Friday Arts Day
Jay Jeffries has accomplished an amazing feat. After 10 years of devotion and audacity, Jay has finally successfully published this incredible book: AWAKEN THE SPIRIT – The Sacred Text of Jesus by Amethyst Books
A deeply mystical book; it aims to allow an awakening of the spirit within. We all have a yearning inside to discover our true selves and restore balance of mind, body and spirit. Our hearts long to be vibrant and full. This book takes a new approach to including the person of Jesus on that journey to wholeness.
It allows a rich and spiritual connection to him through meditation, story and spiritual healing. It combines the wisdom of the Sacred Texts of Jesus, with modern-day writings.
“Awaken the Spirit is both intriguing and exciting. It skillfully fuses Sacred Texts (from the Bible), plus strong and evocative imagery, with reflection and meditation and the insights of personal experience. In one way this is a ‘safe’ book – it is accessible for just about anyone, whatever their spiritual path. It is exploratory and not assertive. In another way this is a risky book – it invites not only our interest but also our response. It connects us to our spiritual selves and our spiritual selves to a God who reveals in the world around and in the stories and discoveries of godly people through history and now, and most specifically to the life and teaching of Jesus and his followers.
I think all who are spiritual will find this a helpful and energising book that will help guide and shape their journey. And I think those who have a personal faith will also find Awaken the Spirit to be a source of insight and inspiration because it invites a different look at what may be familiar texts, and a different way of responding.”
Jay Jeffries is a Registered nurse at Geelong Hospital and is a My Time facilitator at Down Syndrome Victoria. Jay is married to Tim Jeffries, has two adorable boys and twins on the way.
Lisa: Jay tell us a bit about how you met Jesus?
Jay: I met Jesus at the young age of 12 when my mother took me to a very traditional Anglican church. I liked the social side of things mostly, however I did find myself with a very child like faith that stuck with me. I soon drifted from traditional church but was pulled back in at the age of 15 by the one thing that hooks most teenage girls…. A boy. Years later I married that boy but that’s another story spanning over 20 years. Together over the year we explored more about who Jesus was and is today.
Lisa: Jay, what inspired you to commission this book?
Jay: The Sacred Texts have been buried within the constraints of tradition, religious jargon or superficial judgment for far too long. They have been unattainable to spiritual seekers who genuinely want to engage and be in harmony with Jesus. The cultural barriers between the modern-day spiritual seeker and the Church have become so great, that Jesus has appeared inaccessible to the modern world.
People may not agree with everything written in the Sacred Texts, but they should at least have the freedom and opportunity to read about Jesus from the ancient texts. With this freedom, we hope people will encounter new wisdom that will facilitate spiritual connection to Jesus, the Master of love, compassion and justice. The Sacred Text of Jesus should be accessible to all people and not just those that would call themselves ‘Christians’.
Lisa: You are editor of Awaken the Spirit, you also write a piece on Sacred Stones. How many other authors have collaborated on this book?
Jay: 16 Authors came collaborated. 2 from the USA, 4 from UK and 10 from Australia. 11 if you include me. ☺
Lisa: How did you chose these authors and how did you connect with them? Was it difficult to engage them in the process?
Jay: When I first had the idea I asked 2 people in Melbourne who I was already involved with, what they thought and would they get involved in the book? They loved the idea and each gave me another contact name. From there it was like a waterfall effect (I like to say), where I kept getting authors and theologians name who were already writing in a certain fields, or having conversations like the ones I was having with spiritual seekers. All authors came high recommended in their area and all where really really keen on the idea and the possibilities.
Lisa: You have obviously chosen writers with a deep theological background but the thing that I adore about this book is the artistry, creativity, beauty and poetry. How important was this aspect of the book for you?
Jay: It was equally if not more important to get the right images and right words to go with them. It was my hope that the book allowed readers to experience Jesus, not just read about him. The images, poetry, meditations, prayers, give practical ways to include Jesus in people’s day-to-day life. To sit with him and know him deeply. It allows a personal experience that no one else can control or manipulate. It is just between Jesus and them.
Lisa: Awaken the Spirit starts with Genesis, moves to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles and then finishes with Revelation. How did you choose what to put in the book and why?
Jay: I decided with two other senior editors who are far more theological than I. Together we debated which book of the Gospel should go in. John was an obvious choice but in the end Luke’s easy way with words won out. We realized without the whole picture of why Jesus had to come and what would happen on his return, it was only half a picture. So we added in the start of Genesis and the end of Revelation. Acts was a last-minute add in on my behalf. I was reading it one night and just loving the story of it. The ups and downs of the followers and the way they interacted. I just decided that it needed to be in there and the others agreed.
Lisa: How chaotic was the task of getting this to print?
Jay: VERY. There are so many elements to getting a book like this to print. Finding authors and artists, writing contracts and legal documents, finding a bible translation, finding editors, paying for editors, paying for graphic designers and other elements of the book. I of course needed to find money too and it’s quite an expensive book to produce. I had many many set backs. Along the way I had key people pop up to encourage me and they really pulled me through. It could only have been God sending them to give me a kick up the bottom!
Lisa: How on earth did you get Richard Rohr to give a testimony on the book?
Jay: I love Richard Rohrs work and I thought he would love the book too. I sent him a short email and link to the book and he loved it. Having the wonderful John Drane as one of my main authors and editors helped too I think.
Lisa: At the Book Launch Jim Reiher mentioned that this book would be ‘attractive to those interested in New Age Spirituality’. Can you explain your thoughts on ‘New Age Spirituality’, this is often a wobbly topic for some Christians.
Jay: People in these movements are beautiful and loving human beings, who just like us all are striving to find deeper meaning in the world around us. Many of them feel they have found it and feel at peace, however some are still searching for even more.
We sometimes as Christians fear the unknown spiritual world, but where ever I go, I always know Jesus is there with me and there is nothing to fear. I also know that who ever I am with, in whatever setting, God is there and loves them even more than me. He wants me to respect them, learn about them, know about their world and love them even more. After all he knows them deeply and would not run from them. Jesus is full of grace, sensitivity, love and so much more that I can even explain or know.
When I walk into a place that has many items being worshiped and where many gods are being praised, I am not afraid, I’m don’t feel threatened, I don’t feel under attack, I take Jesus love in my heart and warmth towards people. There are exceptions perhaps. Each situation is different and each of us have different gifts. “I am blessed not to see the spiritual realm and the battles that may go on in it. I let God do the battling and the blessing where it’s needed and I simply take His love in to meet people where they are at.”
It’s not something everyone may feel they can do. We all have different gifts.
Lisa: Im in love with ‘Awaken the Spirit’ and want to buy several more volumes. It is a thoughtful book, it is easy to read, it is accessible, moving and smart. Jay where can people purchase the book?
Jay: You can buy one online through my website below, however you can also buy one from Koorong, Angus and Roberts and may other book stores. In fact the more we buy from these stores the further the books get known.
Lisa: Jay thank you so much for staying faithful to your vision, you have done us a great service. Thank you also to the authors, artists and editors that supported Jay on this journey.
Jay: It’s been a wonderfully long journey. It’s now up to God and those spiritual souls to get it into people’s hands.
View sample chapter here (and ‘like’!)
If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.
Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog. Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015. Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity. For the blog to continue I need your support. You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more. Every bit helps.
Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.
Thanks for considering.