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An Interview with Carolyn Weber
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Light the Fire Again

By Mike Toth


Believer, wife, mother, author and professor By Mike Toth

It is somewhat difficult to conceive, these days at least, that a university would be fertile soil for a young woman to encounter and begin a faith in Jesus Christ. Many of our institutions, even those with a strong heritage in Christianity react with tepid indifference, or even out right hostility, to the faith. Those of us who have never graced the hallowed halls of the University of Oxford must be forgiven for thinking it would be the same.

"I heard the gospel for the first time at Oxford," says London native Carolyn Weber. "My husband was the first person to ever tell it to me. Well, he wasn't my husband at the time, but..."

Weber, who has authored several books including "Surprised By Oxford” which chronicles her conversion, says her introduction to the gospel was revolutionary. "I never had a concept of God. In fact I had an antagonism to men in general."

Her antagonism was quite understandable, as her home life was difficult at best. Her father often absent, Weber worked full time after school at the age of 14, and would return home at 11 pm to do home work for a couple of hours before getting a few hours of sleep. Home life was full survival mode.

"Throughout those years my intellect was my lifeline and escape. Books were my independence, but were also quite important for my future faith."

"At Oxford the Christians I met walked their talk and that was really powerful for me. The faith I was encountering was truly multicultural, with Christians coming from all over the world, and the atmosphere was such that we could debate and disagree and remain friends and colleagues."

Having such a vital atmosphere in which to wrestle with God didn’t necessarily guarantee an instantaneous faith. "Genesis made sense to me, but grace really bugged me. It changes your self-sufficiency and challenges your deepest motives. It shifted my thoughts of achievement and control."

Weber says that since her encounter with Christ achievements matter-but don't. "The Lord marks our steps. Achievement is being obedient to where God wants you."

So where did God want her? Home, back in Canada.

"I was teaching at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. It's so beautiful, and warm, and the people at Westmont were so supportive. We debated the move for a while, but we felt called to come to London."

Weber says that the last couple of years have been among the hardest, but her father's decline and hospitalization put things into perspective. By leaving her teaching and being in London she was able to spend hours at her father's bedside.

"My father accepted Christ this summer. He would ask me, 'How can you love me?' and I told him about the love of God. My father had always been lonely, and the way my family was able to love him was powerful." Weber's father died this fall.

"These days I write poetry. I found some of it very difficult and didn't always understand how people have written it. But I have come to a new appreciation for it! Having a young family takes up so much of my time, and poetry is quite efficient. I can write with whatever time I have."

"There is such beauty in God, even in the reality of a broken world. I was with my father when he died, and even though death is wrong, there was a beauty even in his death. Helene Winter, who is the wife of the ex-President of Westmont College, whose personal relationship with God affected me so much, used to say: 'Sometimes things are so good between God and me that I do not have the words for it.'"