I met Chris Bowser about 18 months ago when we came to Grabill Missionary Church. We have talked a lot, face to face, on the phone. However, if you aren’t in our geography, you don’t know much about him at all. That’s why I asked him 5 questions. (Turns out, he could be a pretty good blogger. 🙂
1. You are, I think, a “here’s how we can do that.” kind of person. That’s different from a “should we do that” or a “what are three ways that a person could do that.” kind of person. Is that a fair characterization? If so, how did you get that way?
Your characterization of me being a “here’s how we can do that” kind of person is correct. I am a problem solver; that’s how God made me, how He wired me per se. I don’t mind analyzing a “should we do that” situation but am much more suited to figuring out how to do it. I am flexible enough to accept that there are other ways to do “that” but willing to offer a solution (not the only solution). I got that way primarily because of three things; a tremendous curiosity, extreme independence (not always good) and tenacity. I grew up without my Dad being around. I had to develop solutions to problems that arose in the house and in our family. Whatever solution path I took, I took after careful observation and thinking it through (step by step visualization). Often times, I made mistakes due to my independent nature but I learned from them as well. My tenacity really paid off because I did not care how long it took to do something if it got done right and to my satisfaction. In short, I never had time to ponder if something should be done or alternate ways to do something – I just had to do it; there wasn’t anybody else to do “it”.
2. One of the things you do is lead a team that tries to figure out how to help people who have financial needs. Why do you care so much about people who have pain in their lives?
I care because I know what it is to hurt. Growing up we struggled financially. Sometimes we worried about not having enough money to cover our basic needs. Dad wasn’t much help. He was more worried about his latest female conquest than providing for his fractured families (plural). People helped. God heard us cry out to Him. I watched – and never forgot. I have had to work for everything I ever got, but it made me appreciate hard work. It made me understand what real struggle is like. It made me appreciate having a job, a way to provide for my family. I understand sacrifice, people sacrificed to help us. Over 20 years ago, God blessed us with a little girl after multiple miscarriages. After only a couple of days, He took her back. We went home empty handed and shut the door to the nursery. My arms ached to hold her. They still do. It took a long time, but I realized that Jesus carried me through this desolate wilderness. He never left my side; He was there when we held Erin as she died, He cried with us, He loved us and He loved her. He took her home. For me, caring about people who hurt comes naturally. I care because I hurt too. God uses us to reach out to others in need. He blesses us for a reason. It isn’t to reward us for our “good” behavior, it is to help others. Our reward is already laid up for us in heaven. That said, why wouldn’t we want to help ease the burden of someone who hurts?
3. You struggled with high school (not IN high school, because that implies aptitude challenges. You have no problems with aptitude.) What made high school so annoying?
I am so unlike other people. I have always felt like a square peg in a round hole. Peer pressure for me was never a problem. I was independent enough that I just didn’t care what others were trying or doing. If I wanted to try something, I did. If I thought it was a stupid idea, I didn’t do it. Learning was the same way for me. If I liked it, I did it and I did it well and put everything I had into it. If I liked the teacher and felt they were competent to teach me their subject, I did well too. However, if I felt the teacher was not up to the task or I didn’t like the subject or I failed to see the relevance of the subject to my studies, I did not try as hard or did only what I needed to do to get the grade. I wasn’t right with God back then and it was obvious. I was very critical of others even though I wasn’t on the right path. My biggest problem with high school was all of the social cliques. They seemed so stupid and petty. Many of them worried about clothes, their hair, their cars (or lack of cars) and treated even good friends with very little respect. In short, they were concerned about things that didn’t really matter and had total disregard for things that did matter and that really ticked me off. It was boorish. I played a lot of practical jokes and my antics and bad attitude (not my grades) kept me out of National Honor Society (another clique).
4. When you look at God, what do you see?
When I look at God, I see the father that I never had on earth. Someone who is always there. Someone who cares about me even when I mess up. I see an open lap. The lap I often crawl up on when I pray. He holds me and loves me. He always accentuates the positive things I do without beating me up over the stupid things I do. He loves me period.
5. You are on facebook, but you hardly visit. You don’t tweet or blog. So what’s the deal? Why are the limitations you see to your involvement in social media?
Wow. Now I’m getting beat up. I don’t know how to tweet. I don’t know how to get started blogging. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to read what I have to say. I have little time to spare (an excuse). I very much prefer a face to face conversation. I like to look people directly in their eyes when we talk. I like to read body language and I’m good at it. Being strange, it’s easy for me to be misunderstood and it’s easy for me to misunderstand. Written conversations exacerbate those misunderstandings for me. I do enjoy talking on the phone (as you know) to close friends who know me fairly well and are not apt to misinterpret what I say. I do like short stuff on text messages…
This is one in a series of 5 Questions conversations. For more information, go to my 5 Questions page.