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26 June 2012

Andy Smithyman, author

Andy Smithyman, author

Andy Smithyman is an amateur pilgrim and a rambling writer, a husband and a father. Andy is author of the book Extra ordinary miracles... finding the miraculous amidst the mundane. He has an obession with revival history, and passionately yearns to tell the story of those ignored or bypassed by our own desire for the dynamic.  An unrepentant biased supporter of Chelsea Football Club, and strangely attracted to the equipment of a fruit logo company in Cupertino known as Apple Inc.

Finally, he is a drummer at heart, whose claim to fame was to have his seat catch on fire due to an industrial spotlight underneath his stool being turned on as he performed a solo. 

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
It was a strange mix of being an architect and a chess grandmaster. Both pursuits at the time of secondary education gave me the title of 'geek'.

How did you develop into an author?
I wish I could say it was due to a ten-step plan, but it seems to be an eclectic blend of stumbling, passion, study, friendships and a love for writing. In other words, walking this life with the feet of being an amateur.

What’s the power of story then?
Walter Fischer suggests that all of humanity are essentially storytellers, where we develop our identity and that of others through the stories we create and interpret along the journey of life. I like that idea, where stories are engrained within our interpretation of life. It speaks of a connection point, something living that dances to the very heartbeat of creation itself that propels us forward and challenges each step we make.

Best story ever told?
Grace. No matter our work, status, gender or public persona, we all have this bare essential need in common. It soaks through the masks that we put on throughout life, and shines a searching light upon every deed performed. Regardless of the podium we stand upon, we are all brought level with this inavoidable reality of grace. It is a story of selfless love and heartfelt commitment that no human author could have ever dreamed up. Georges Bernanos was right in his Diary of a country priest - "Grace is everywhere", and it is one we breathe in every single day. 

Jesus used narrative to subvert and retell the dominant story. What about you?
The word 'revival' seems to come with both unifying and divisive baggage of interpretation, and I think part of this is due to our default on focusing upon either a date, location or heroic figure. That's why I am trying to shape my upcoming book to praise the stories that dance outside of those dominant tales. It will hopefully encourage us all, including myself, to see the spectrum of colour within our pilgrimage of faith and challenge our perceptions of what we are praying and yearning for.

What biblical text, storyline or personality inspires your work?
One text that I have carried close by me for years is 1 Samuel 13.14 'the Lord has sought out a man after His own heart'. I take hope and comfort that a character like David with all his flaws and fraility, carried a banner over his life as a pursuer of God's heart. My own life is a contradiction, but I cling onto a solitary prayer that never departs from my conscience - to be a man after God's own heart.

What makes you angry?
I wish I could say social injustice, but ashamably many times I find that my own comfortable lifestyle can easily ignore the cries for help. So I think part of my anger is towards my hypocritical self. I also find my anger geared towards bullies. My own childhood found itself marinated within receiving such torment, and now those healed scars remind me of the unseen and lonely path that words and actions can provoke.

What’s your vision for the arts in relation to society’s wellbeing?
I like to think of it as a living prayer - that the 'arts' will continually be a speaker of truth, to dare swim against the tide of conformity and to remind us of our own connection to one another. Art has a provactive way of bringing into the light what is hidden, and beautifully amplifies the splendour of His creating hand within us. It is an outstanding union of worship that challenges our purposeful steps of compassion and bended knee in adoration.

Tell us a joke
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

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