Who shaped your spiritual life?
In this first episode of season two of Let’s Talk, Jasmine Holmes, Jackie Hill Perry, and Melissa Kruger consider the men and women, both living and dead, who have been their spiritual role models. They talk about historical figures as well as people they have known personally. They discuss how to grapple with the flaws of our heroes, and why we might overlook some sins but not others.
Melissa notes that when we look at the “cloud of witnesses” who have withstood hardship, it helps us say, by the Spirit, “I can withstand, too.”
Books mentioned in this episode:
- The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
- Becoming Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughan
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X
- Favorite Books: What’s Your Favorite Christian Biography?
- When Our Heroes Don’t Live Up to Their Theology
- How John Piper Processes the Moral Failings of His Historical Heroes
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Jackie Hill Perry: Welcome to season two of Let’s Talk, a podcast for women from the Gospel Coalition Podcast Network. My name is Jackie Hill Perry, and I am here with my friends who are also saints, Jasmine Holmes and Melissa Kruger, to talk about how to apply biblical wisdom to everyday life. This season, we’re going to be talking about people-pleasing, the holiness of God, my goodness, fighting fear and anxiety, and a whole bunch of other topics. Before we start today’s topic, however, I’m going to let you each introduce yourselves. So Melissa, tell us about you.
Melissa Kruger: My name is Melissa and I’m married to Mike. We have three kids, Emma, John, and Kate who range in age from 14 to 20. I graduated one teenager, got two teenagers, and a college student. And I work for the Gospel Coalition in women’s initiatives.
Jackie Hill Perry: Fancy.
Melissa Kruger: That’s me
Jackie Hill Perry: Awesome. What about you, Jasmine?
Jasmine Holmes: I am Jasmine. I’m married to Philip. We have two boys, Walter Wynn, and Ezra Langston. They are four and almost two. I am a writer and a teacher and an all around busy person.
Jackie Hill Perry: Sounds fun. My name is Jackie, as I’ve already said. Last name Hill Perry, without the hyphen. I am married to a guy named Preston from Chicago. We have two children, Eden who is five, Autumn who is two, and another baby who should be here in three weeks. So yeah, I’m doing this very, very, very pregnant. I would love to go into labor at any point during this podcast.
Melissa Kruger: Take it to the hospital.
Jackie Hill Perry: I mean, that would be-
Jasmine Holmes: We can help you breathe.
Jackie Hill Perry: That would be amazing to just go in now. Any who, Jasmine, what are we going to talk about today?
Jasmine Holmes: Today we are going to be talking about our own spiritual heroes. I am really excited about this topic because I love to talk about spiritual heroes. I think ever since I was a little girl. I read The Hiding Place when I was 11 and Corrie ten Boom became my all time spiritual hero, which is common.
Jackie Hill Perry: So how would you define spiritual hero? Like a person who helped you spiritually?
Jasmine Holmes: So the way that I related to Corrie in particular was her personality resonated with me, which then made her acts of spiritual … Her life as a spiritual giant felt more accessible to me because her life story and personality resonated with me. So somebody who has done amazing things for Christ, somebody who has led an exemplary life, but I think also somebody who you relate to in some kind of way as well.
Jasmine Holmes: Just the fact that she did all of these … And for anybody who doesn’t know who Corrie ten Boom is, woman from the Netherlands during World War II, ended up hiding Jewish people in her home and being sent to first prison for a long-term then to a concentration camp with her sister, Betsy. Ended up getting out, living a long fruitful life of ministry, died on her birthday in our eighties. Never got married, never had kids.
Jasmine Holmes: I love her story and I loved her because I related to just the constant grappling that she did with faith. Her sister, Betsy was the “more faithful one.” The one who was thanking God for fleas in Auschwitz because the fleets let them … The guards were afraid to come into the barracks because they were so dirty. So then the women were able to like worship God and do Bible study. So Betsy was like, “Thank God for these fleas,” and Corrie was more like, “I just hate the fleas.” So I related a lot more to her in the story and just ended up reading a lot of her books, a lot of her things. Couldn’t get enough of her and she really inspired me in my own walk from a really young age. So first question is who is someone from history who inspires you guys?
Melissa Kruger: I had just read a new biography called Becoming Elizabeth Elliott. I have to say she was the first Christian biography I ever read was through the Gates of Splendor. I don’t think personality wise she and I would be alike. But what I really respect about her is just her willingness to look at life, not for self-fulfillment, but almost for self-death and she lived it. I think she’s a much more direct person than I would ever be, but I like direct people even though I’m not always one of them. But I respect them. She tells it like it is, she comes at you, she’ll say it. And whether you agree with her or you don’t, at least you know where she stands.
Melissa Kruger: She wrote a lot about womanhood, but she was a really tough woman. I mean, she went into the jungle after her husband had been killed and she shared the gospel with the exact people who had killed her husband. I mean, that’s so brave. She took her two-year-old daughter into this tribe, who is known for being a pretty murderous tribe, for the sake of the gospel. I’m like, “Wow.” It’s kind of that.
Melissa Kruger: But yet at the same time, what I loved about this biography is it really brought out the real side of her, the angsty side of her, the things she was struggling with. I like portrayals of heroes where they’re really human. And I love that about Corrie ten Boom too. She told her weaknesses. I find that encouraging in the sense of God can use me in spite of my weaknesses too. So the fact that we’re all mixed bags rather than no one here is perfect.
Melissa Kruger: But what I also love about heroes, I can look back and say, she ran the race. She finished it well and she went through a lot of different struggles. Elizabeth Elliot didn’t just lose her first husband, she lost her second husband. And then she stayed married to her third husband, but then she suffered from dementia later in life. You see a whole life and you say, “Okay, the goal is not to do these amazing things for God, but just to live faithfully.” I love that.
Melissa Kruger: Corrie ten Boom, she would have just been a watchmaker in Holland. Yes. I was like Amsterdam somewhere. She would have just been a watchmaker. But when life came to a head, she made the fateful choice to as Daniel said, “Display strength and take action.” She made the godly choice in the life circumstances that were given to her. It wasn’t something she chased, but when life happened, she rose because of what God was doing in her to help people. I just love that.
Jackie Hill Perry: I was thinking why y’all were talking, because a lot of the people that I consider to be a hero are people I know and I’ve been able to like observe their life up close. But the main person that keeps coming to mind, honestly, is Martin Luther King. I wouldn’t have said that a decade ago. I’ve said it as I’ve began to investigate him outside of what school taught me and reading his books, reading beyond the “I have a dream” speech and paying attention to the things he said and seeing how much his faith and what he knew about God and the scriptures fueled his zeal of justice and alleviating oppression as much as he could. If you imagine this dude’s life, he was under immense stress at all times, but he just kept moving because he knew it was the right thing to do.
Jackie Hill Perry: But he was also brilliant. The dude was smart. He got a PhD in his twenties. How can that not be heroic? So I just even think when you read his stuff and listen to him speak, you hear someone who is highly, highly educated, but also humble enough to work for the least of these.
Jasmine Holmes: I think that also brings up a really good point that representation matters with heroes. Growing up, my heroes were all white evangelical women. I read Elizabeth Elliot, love Corrie ten Boom, Mary Slessor, another missionary, Amy Carmichael, another missionary. All of the names that I knew were names of white women who had done incredible things for God. In that, I kind of grew up thinking that as a black woman who loved God, I was an exception to the rule. Only now as an adult, have I been able to really seek out and find heroes who look like me. Heroes who show me that God has been working in the lives of people, of every ethnicity, every tribe, tongue, nation, across time for millennia, just some of their stories have been lost.
Melissa Kruger: I think that’s, what’s going to be so wonderful about heaven. There are so many stories we haven’t heard and we’ll be recounting. Let me tell you what was happening here that you didn’t know what’s happening. And actually that’s why I’m excited. Are you willing to share a little bit about what you’re working on?
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah. I’m working on a book about black women in Christian history, whose names I did not know before I started researching them and who I’m really excited to introduce to other people. It’s been interesting work because the things about these women are not super accessible. A lot of times people would be like, “Can you just give me like an Amazon list,” or “Can’t you just …” And I’m like, “No, because it’s going to be an $85 rare book or $250 rare book, or it’s going to be read a dissertation and then find something in the footnotes and then go hunt that down somewhere else. It’s been a treasure hunt for sure, because these stories have not been told on a popular level. I think a lot of academics know the names of these women, and that’s great and academics are awesome and I’m grateful for them. But bringing them to a more popular level is something that I’m really excited about.
Melissa Kruger: I’m excited to.
Jasmine Holmes: I mean, I love reading stories and learning from people’s lives. And I find more and more, especially … I mean, the reality for all of us as women is stories are less told. I mean it’s just the reality. All the presidents are men, so everybody does a biography about a president. I mean it just happens. It’s not like anyone is necessarily even doing anything malicious. It’s just hard sometimes to find people who look like you or whatever, especially in different contexts.
Jasmine Holmes: I’ve never read a history about black women.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yep. And I’m thinking that might be why I’m lost for words, even when it comes to having spiritual heroes, just because there aren’t many that I know about, or even knew about whose life looked like mine for me to say, “Oh, I want to be like that.”
Jackie Hill Perry: That isn’t to say that someone has to look like me and be like me and act like me to inspire me, because obviously I have a ton of inspiration from different places. Yet at the same time, there is a different kind of motivation you receive when you can read a book with someone that sounds like your grandma and say, “Man, I want to be like that when I grow up.” So I think what Jasmine is creating obviously will be very helpful for the same.
Jasmine Holmes: Ain’t no hopefully. It will.
Melissa Kruger: We need them. I mean, I think there can be in our generation a little bit of a “There’s no heroes out there. Everybody’s equal. Everybody’s just messed up,” or whatever. But I need to be spurred on. I think of Hebrews 11 when there’s this cloud of witnesses cheering us on in the race. There’s something for me looking to what someone else has withstood to say, “I can withstand too.” We all need, we need them in this day and age.
Jackie Hill Perry: The scriptures are full of narratives and stories of people who have gone through all types of craziness and still love Jesus despite that helps us to endure. Even Jesus. Jesus is a spiritual hero. He’s our God. He’s our savior. He’s our Lord, but He’s also a hero.
Jasmine Holmes: How do you guys define hero? Because Jackie, I’m always thinking for the devil’s advocate listeners who are going to be like, “MLK. Really?”
Jackie Hill Perry: No. When I said it I was like, “Somebody tuned out of this podcast already.” Unsubscribing now.
Jasmine Holmes: Yep, yep. It’s like, “Don’t you know XYZ about his life?” Even Elizabeth Elliot. I read some things about Elizabeth Elliot, [inaudible] where people were like, “Actually they’re not heroes because XYZ, ABC.” How do we respond to people who say your hero can’t be “insert person” because whatever sin disqualifies them.
Jackie Hill Perry: This is complicated. And it’s complicated because yes, you have someone like Martin Luther King who made statements about the Trinity and God while in school that are problematic. You have the reality that he was a man who stepped out on his wife. You do have those realities. And part of me does want to say, “All of our heroes are broken,” which is true. Yet at the same time, I’m equally triggered when someone highlights and exalts a Jonathan Edwards, whose past is full of slavery. Or he had slaves, right?
Jasmine Holmes: He had one.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. He had a slave and then he had like a bill of sale on the back of a sermon outline. So there’s this tension where it’s like, “Yeah, heroes really are broken.” Is there a standard or is there a line to draw in the sand for what should make one hero worth following and another hero worth denying?
Jackie Hill Perry: Does that make sense?
Jasmine Holmes: Sometimes you do learn about things that discount the person’s contribution. Yeah. So I think about George Whitfield. We look into the second grade awakening and we’re like, “Man, George, dude. There’s actually some real evangelical baggage that you brought into the Second Great awakening. It wasn’t just about people being saved. And also you made petition to make Georgia a slave state when it wasn’t a slave state before.”
Jasmine Holmes: I think there’s two different ways. There’s the one where it’s, “Man, I learned this thing about this person that doesn’t directly impact the contribution that I was grateful for. And so I can still be grateful for that contribution.” Or you learn things that do impact the contribution that you thought that you were grateful for [inaudible] to grapple with. Because even looking into these women that I’ve been looking into, like they are amazing. And then they’ll say something that’s just … You’re like, “Okay, I see that the society’s thoughts about black people impacted you, even though you’re a black person. That’s crazy.” Or you’ll look into somebody’s life and you’ll see unfaithfulness, or you’ll look deeper into somebody’s life and you’ll see unkindness. So it is. It’s one of those-
Jackie Hill Perry: It’s hard.
Melissa Kruger: And I also wonder, what am I completely being shaped by my culture that I’m totally blind to? We’ll all look back and there’ll be like, “Oh, they watched reality TV. Can you believe that they watch …” or whatever it might be. I don’t know.
Melissa Kruger: I think there are certain, when I look back in history, people just accepted certain things that wouldn’t be acceptable today. And it’s hard to even know how to interpret some of those things. But my greater fears is, what am I completely blind to today? I just wonder what is culturally so blinding to me that I’m living in a sinful way? That I’m so seeped in my culture, I don’t even know how sinful it is because we just accept it.
Jackie Hill Perry: Which to me adds another level of complication, because I can accept you as a hero if there’s evidence of repentance or evidence of change in thought. I think even when you read Martin Luther King, you see there was a change in thought patterns. Jonathan Edwards, Hmm.
Jasmine Holmes: I mean David, right? He [inaudible] Bathsheba.
Jackie Hill Perry: Hot mess.
Jasmine Holmes: But he came back and he was like, “Lord against you and you only at my …” He understood.
Jackie Hill Perry: Moses, Peter, everybody.
Jasmine Holmes: Melissa, could you turn to Hebrews? What is it? 11 [inaudible 00:16:16]. I’m trying to think of some of the names that are mentioned here.
Melissa Kruger: Rehab’s in there.
Jasmine Holmes: There’s a mess.
Melissa Kruger: Noah’s in there and he was-
Jasmine Holmes: A drunkard.
Melissa Kruger: Abraham.
Jasmine Holmes: Gave his wife to the King, twice. I’m like, “Abe, really? Two times?
Jackie Hill Perry: Father Abraham.
Jasmine Holmes: I’ve been reading the Bible through this year and I’m just seeing all this stuff jump out, and I’m like, “Abe, why aren’t we doing this?” And then it talks about Sarah and the way that she treated Hagar was awful because it was her idea. And then she was mean towards her later. Then Moses killed a man.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yes he did.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah. There’s just … I’m just looking at these names. Rahab’s in here. Jacob, Esau, Isaac.
Melissa Kruger: Jacob.
Jasmine Holmes: Jacob. Playing is brother. Tricked his blind dad into giving him a … I mean, that’s just cold blooded.
Jackie Hill Perry: And they’re called the Hall of Fame of Faith.
Jasmine Holmes: And it’s interesting the way that Hebrews paints them because Hebrew doesn’t mention any of that stuff. It’s just like, these are the things that you did that were faithful. These are the things that have stood. The stuff that melted away is dross. That’s not here. What’s here is the gold, the stuff that remained the stuff that can be attributed only to the presence of the spirit in your life and not to you, is the stuff that’s left over.
Melissa Kruger: And that’s such a hopeful picture of heaven. That’s what we’ll be telling each other. The gold and the other will be washed fully.
Melissa Kruger: And even if you think about first Corinthians where it talks about those stories have been included so we wouldn’t set our hearts on evil as they did. And that’s when it says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.”
Melissa Kruger: But I do think it’s helpful even to look at are our heroes, so to speak, and learn from their failings and say, “I don’t want to be like that.” There’s a good lesson. And even Paul said, “Follow me as much as I’m following Christ,” or something. That’s my paraphrase. I think it’s there somewhere. But there’s this sense, I think with all of our heroes, we follow them as they’re following Christ. But when we see them stepping outside of that, we don’t say, I don’t justify, “Well, so-and-so thinks this is okay, so therefore I think it’s okay.”
Melissa Kruger: eI do think a lot of these people that I call my heroes, it is their faith. I’m looking at their faith and what it propels them to do in a world, and that I can seek to emulate, like following God, clinging to him. But I think with all of them, we’re going to have to say, there are parts of their life we want to be warned by.
Jasmine Holmes: A hero is not a person who we’re giving a wholesale stamp of approval to. I love this person because everything that they did was right and amazing and wonderful. I remember, since you added yourself with MLK, Jackie, I will go one step further.
Jasmine Holmes: I have a Malcolm X poster in my office. And I had a friend who was like, “Uh, why do you have that heathen man hanging up in your office.” But I was just explaining to my friend, the reasons why I enjoy the autobiography of Malcolm X. He’s not a spiritual hero at all because we don’t even have the same religion. But that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t appreciate his thoughts, couldn’t appreciate his integrity in certain areas, couldn’t appreciate things about him.”
Jasmine Holmes: So do you feel sometimes as believers, we get a little bit too caught up in wanting to have perfect pristine heroes, but on our own terms? So it is okay for one believer to like Thomas Jefferson, because he was a really great thinker and he was a wordsmith and he was just a fascinating man who had an incredibly interesting life. It’s okay for them to overlook certain things about him like Sally Hemings or his other slaves. But then it’s not okay for another Christian to like MLK because of the inconsistency in his life.
Jasmine Holmes: So I do think that we tend to pick and choose the things that we accept from heroes based on what we’re most comfortable with and sins that we’re able to look over a little bit more easily. But that’s just a theory that I’m working on.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s a great theory. I think it’s a right one.
Jasmine Holmes: But there’s more than heroes from history. What are some heroes that you guys have? Or who are some heroes that you guys have who you actually know in person, someone in your life or in your past, who has been a hero to you?
Melissa Kruger: And I would say, has been a hero in my own life was actually someone I met in high school. She was a teacher at public school. She ran an FCA at my high school and that’s really how I heard the gospel. But now what I’ll say is she’s still doing, she still works in public school. One reason I consider her such a hero is because she is doing things in the public school that I think is really changing lives in tremendous ways. No one would know her. She’s not famous. She’s not Christian famous, but she’s faithful. I think that’s what I look at her life. She runs this whole program for kids, many of whom have no one in their family who’s ever gone to college.
Melissa Kruger: A lot of these kids … So they’re in high school and they see no nothing in the future for education. So what she does is she has this whole system where she takes a whole group of kids to college visits because a lot of their parents wouldn’t know what to do because they didn’t go to college themselves. So they don’t know where to take them. But you have to earn the trip and the way she gets you to earn the trip is by doing your homework, coming to class every day, not skipping. She has this whole system worked out.
Melissa Kruger: So one of the kids in the program had a 0.7 GPA. Just by doing the program and getting his homework done he went up to a 3.2. He had no college aspirations, got a scholarship to college. Some of it is just creating a vision that you can do this and you can go.
Melissa Kruger: So when she tells me the stories, I’m like, “You’re my hero because you’re doing it quietly. You’re doing it within the system that you’re in. You’re not saying public schools have to change. We have to do this” she just she’s working within the system she has and she’s making a difference. And I think that’s kind of a hero.
Melissa Kruger: Corrie ten Boom was in the system she was in. It wasn’t right. It wasn’t good. She rose in that moment to do what needed to be done. So sometimes I think, we think we have to change everything before we can do anything. For me a hero is someone who says, “I’m here in this moment and I’m going to do what’s right.”
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah. For sure.
Jackie Hill Perry: I think I figured it out. So it’s not an individual per se. So I have two friends and both of their grandmothers are super similar. I don’t even know their grandmothers, but I’m inspired by them. And I say that because they both talk about how their grandmothers were the most faithful people that they knew. And how growing up, obviously in a Jim Crow South, and not having the same access to education in the same way or the same freedoms and privileges, but how they were still very literate, and … What’s the word? Were able to handle the scriptures without even being taught the scriptures, just really dependent on the Holy spirit for context and for interpretation. But even what they read was true to them in every single way: In how they prayed all the time, and how there was always a scripture on their tongue, and how they always wanted their children to follow in the way of Jesus, and how they trusted Jesus to be everything that Jesus promised, and how they live this life until they died … Seventies, eighties.
Jackie Hill Perry: Anytime I hear a story about a saint being faithful in the day-to-day, that extends into the end of their days, it makes me feel like that’s what I want to be. I don’t want to be this person who just has all these books and clever phrases. I just want my children and my grandchildren to be able to say, “I know Jesus because I watched my grandmother, and she loved Him until the day that she left.” To me, those are the heroes that like exemplify everything that I want to be.
Melissa Kruger: And there’s that integrity like they’re who they are, not because they’re up in front of 10,000 people, but they’re in the closet praying. To me, that’s a hero. You can’t always see that because you don’t know because they don’t talk about themselves.
Jackie Hill Perry: And it’s simple, but it’s powerful. Even when I think about my aunt, who I think was a super important figure as to the reason I know Jesus. I would walk past her room, I’m sure I said this before, and she would be singing the psalms to herself. She’s not trying to impress nobody, Twitter wasn’t no thing, she ain’t had no Instagram like, “Look at me singing Psalm 27.” She was singing it back to God. Those simple just worshipful acts of faithfulness are the things that stick with you.
Jasmine Holmes: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think about Phillip’s grandmother. I don’t have a super close relationship with either of my grandmothers, but Philip loves, loves, loves, loves Lydia May Jones oh my goodness.
Jackie Hill Perry: I love her name. She sounds like she can cook.
Jasmine Holmes: She can and raised so many children and grew up sharecropping and all of her kids went to college and have had really successful lives. I mean, she just is a hard working wonderful woman without whom my husband would not be who he is today. He has a fantastic mother, fantastic aunt.
Jasmine Holmes: I mean, it’s so interesting because I grew up in an intact upper- middle class family. I have a great dad. I have a great mom. I’m really blessed. But when I would’ve looked at all of the ingredients to my husband’s household, I may have thought like, “Oh, that’s sub par. Is he going to be okay? Is he going to make it out all right?” Very matriarchal family.
Jasmine Holmes: They just surround each other with so much love and so much support. And one of the major reasons anytime anybody asks us, “Are y’all ever going to move out of Mississippi?” we can’t. We have too much family, too much support. And that’s the kind of woman … I want to be the kind of woman who is like a magnet to her family, because she is such a support structure. And that really is how Phillip’s family from his grandmother on down has always been. Which is something that I admire as someone who had a really intact nuclear family, the mom, dad, but as far as extended family goes, didn’t have that huge communal family structure. So I love that the women in his family had been able to graph that. And that’s something that’s really grown more important to me through knowing them.
Jackie Hill Perry: I love that. Family heroes. Is that the way you say that? Familiar? Familial?
Melissa Kruger: Familial?
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s the better word here. I’m trying girl. I’m next to these teachers, trying to pull out my thesaurus.
Jasmine Holmes: Is there a common denominator in the people who’ve shaped your lives? Like when you think about the things that stand out to you as heroes? I think for me, when I started working on the book about the black women, 80% of them ended up being teachers.
Jackie Hill Perry: Interesting. Bible teachers or just teachers in general?
Jasmine Holmes: Teachers in general. And most of them were both, like missionaries who came back home and became teachers or teachers who were sent by the American Missionary Association to be teachers or like Maria Fearing was a teacher in the Congo. So a lot of them are teachers, which I don’t think is a coincidence. That’s just the kind of person that I gravitate towards. I mean, even Corrie ten Boom had an element of Sunday school teaching. It’s just that element in the people that I gravitate towards.
Jackie Hill Perry: I think I gravitate towards resolve. Like when you see people who are committed to loving Jesus, no matter how difficult it gets. And that might be because I see following Jesus really as a legitimate cross to bear. It really is hard to just keep going.
Jackie Hill Perry: And I think as the culture progresses and degenerates, it’s going to be continually harder to not only stay faithful privately, but to communicate faithfulness and to exhort people to be faithful and obedient to Jesus. I think that’s what I connect with is when I see people just unwilling to waiver. It’s just like, “No, I’m a be with Him. You can throw me in the lions den. You can throw me in the fire, but we’re not going to bow down to you, sir.” That gets me going every time.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. For me I think it’s that they suffered and yet they stood firm. There’s something about watching someone who’s walking through the fire and saying, “Jesus is enough. The waves are not going to overcome. [Meyer] will not burn. And seeing it lived out and you say, “Oh wow. I want to be like that. I want to be …” I think of Joni Eareckson Tada. And yet she was so real. I mean, clearly she didn’t want to be paralyzed at age 17 and spend her life as a quadriplegic. But she has lived a life, saying, “My goal is to honor and glorify God in what He’s given me.”
Melissa Kruger: So I think there are certain lessons that we learn best from people who have suffered because we know it’s real. There’s no, “Oh yeah. I’m saying Jesus is great,” and all this stuff. It’s coming from a depth of experience that I can just listen to and say, “Jesus, make me more like that, because I feels so soft and so weak. And the one good thing, I look at them and I think they would all say, “I was soft and weak too. He was strong.” And so that’s hopeful to me.
Jackie Hill Perry: I’m sure what’s consistent in all of the people that we would call heroes is their, not even necessarily knowledge of scripture, but commitment to scripture. What else will keep anybody going or have a resolve or a desire to go out and teach and serve in a variety of ways if it isn’t what I know about God via the scriptures that He’s provided for me? I don’t think you can separate the two. And so maybe that’s another thing that connects me with them. It’s like, “Oh, y’all were in y’all Bible. You were there. You weren’t just looking at these little devotionals for 17 seconds and calling it a day.”
Jasmine Holmes: I was showing Melissa, Sarah G. Stanley’s letters last night. She was a teacher sent by the American Missionary Association right after the Civil War ended. And there’s doesn’t have any pictures of this woman. Nobody knows what she looked like. But her level of conviction of, “I truly believe that God has called me to this hard place. And not only will it be good for the people who I’m ministering to, but it’ll be good for me because I’ll grow by being challenged and I’ll grow by being in it.”
Jasmine Holmes: It’s so different from the success-driven ways that we normally look at Christianity that we’ve sometimes been taught to look at Christianity through certain [inaudible 00:31:16]. Like, “Come over here so that you can have my curated life. It’ll be wonderful.” This woman was like, “Actually, I’m a black woman in the North who’s literally going to go to the war-torn South to be a teacher. It’s going to be really dangerous and I hope that I learned a lot.” That is an attitude that I don’t know that I would have been able to have. I hope that I would have been able to have. But goodness, just being open to God’s call even in hard things.
Jasmine Holmes: That’s good because what I love about that, she was kind of doing this missionary work, but she viewed what it would do to change her. She was humble. Maybe that’s a key ingredient too. So just a real humility that the work I’m going to do … Yes. She was hopeful that it would save lives and that people would come to the Lord through the work she was doing, but she also recognized it would save her life in a way like, that she would be changed by the work she was doing.
Jasmine Holmes: Not just, “I’m coming in as the hero.” She didn’t view herself as the hero. She viewed herself as someone who needed to be changed by the gospel that she was giving to people. That’s a beautiful …
Jackie Hill Perry: Sounds like we’re describing people that just live like Jesus.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah. It looked like Jesus. The more you look like Jesus, the more you’re one of our spiritual heroes.
Jasmine Holmes: All right. So every week On Let’s Talk, before we go, we talk about one of our favorite things. This week. I want to know what is your favorite genre of movie?
Jackie Hill Perry: Probably documentary or historical drama honestly.
Jasmine Holmes: I was going to be like horror. It’s horror film, right?
Jackie Hill Perry: Nah, I used to, I used to love scary movies until I got older and they started to scare me differently. And I said to myself, “Why am I doing this? What value is there for me to go home and when all the lights on and now my bill is high?” That don’t make sense.
Jackie Hill Perry: I just enjoy learning. And so I think any documentary or movie that offers like some history … And not even history, like 1600s. It could be like me and Melissa were talking about earlier, the documentary on Netflix, about the Challenger. That’s enjoyable for me to just find out about stuff, that’s done well. If it’s raggedy, I don’t know if I want to watch it. .
Jasmine Holmes: That’s my exact same one. So that’s why I like, “Man.”
Jackie Hill Perry: I’m sorry.
Melissa Kruger: Mine’s definitely historical though. I love watching something that tells me something I didn’t know. Like Apollo 13. I loved that movie because I’m like, “Oh my goodness, how did these guys make it home?” Or October Sky. But I also loved Hidden Figures.
Melissa Kruger: When you’re watching Hidden Figures, it brings this image of you couldn’t use the bathroom? You had to walk a mile to go to the bathroom. I mean, it helps you experience it in a different way.
Melissa Kruger: Or Schindler’s list. It’s black and white. I don’t know if you’ve seen it.
Jackie Hill Perry: We had to in high school.
Melissa Kruger: The little girl on the pink dress. That’s the only color.
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh, the red coat?
Melissa Kruger: Yes, the red coat. It makes you feel history in a way that a textbook can’t. So I’m a huge fan of historical. History teacher.
Jackie Hill Perry: She’s going to say Hamilton.
Jasmine Holmes: Here I go. I like romantic comedies.
Jackie Hill Perry: Rom coms.
Jasmine Holmes: Historical romance. Anything that’s like, “I love you. I’ve always loved you.” I’m like, “Yes.”
Jackie Hill Perry: So Notebookish.
Jasmine Holmes: Yep. Or Jane Austin. I haven’t seen Notebook in years, but like Little Women that just came out, totally. Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy.
Melissa Kruger: Which one do you like best?
Jasmine Holmes: I like the new one better, and here’s my justification, because everybody who’s ever disagreed with me has never read the book before watching the movies. And I did.
Melissa Kruger: The BBC version?
Jasmine Holmes: I read the book first.
Jackie Hill Perry: I don’t know what we’re talking about.
Jasmine Holmes: So my opinion gets to be right because I read the book first. But I do like the BBC version. But Emma, all those, they’re great. The cornier, the better. One of my ninth graders, it’s like Mrs. Holmes. I’m so happy you recommended The Fault in our Stars. I cried so hard. It’s just like, “Why am I doing this to children?” it’s so bad.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s so precious.
Jasmine Holmes: But that’s what I like. Sorry.
Jackie Hill Perry: It’s okay. God made us all different.
Jackie Hill Perry: Well, thanks for listening to this episode of Let’s Talk. On our next episode, we’ll be talking about the holiness of God. We hope you’ll listen and subscribe through Apple podcast, through Spotify, or wherever you like to get your podcasts. You can check out other shows from The Gospel Coalition Podcast Network at TGC.org/podcasts. The Gospel Coalition supports the church in making disciples of all nations by providing resources that are trusted and timely, winsome and wise and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ.