I read somewhere about a ballet class. The students had just purchased point shoes, satin and pristine, precious and beautiful. The teacher made them go outside and roll their brand new point shoes around in the dirt. These shoes were not meant to sit up on a shelf somewhere looking pretty. They were meant to be used. They were designed to help communicate beauty, not be beauty in and of themselves.

I like to approach my writing the same way. I take cerebral Christian ideas about how we are supposed to live and I roll them around in the dirt. I like to see if they stand up to the nitty gritty of everyday life. How do they function? What are they for? Who are they for? Because sometimes nice ideas are just that.

I ask a lot of questions about my life and my faith, the church and its leadership, culture and the world.

One of my favorite questions to ask God is, “What are we going to tackle this time?” This explains how a nerdy, anxious introvert became a Young Life leader, then travelled as a missionary on The World Race, building relationships with and preaching to people of varying ages and with various levels of English comprehension and education. How someone with minimal songwriting experience successfully wrote and performed an hour-long piece of music called Pinpoint with an ensemble of 20. How someone with only a vague understanding of opera completed a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance (aka classical singing aka opera). And how, now, that someone has moved to New York and is writing a book about being a single Christian woman.

Suffice to say, I wear a lot of hats… but it all comes back to one idea: I am passionate about asking questions and producing content that inspires flourishing, authentic, transparent relationships. Sometimes that means singing, sometimes that means writing a book. But it always means some combination of Jesus, vulnerability, and humor.

Also, the “B” in my name is important. It’s Mary B., like Mary Ann or Mary Grace. No, there isn’t a Mary A. Yes, I’ve always been called Mary B. The B stands for Brantley, which is my middle name.

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