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Rebecca St James Interview
Rebecca St James became the
role model for the modern young woman long before there was a ZOEgirl,
BarlowGirl or Superchic[k]. That is not to take anything away from the
aforementioned groups, but rather to give credit to the 28-year-old young
woman from Australia who took a stance for sexual purity before marriage
when others were still talking about more traditional themes during their
Darling, did you know that ISt. James lives what she believes and believes in what she lives.
The artist continues, “Now they (the young women) are reaping the joys of that (waiting). Also, I talk about forgiveness and second chances and if people haven’t waited they can start over from now on. I think there is a tendency to believe that once you have had sex, you have blown it and you might as well keep doing that. It is a lie from Satan and he wants them to stay in that sin. I am very passionate about wanting to encourage young people to be strong because I have seen kids having babies outside of marriage or struggling with diseases because of not waiting. It’s just not worth it.”
She says some of the more common questions her fans ask her concern, “How do I stay strong for God when there is so much pressure?” and, “How do I live a pure life when there is so much compromise in that area?”
As she shares her answers with me, it isn’t simply rhetoric but she chooses her words thoughtfully, “The walk with God question I would probably answer, 'Just invest time in a relationship with God. It’s like a friendship or relationship you have with anybody.You don’t have a relationship unless you spend time with that person, coming to know them and speaking with them.'” She finds in her own life that spending quality time in prayer and reading the Bible lead to a clearer understanding of God’s character and therefore lead to a more earnest desire to be like Him.
St. James says that in recent years, she has gained a greater appreciation of the need for community. “We need to be in a good strong church to be strong in our Christian lives. We need to be involved in a strong group and have good friends around who are encouraging us to live for God. Those are some areas, but also, to understand that God loves us for who we are and we can’t earn brownie points with God or make Him like us more by doing these things. We actually need to do them out of knowledge that He loves us and that we want to grow that love relationship with Him.”
The artist offers some insights borrowed from personal experience concerning the purity issues. “There are lots of practical things that I can share about how to live in purity. To tie in with my other answer, by spending time with God as you are being purified on the inside through the Bible and through prayer it makes it way easier to live a pure lifestyle. I think having friends around you who are taking that same stand is really important. Setting up boundaries in your relationships where you aren’t going to cross a certain line. I have a boundary where I put a shoe in the door or leave the door open if I am alone in a room with a guy so someone can walk in at any point. There is accountability there. I don’t go in my bedroom, obviously, with a guy. I think things like that really help.”
She speaks with the same enthusiasm about Sister Freaks, a book for which she acted as editor. She gushes when she talks about how relatively easy the life of an editor is compared to being the author. “It was much easier than being the writer; even a lot of the day-to-day editing was being done while I was reading it. It was very, very easy compared to She Teen.” She is even more enthusiastic about the content, “I am so excited about the concept of this book and that’s why I am so behind it. We need to be reminded that there are so many sisters in Christ that we have around the world that are just walking through the fire, that are being hurt or killed for their faith. Yet sometimes, we think that we have it hard over here and our lives are so cushy and easy compared to the rest of the world. I think it is very encouraging for us to read these stories. Some are of martyrs, some are of women still living under persecution or taking a real radical stance for their faith. Some are from hundreds of years ago while some are modern-day. It just really encourages us that we can stand for God in our lives as well but also to not take the freedoms that we have for granted. I think this (Sister Freaks) is a wonderful tool for any Christian woman.” Sister Freaks hits the shelves on the Fifth of October.
In the second paragraph, I invited you to join this conversation and you are probably wondering when we are going to get around to talking about the music that made this beloved rocker so popular when she burst upon the American scene so many years ago. On November 22, St. James' long-awaited album, If I had One Chance to Tell You Something, will be released. This CD marks the return to her rock roots and the title was born out of her concern for a friend of hers from college days. She learned recently that he had fallen away from his commitment to Christ and she shared with me that she spent some time thinking about what she would say to him if she had just one chance.
She laughs heartily when I tell her that nobody rocks like Aussies and says, “Thank you. I am glad you feel that way.” Rebecca St. James is excited about her new CD and tells me why. “I think part of it is the new place and balance that I am into personally. I am operating more on overflow now rather than running on empty as I have in the past when I had to write an album (at a time when) I just had nothing left. There is a real sense of celebration and freedom that comes through in the writing. Also, I think that I have headed back to my rock roots on this project as well. I love rock music. It’s passionate and it matches my passionate lyrics. We are just finishing up the album now. We are mixing some of the songs and adding the finishing touches. I am just thrilled with how it is coming together both musically and lyrically. I’ve really seen God’s hand in providing the songs.”
Do you have some favorite tunes from this CD? “Yes, let’s see which ones I would like to major on because I feel passionate in different ways about the entire album. There is a song called “Alive” which is the first single and it really represents where I am at. It’s a song of celebration that says God makes us come alive but it is only when we let go of what we want in this life that He makes us come alive. It’s that whole thing of dying to self and becoming alive to God. I really enjoy that song. It’s a real rock 'n’ roll kind of song.” By the time you read this, “Alive” will have made its debut on the Christian charts (released September 9).
As she continues to speak about the album St. James notes, “I’ve really sought themes that are relevant and that I hope will hit home in people’s livesand I’ve done so by speaking from the reality of my own life.”
I would like to stay and talk to her more about her song on the upcoming Chronicles of Narnia CD or the tour she is planning with BarlowGirl in 2006, but Rebecca St. James wore me out. Before I go, I am curious how she stays so close to God while leading such a busy life. “I’ve hit near burn-out a few times and I feel that I have learned the hard way the importance of rest and saying no. Where I think that pertains to my walk with God is if you are constantly running on empty emotionally and physically, that is going to affect your spiritual life because you are way more susceptible to getting discouraged about things when you are distracted by your own imbalance or your own pain. You can’t focus on God to the same level. Having a daily time with God and reading the Bible or a devotional book [that] encourages me is important to me. Now I take time every year to go on a sabbatical where it’s just quality time for God to just pour into me and renew me. I’ve found the more that I am keeping those levels topped up and filled up, the better I can operate in my ministry and the more I can operate out of overflow instead of underflow or empty.”
She says that her church family and the community of young adults that she meets with on Tuesday nights is also a source of strength.
I don’t know about you, but all these adventures of Rebecca St. James’ have worn me out. I am going to turn in for the night, howeverm if you still feel you want to get to know this talented and godly young woman better, you can learn a little more at www.rebeccastjames.com .
By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved
Joe Montague is an internationally
published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory
of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18.
All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.