In The Jesus I Know (Thomas Nelson, Nov. 30), Gifford talks with celebrities about the ways Jesus has impacted their lives.
Where did the idea for this book come from?
My literary agent, Albert Lee at UTA, was so touched by some of the stories in [my earlier book] It’s Never Too Late about the people I’d have conversations with on a movie set or in a recording studio. We all talk about our lives; there’s a lot of downtime and waiting time. You don’t end up just talking about the weather, especially with people close to you. You end up having pretty dramatic, in-depth conversations about important, profound things. I cherish that. I made my living being silly quite a bit but I am pretty serious. So Albert said, “Why don’t you think about doing a book about that—just conversations?” I try to love people no matter who they are, just like Jesus did, and so you can imagine the unusual friends I have. I don’t try to force my faith on them. I ask questions, and so many people want to know about Jesus.
How did you select whom to include in the book?
I prayed, whom do I want to put in? I want to tell people stories, ancient stories in the Bible presented in a new way. People are surprised by Megyn Kelly’s faith life, Kris Jenner’s faith life, and Kristin Chenoweth’s—the people who are well-known. I wanted to include some people that are well-known and some that aren’t.
You describe the world today as one that “cancels you if you don’t believe the way everyone else does.” Can you talk more about this concept, and how it impacted the writing of this book?
It is the antithesis of love, forgiveness, grace, and everything my savior stands for. Jesus never canceled anybody out. Jesus received them, looked into their eyes, listened to them, healed them, and changed their lives. No one has ever been the same after contact with Jesus. Therefore I am absolutely appalled and find it repugnant that anybody thinks they have the right to cancel out another human being as if they never existed. I’m talking about all of it—social media, political conversations. It’s all ugly. Our culture is being destroyed over this kind of thing.