This month’s interview is with Catholic writer Jane Lebak!
1) What was your childhood like?
I grew up in New York City, so it was a strange distortion of too many crowds and too much isolation, but I think it was just right for making me who I am. I went to high school in a different borough (the local public high school wasn’t a great place; I remember three high school girls attacking a cop in the hallway) and getting there required an hour and fifteen minutes on the subway in each direction. Because of the distance, I got a subway pass.
That was freedom. It was amazing to have complete freedom to wander Manhattan with my allowance and my bookbag. After school, I’d walk from 83rd Street and head down to wherever I wanted. Forbidden Planet (both of them!) or Strand Bookstore or St. Francis Bookstore…I found so many amazing little shops and awesome little stores with ethnic food, and I could go all over the place to explore and learn and experience. I loved that so much!
Contrast that with early release days, where if I bolted out of school the moment the bell rang, and if all the trains and buses were right there to connect, I could get home in time to watch the last fifteen minutes of Transformers.
2) What evidence can you give for God’s existence?
My personal reason is that I’ve had personal experiences that lead me to no other conclusion. When you reach out and something reaches back for you, you have no more doubt. When you fall and something catches you, you feel secure in what you felt. That’s not data for anyone else of course, but it holds me fast.
Overall though, and even before I had that kind of one-on-one experience, I knew order doesn’t arise from chaos. Things fall apart on their own. They don’t become more ordered or more complex. So the tremendous complexity we see inside a cell or the way galaxies are constructed, for example, tells me something must have created and sorted, and organized everything that went into that.
3. Who is your favorite biblical figure besides Jesus?
That’s hard to pick. I like the Archangel Raphael in the book of Tobit. I used to have the worst crush on the Archangel Gabriel. But on the human side of things, I really like the apostle Thomas because he seems to have this sarcastic and pragmatic edge that really speaks to me.
4. Favorite biblical passage and why?
“Kindness and truth shall meet. Justice and peace shall kiss.” I love the sense of completion. In some ways, these things could be opposites (think of the answer to “does this make me look fat?”), but with grace, they become complementary. In the end, all our differences are harmonized so they retain their character but all work together to show the many facets of God’s glory.