Saturday, March 10, 2012
Scandalon by Susan Elaine Jenkins
Running from scandal - in her family, church and community life - Susan moves from California to China. At first, the adventure of experiencing an exotic culture brings the escape she craves. Gradually, as the layers of mystery and reserve fall away, she gets to know her new Chinese friends on deeper levels. At the same time the self-protective layers around her own heart peel back painfully, exposing her inner brokenness.
In this vivid and transparent memoir, Susan takes us on a fascinating journey into the streets and homes of modern China. The travel memoir is interspersed with Susan's personal story of emotional and spiritual sabotage, shame and shattered dreams. It all comes together as she opens her heart anew to God's love - the most scandalous love of all.
About the Author:
Susan Elaine Jenkins has lived in China for fourteen years, teaching the performing arts in international schools. She was previously a teacher in private schools in California.
Interview with Susan:
1. Tell us about some of the joys of your life?
Teaching music and drama to international students is fun and keeps me in a perpetual state of learning. I also get to lead worship from time to time in churches here in China. Maybe someday I can tell about that.
2. Much of Scandalon came from your journal writing through the years?
Yes; when I was experiencing the scandals I tell about in Scandalon, I kept journals that were for my eyes only. The idea of sharing these stories was inconceivable. Then a friend from the UK convinced me to begin a blog. As time went by, I got to know my readers. Little by little, I began to open up the pages of my journals to them, interspersed with a few of the details of daily life in Asia. To my surprise, my online friends began commenting and sending me private letters filled with their own pain. I wanted to let them know that there really is healing and light ahead, that the promise from God really is authentic: He is a God who heals.
3. What do you like best about living in China?
My career here has taken me into the hearts and lives of many unforgettable students. And, though I'm a seasoned foreign expatriate, the daily adventures of living in Asia continue to surprise me. China is progressing rapidly, which reminds me that I'm a developing person living in a developing society. I love studying and speaking Mandarin. I love my students and my school.
When I arrived in 1997, much of what I experienced was a village lifestyle; everything is completely different now. I think it is accurate to say that a hunger for material possessions is now driving the personal behavior of many Chinese. When I think about trying to understand China, though, I think of peeling an onion. There are layers upon layers of complexities to this culture and I am always aware of the fact that I really don't know much about it – even after fourteen years of living here.
4. Is there one place in China you haven't yet visited, but still want to go?
I have not yet visited the panda bears in Chengdu. I can't believe I've put that off! I hear that if one gives a "donation" of a 1,000 rmb, it is possible to pose with a bear. That would be a great Facebook profile picture, don't you think? (laughing)
5. With all your work as a teacher and an author, do you have time to read? If so, what books?
Lately, I've been devouring all the Peter Hessler books about China. My favorite novel of all time is "Pillars of the Earth". For Christian reading, I turn to John Eldredge's books time and time again, especially "Waking the Dead". Phillip Yancey's books stir me and cause me to think and see the world differently. I think Annie Dillard is a brilliant, fresh writer. And for a combination of godly wisdom and wonderful hints for the kitchen, nothing beats Dennis Ellingson's "God's Wild Herbs" and "God's Healing Herbs."
6. Where can we find you on the Web?
On my website at http://www.susanelainejenkins.com/ . I love to hear from readers!
Available through Amazon.com and other online retailers, or through bookstores anywhere.
The Amazon Kindle version is FREE March 8 - 12 here .
"In this exciting book, Susan brings her story of hope and courage to others who experience difficult life circumstances and people." ~ Curt Grayson, author of Healing the Hurts that Sabotage the Soul
"Thanks for the courage to share the story. And especially thanks for weaving your experiences in China into the story. It made what could have been a tabloid shocker into an account of grace." ~ Rev. Bill Doggett
"An enthralling story that touches the very depth of the heart.... May God use Ms. Jenkins' personal journey of character, heart and soul to reach and restore, revive and rescue, renew and revitalize - its readers into the next phase of their life's journey." ~ Dr. Anita McLaughlin, Independent Voices
My review of Scandalon:
I am never one to pass up the opportunity to read a travel memoir. Before I started reading Christian fiction, that was pretty much all I ever read. I love to experience far away places through the eyes of authors who have experienced them. I'm not much of a traveler any more, I prefer to stay home, but I still love to be an armchair traveler.
I was interested in this book because of the travel aspect, but also because I was interested in reading about the author's journey. It is quite a journey, an eye-opening one. Scandalon is so much more than some travel memoir. It is an experience of transformation and healing that the author is sharing with her readers. I admire Susan for opening up and sharing her pain and her healing with us. I have learned a lot from this book and I have taken a lot from it. I highly recommend it.