody else. I was driven to go up there. And I went up to him.
Speaker 1 00:28:57 I reached up, I touched him on the arm. He said he stopped preaching. It was if grace went off his face. He looked quite cross actually. Cause I'd stopped him preaching. He said, what do you want? I said, I want to know that Jesus is relevant to me in the 20th century. He never preached another word. People got up and started to leave. He said, Nigel, ask him. I said, what do you mean? He said, talk to him. I didn't know how to pray. Do you look up there? Do you look down there? Where do you look? Doesn't matter where you look. I said, hello, God, I'm Nigel like, like the blind man.
Speaker 1 00:29:44 Of course he knew that he knows all about us, but we don't know until we introduce ourselves that he knows. And I got past what I call the weather for forecast prayers. And I started to weep down here in the, in the gut, in the viscera. There's 90% water in all of us. Jenna, what's it there for? It's there for a dry world. A dry land. It's there. Never stop people's tears. Tears are really important. And I sobbed and I sobbed and somebody showed me the scriptures could an arm around me and what Christ had done for me and told me that he could clear up the mess of my life. He could give me shalom, the fullness of peace. He could, uh, do everything. And if you invite him. And I did that night and it was like I was stripped naked and reclothed, I can only describe it like that.
Speaker 1 00:30:58 My mom and my sister are their prayers. Came outta the woodwork, came out there, took my arm and we danced across the open ground. And they gave me a Bible. And I went back into the TV studio the following day. My friend said, what are you reading? I said, the Bible. You what? I said The Bible as if I'd kind of got a disease. The world has a dis-ease. Like you bug me, man. Like what are you talking about Nigel? It's restless. And I said, I'm reading the Bible. And they, oh, like I something. But a disease is a lack of ease, a lack of peace, a restlessness. God likes our restlessness cuz it's only when we confess to being restless that we can find rest.
Speaker 2 00:31:54 Hmm. So there is a lot there. Um, you, as you were, I know you were entering into this sacred space where God was, where your mom was praying for you and calling you to come and see it sounds like come and see God who has a name named Jesus. And you were willing to come and to see. And it was compelling to you, the story of the gospel, the story of what Christ did for you. It seemed, it seems like that the story came together for you, that you could find the answer to those big questions. I would imagine that somehow it came together and made sense. I, I'm trying to think of those who are listening who were saying, but, but wait, you know, you had this kind of Marxist, humanist, godless perspective and then all of a sudden, you know, your, your mom's praying for you, your sister's praying for you.
Speaker 2 00:33:09 You go to church service and you believe. Can it be that simple? Weren't you thinking, how is this true? Um, I can understand why people might be skeptical, skeptical, thinking. Well he just wants it to be true. It sounds like a good story. I mean, o obviously we know that a change of heart is often it comes from God who allows us to see and to see him and and for our hearts to be changed. I love the way that you talk about, you know, being reclothed almost like things were brand new, that something palpable happened to you that was real. But I'm, again, listen, I'm thinking of the, the listener here, that there's, they're thinking to themselves, how did he make that switch? How did he move from one worldview to the other? Just like that. Um, what would you say to someone, uh, who was kind of looking back, listening go and is a little bit skeptical of, of your story in that way?
Speaker 1 00:34:17 Well, of course over the years I have met and loved many skeptics and cynics. And, uh, in a way it wasn't quick cause it was five years of praying for me. You know it when it happened, when the tsunami in my life happened, when the, uh, tornado dare I use that cuz they're all around us, um, happened when that dramatic thing happened, you know, I di god having a name. I began to understand. He didn't just appear, he appeared on my stage my life, but he'd been there for waiting. We have a free will waiting for me to, uh, see how hungry I was for him. What is our appetite? We can stand and criticize anything, but when you begin to understand the anything, the thing or you understand what's going on, you have to engage at some point. There has to be an engagement of, of the willingness, the ga the engagement of the mind, the engagement of the heart, the engagement of the whole person.
Speaker 1 00:35:52 There has to be a willing to cross the road. Yes, there are many diseases, many, much pain, much excuses, good excuses for not believing. Many things that get in the way, uh, uh, uh, and God is knocking at the door of our lives and saying, let those who have ears to hear, hear ears of doorways, eyes of windows. We can hear with them or we can open them a little bit and start to hear through them. God won. He won't rape us and beat us up and force them open. And there's a lot of wax in the way. There's a William Blake wonderful poet in the uh, uh, eight 19 18th century, 19th century. Said they only will believe the lie. Who see with and not through the eye, not through the eye, the window of the eye. There's a deeper seeing and a deeper hearing.
Speaker 1 00:37:16 And God wants us to see with the eye of our heart, our gut, our Hebrew belly. This is the birthing place down here. This is where music comes, poetry comes, dance comes song. This is where we are conceived and this is where we're born. And most of us in the west are brought up in the Greek rationale the head. But we are afraid of our emotions, our feelings and all that. They're not at war with each other. When the head and the heart are working from the viscera, the gut for the glory of God, watch out world. He wants the whole of us. There's always more. There's more seeing and more hearing. Our stories are huge. And so I'd been watching my mother observing my mother, hearing my father's voice even when he wasn't there thinking about these thought philosophies. But I began to become restless, uh, in I wasn't satisfied.
Speaker 1 00:38:35 I wasn't at peace with myself. Um, and I wanted to know more. You know, I don't think God enjoys our answers nearly so much as our questions. I think he is the God of que our curiosity. Keeping the child alive in you. Not becoming a boring adult. A big yawn. You know the question behind the question behind, what's that over the there? Who's that coming around the corner? What's under the rock? I'm an 85 80 going on 86 year old teenager. I want to know, I'd love to know my audience. I'd love to know who's listening out there. I'd love to know who's looking out there, who's asking questions. Cause our questions are what God loves to know. He can meet us in our questions where we are and take us to where we never dreamed We might go. No quick fix, no easy answer. But real answers to real questions. As Francis Shaffer used to say, true truth or Jesus said it before him. Truly, truly, I say unto you, I am the way. Not a way the truth. Not a truth. The life. Not a life. No one comes to papa to the Father except by me. Well, that's blasphemy. If it's not true, that's mad and bad if it's not true.
Speaker 1 00:40:31 But I've discovered that it's the truth and I'm hungry. I'm a child who's tasting the bread and the cakes and the wine and the I want more. I want more.
Speaker 2 00:40:47 I'd like to take a break to let you know about some additions we've been making to these side B stories episodes that give you more than one way to benefit from them. First of all, we've been recording these podcasts on video as well as audio. So if you're interested in seeing, as well as hearing these amazing stories of atheists and skeptic conversions, hop on over to our psy b stories YouTube channel. We have been posting the last few episodes in video and plan to continue doing that for all new episodes. As well as working our way backward through our Sabi stories catalog as well. Just go on over to YouTube and search for Sibi stories and you should find the stories and videos there. Secondly, for those of you who would like to read these Sibe conversion stories, we have also been transcribing each episode to make it easier to look back on their journeys in print.
Speaker 2 00:41:45 If you're interested in this, most of the episode transcripts, except for the most recent few, are now available on the CS Lewis Institute website. That's www.cslewisinstitute.org. Again, we are a podcast of the CS Lewis Institute and that's why this connection. So once you go to the CS Lewis website, look for resources, select podcasts, and there you'll find side be stories under each story, find and select where it says more info. And there you'll find the transcripts. We hope to have all of these up on our side be stories website soon as well. Now back to our story.
Speaker 2 00:42:34 So it sounds Yes, yes. I mean that is really quite glorious. It sounds like you moved from this state. I love what the way that you, you used the word disease ase, that you were restless, that you had this dis-ease. But yet when you came to Christ, it sounds like you have found that sense of shalom, that sense that the questions of who you are and why you're here, that those questions have been answered in a, in a really profound way that has, has informed the rest of your life. It sounds like you also mentioned Francis Schaeffer, and I know that's part of your journey, right? Uh, and, and you talk of, of combining rationality and the emotions and the will and all those things in a very holistic way. Um, when you went to go to Lere, which is where Francis Schaeffer was, talk to us a little bit about that experience and how that helped form, as it were your Christian worldview or your, your sense of, of your beliefs as compared to reality. And that there was a God who really is there, who is not silent. Um, that is, yeah. Yes. Talk to us through that.
Speaker 1 00:43:59 Yeah. Well, um, I'm working in theater and uh, I am in love with somebody or I think I am and we're two weeks before our wedding and she takes off the ring off her finger, puts it down in Hyde Park, a big park in the center of London, and walks off stage, walks off outta the park. She says, I can't marry you, will my parents divorce. Uh, with the theater that knows a lot about rejection. You are only as good as last night's production. The curtain won't rise if there isn't an audience on Monday, when it comes out on Saturday or whatever. And so there is a lot of uncertainty in the performing arts. You know, you've gotta savor the moment. Enjoy the moment. You none of us know. Tomorrow I run away, um, to Switzerland to some friends in Switzerland who had a Christian, had a Christian ministry.
Speaker 1 00:44:59 And um, I'm, I'm with them one day, um, halfway up Mont Blanc in French, Swiss Switzerland. And I'm drinking a hot chocolate chala show. And in walks this interesting couple in leader Hausen and, uh, looking like, uh, dwarfs or elves or something. And I, cuz I so enjoy people, whatever space I'm in, I I I usually disturb the cafe's comfort <laugh>. And I walked across, uh, and I took their hands and I introduced, I said, hello, I'm Nigel. And um, and they said, I'm Francis. And I'm Edith. And that was the Shafer's. And um, they invited me to Lere and uh, Shafer was walking the talk. He wasn't the perfect human being. He didn't have all the answers, but he had some real answers to some real questions. And he listened to the questions that impressed me hugely. When, when someone care, he believed that the people who came were the people God wanted to bring there.
Speaker 1 00:46:07 And he sat down, he ate with them, he talked with them, he wet with them, he laughed with them, he cried with them. He listened to their questions. And so his books began to come escape from reason because people in the sixties and today were escaping from reason cuz reason wasn't working. And they were turning to Timothy Leary and San Francisco or elsewhere to kind of try and make sense of the madness of their world. And isn't our world mad today? So many voices, but unreasonable voices. Not, not walking the talk. Voices. Voices that say, yeah, I know where it's at. But they clearly don't, from their own lifestyles know where it's at. To coin that phrase, we are all, we listeners are worth it. We've been beaten up. We don't believe what I'm saying because we've been beaten up. But you know, other people's insecurity does not have to be your clothes.
Speaker 1 00:47:24 The clothes that you wear, other people's pain does not have to be your pain. We do need to listen to it. Jesus tells these stories, doesn't he? The church comes by and he walks by on the other side. Jesus comes, the Samaritan comes by, stops and looks. There is need. There is so much need, so much brokenness. Can we engage it? Can we use our tears? Can we weep it over it? Can we pick up the brokenness, put him on a horse, take him to an end, pay the bill care. You know, it's, uh, not just the few, all of us need to care the moment we get out of bed. There is need in the home, in the street, in the town, in the city.
Speaker 2 00:48:21 Yes. Yes. And I'm, you know, I am thinking about those skeptics who might be listening and you know, there are so many reasons why someone might be rejecting this personal God who is love incarnate, but they in their own lives, you know, haven't felt that they haven't seen that they're rejecting someone that they don't know that they haven't experienced.
Speaker 1 00:48:51 Right.
Speaker 2 00:48:52 Maybe even haven't seen, like you've referred earlier, referred to earlier in the lives of people who do, do confess to be Christian, but there's still a restlessness disease, a desire for more. And if someone was listening to you and they were willing to take that small step towards God, uh, in some way, uh, what would you or how would you recommend them do that? Uh, I know you mentioned for yourself, it seemed like it came in the form of a prayer. Um, yes. But, but you know, like you say, everyone is different. But generally speaking, what can someone do if they're looking for the God, the personal God that you have found?
Speaker 1 00:49:46 Yeah. Why are we different? Why are we not the same as everyone else? How did that come about? Did uh, somebody somehow pick up the clay and say, oh, I like that part. We'll have 10 more. Exactly the same. No, we are, scripture teaches us some of the answers to your quest. There is a book which is full of knowledge called the Bible. And, uh, it was only when I went back to the television studios to carry on rehearsing for this play, but had been given the Bible, the words after my eyes were starting to open the previous night, the words began to leap off the page. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We're awesome, we're loved. So you know, everybody, however broken when they make their mark declare show reveal something about themselves. And so when somebody comes with a, an intellectual fist, if you, if it takes a month or a year to get that bit of light, to open the fist to, to from freedom into freedom, into safe space, into being a being place time.
Speaker 1 00:51:37 How do we use time? That's hugely important. You know, as I speak, some of you haven't got long, some of you have longer, I don't know, you know, your situation. But it doesn't take a thousand years to know something. It takes honesty and truth. If you're gonna let the truth in, you have to be honest with who you are. You have to cry out. You have to own up. You have to own up to what you are not to become what you are who you're meant to be. It's a journey. It's not easy, but it's koraj av. It's courage. And we need someone to hold our hand. We need somebody to come. If that's not a weakness, that's a strength. Confession is a strength. Owning up is a strength, not a weakness. The world tells us it's weak to weep. That's a lie. It's strong to weep. Whether it's, we can all criticize what we hear through the media and all these things. It's easy to criticize, but are they telling us the truth or lies?
Speaker 2 00:53:21 Yeah. That is, that is the penultimate question, I think is finding the truth and being willing to submit to that once we find it. The the last question I would I'd like to ask is, you have me, a few significant people in your life who were following Christ, who knew that God was real and rational. Um, and that he informs all of reality, including your life. And I wonder, there's so many things that you've spoken about, how we as Christians can be light, um, can be presence of God, can be prayer, prayers, um, can offer prayers for others, um, to be there when someone is weeping. There's just so many things that we can do as Christians, I think, to help those who don't believe see Christ perhaps in a way that, that they would become more willing.
Speaker 1 00:54:32 Yeah. Um,
Speaker 2 00:54:32 To believe. How would you, what advice would you give to us as, um, Christians who really want to engage with those who, who don't believe?
Speaker 1 00:54:45 What advice would I give to myself first? Uh, you know, it's easy to point the finger and forget there are three coming back at you. Physician heal myself. I can't share wellness if I'm not well in that area. I can't give what I haven't first received. Um, I need to know that we are candles in the darkness. If we're in Christ, Christ is in you. If you've invited him in. And Plato said, you only need a candle to find the exit to the cave. Now, a lot of people out there actually don't know yet that they're in a cave. So don't beat 'em up. Don't rush at them. Don't be in a hurry. Don't give them starving person a banquet. Give them a little bit. Teach them how to fish. Teach them how to find bread. Teach them, build it up. God is making a banquet.
Speaker 1 00:56:04 He is the big picture as well as the detail. And so it, he's not in a hurry. We wish he were come Lord Jesus. Come Lord Jesus. We wish he were. We see the mess. But he's working. We're sometimes not aware of where he's working. He's working through love. The gift of love What CS Lewis said, stge, philio, stge friendship, philio brotherly sisterly ero, physical good, healthy physical relationships and uh, agape, unconditional for loves. He is working with the gift of love. Love is not sloppy, sentimental, wishy-washy, lovey-dovey. Love is tough love. It's calvary love the theater of calvary. Love is down and out. He's working with you. You are his love for the broken world. So he's working with, he comes to where we are and takes us to where we never dreamed. We might go, wow, there's li, there's yuck, there's yuck, there's stuff that you don't want to do.
Speaker 1 00:57:30 And sometimes you have to go through the valley of yuck, the disappointments. We don't choose disappointment. We don't choose brokenness. But God takes it us through the valley of yuck to the mountain of wow. The mountain of wow. And that's what he wants for each one of us. You are his wow, his wow, his color, his shape, his design, his purpose, his child. Keep the child alive in you. Be curious. He loves our questions much more than our opinions, our answers. He loves to know how curious we are. Are you genuinely, dear listener, are you really listening? With and through the doorway of the ear, the window of the eye into the heart. He is mending, broken hearts. Now at this moment, he's mending my heart. If by sharing something with you, you become more of who you were intended to be. That makes sense to me. If you are not listening, I will cry. But I'll move on to the next person who is listening. Listen. Well,
Speaker 2 00:59:13 Nigel, I'm almost breathless at just trying to comprehend and keep up with so much wisdom that you've given us. It seems that your 85 years have been rich and full and just full of life and art and depth and meaning and purpose. Yours is a, is a life that is truly extraordinary. It seems that you have spent your time really well and we are sitting at your feet just absorbing the riches that are coming out of your mouth. And I am just, I'm just so honored and privileged to really have your story. What a, what a transformed life from Marx's humanist godlessness and searching to a life that is completely full to overflowing. It's very, very obvious to anyone who listens to you that Christ is your life. And that you had given your life to the one who loves you personally, um, and who loves you extravagantly. And that you want others to know that. And so I just want to thank you so very much for the time and for the wisdom and really for the love that's being poured out upon all of us through you. Thank you for coming on to tell your story today.
Speaker 1 01:00:58 Thank you, Jana. Can I say Jana? Well thank you for inviting me. Cause you can't speak where you're not invited. But if you are invited, there's a door, there's an invi invitation to, uh, to deeper levels of hearing and knowing and understanding. Um, my focus today is with whoever is in front of me. But specifically it's especially it's with the creatives, those who are particularly called to, uh, put color on the shadows of life and, uh, celebrate that color. So I want to say to the artist, we do it because God made an incredible cosmos, an incredible world. And if we know nothing about him other than Genesis one, we know that he doesn't make mistakes with any one of us listening. But at just two or three verses in, we have a responsibility to the great artist to make the world ourselves. And he says, we are called to, uh, take care of the planet, the cosmos.
Speaker 1 01:02:39 We are care takers. Care is a beautiful word, but it's of the verb to take care of the planet till the hard ground. If you want fruit, make it make sense for you, your neighbor, your family, your friends. We're not doing a very good job of caretaking. We're waking up rather late. Now. You can cry in despair or you can start taking care of your family, your home, your friends, your town, your village, your why shouldn't you be in a position of authority over it's servant leadership. Not groveling, but serving, serving. If that is your gift, bring your gift to the table because the table is richer for your presence and poorer for your absence. Don't start arguing on the touchline of life. Get involved. Get involved. Take a step, hold someone's hand, cross the street. Live a wild, wonderful, holistic, beautiful, peaceful, loving, dynamic life.
Speaker 2 01:04:21 Mm. That's a word for all of us Creatives are not <laugh>. Uh, that's beautiful. Yeah. Beautiful. Nigel. Absolutely. Thank you again. Thank you so much again for, for coming on. We so appreciate your time and your wisdom.
Speaker 1 01:04:37 Thank you very much.
Speaker 3 01:04:40 Thanks for tuning into spy stories. To hear Nigel Goodwin's story. For decades, Nigel has had a ministry of encouragement and evangelism to the people and the arts. Although he has officially retired, he continues to use his gifts and experience to bring the light of Christ to those around him. He and his wife Jill, rely on financial support from people who are touched by his story or his ministry. If you would like to reach out to him, you can email him at Nigel and [email protected]
. That's n I g E L A N d g i l l I e gmail.com. For questions and feedback about this episode, you can contact me through our email at info side beast stories.com. This podcast is produced through the CS Lewis Institute with our wonderful producer Ashley Decker and audio engineer Mark Marra. You can also see these podcasts in video form on our YouTube channel through the excellent work of our video editor Kyle Polk. If you enjoyed it, I hope you'll follow rate, review and share this podcast with your friends and social network. In the meantime, I'll be looking forward to seeing you next time where we'll see how another skeptic flips the record of their life.