FaithWriters member Jim McWhinnie describes himself as a Canadian-bred Clergyman. I would also describe him as a talented writer. Join me as I chat with Jim about his life and his writing .
LYNDA: Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
JIM: I was born in rural New Brunswick, Canada and spent time on my grandparent’s dairy farm in Quebec. Those days in the country were so formative in my view of life and the ways of God. I eventually ended up playing football and baseball at the University of Florida. I came to know the Lord at a Billy Graham Crusade and became deeply involved with Intervarsity. From there I went to Stanford Law School. It was there, in the midst of my legal studies that I felt the call to pastoral ministry. My theological studies were at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky. Student pastorates were in the hills of Kentucky, my first assignment was a seven point circuit, preaching at four churches on one Sunday and three the next. During the summers, I traveled around the Midwest conducting tent revivals.
While serving in Florida, I met my wife Debbie, a teacher of the hearing impaired. Together we served as campus ministers at the University of Florida for many years. During those years our two sons were born, Shawn – now in the College of Pharmacy – and Scott – now in Computer Animation at Ringling College of Art and Design.
My avocation is as a watercolorist, illustrating a number of poetry chapbooks I publish with my works. I have recently opened my own cottage industry, GreyBear Press.
LYNDA: You pastored churches in Florida for thirty-five years. Did you always know you wanted to go into ministry?
JIM: I never dreamed I would be a pastor. My first inkling was that I might do youth ministry, but again in law school, the calling came sure and clear.
LYNDA: When did you realize you had the gift of writing? (And I say “gift” because you’ve done well in the Challenges.)
JIM: I am not sure how gifted. Writing is certainly an enjoyment for me and I think I have always had a knack for finding that “different slant” on old ideas. I sense that I needed years of seasoning before I could bring to life those deeper understandings. I always wanted to write but I have never discovered the “joy” of re-writing and editing.
LYNDA: Is poetry your genre of choice or do you write articles and stories, too?
JIM: I write a daily e-mail devotional and I have written four detective mysteries. Of course, I write articles and sermons. Poetry is a recent exploration for me, something very new.
LYNDA: How did you find FaithWriters and what do you love about it?
JIM: Oh through the miracle of Google, searching for Christian writers. I love so much about Faithwriters, but to be particular, I love the spirit of the leadership that Deb Porter brings and I love to read and re-read the writing of both beginners and masters.
LYNDA: According to your FaithWriters profile, you enjoy relaxing in your watercolor studio. Tell us more about that.
JIM: As I mentioned earlier, I became an artist in mid-life, a venture in escaping the stress of being a pastor of large parishes. To my surprise, my work has been well-received and has proven to be one more opportunity for ministry. Much of my work I publish as greeting cards and note paper. With each card, I can include a few words of spiritual insight.
LYNDA: What else do you like to do for fun?
JIM: Oh, for fun? I go canoeing and compete in chess tournaments.
LYNDA: Any goals you’ve set for yourself, either personally or with your writing?
JIM: This year I enter into retirement. I hope to build my GreyBear Press endeavor. I am yearning to write a course on discipleship for those who are artistic by nature. I am preparing to one day be “Granddad” – the calling that I am confident I will be wonderfully fulfill.
LYNDA: Thanks so much for allowing us to get to know you a little better, Jim. Much success to you in all of your endeavors!