About the Guest
Sharing the love of Christ with someone can change their life. And it might change yours. Dennis Rainey welcomes Kent Weber on the program to share how he witnessed to, and then wooed, his wife, guest Carolyn Weber, whom he met when they were students at Oxford.
Carolyn WeberA Commonwealth Scholar, Dr. Carolyn Weber holds her B.A. Hon. from Huron College at Western University, Canada and her M.Phil. and D.Phil. from Oxford University, England. Dr. Weber is an award-winning author, popular professor and international speaker with talks ranging from campuses world-wide to Billy Graham’s Cove and 100 Huntley Street. She has given numerous radio, television and podcast interviews on the intersection of faith and literature, as well as topics related to women and faith...more
Dennis Rainey welcomes Kent Weber on the program to share how he witnessed to, and then wooed, his wife, guest Carolyn Weber, whom he met when they were students at Oxford.
Bob: Carolyn Weber has a PhD in philosophy from Oxford University. She has been a college professor in a number of settings; but today, she stays home most of her days, helping to raise her four children.
Carolyn: I once had another professor at Oxford—I so admired her, and she was an older woman. She stepped into her position kind of accidently, taking it over when her husband had passed away. She had raised four children. She said to me once, “The books will be all written, and the papers will be all done, and the students will always be there; but your children, at this stage, will not be nor what you can give to them in terms of an internal investment and perspective.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, April 15th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Carolyn Weber joins us today to explore the reordering of her priorities after she came to faith in Christ. We’ll talk with her about it today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. You have described the woman, to whom you are married, as a strong woman.
Dennis: Oh, yes.
Bob: You’re not talking about the fact that she can bench press—
Dennis: She’s a dangerous woman.
Bob: Explain to us what you mean by that.
Dennis: Well, she may be quiet.
Dennis: She may not give two percent of what she’s really thinking unless you ask.
Bob: But if you ask?
Dennis: But if you ask, you’ll find out that there is a rich pool and reservoir that is well- thought through and well-reasoned; okay?
Bob: And I bet there are times where—
Dennis: She’s not a pushover.
Bob: I bet there are times when you don’t ask, and you still find out—
Dennis: I still get—[Laughter]—I do. And I think we have a guest with us in the studio—we can call her husband right now if we wanted to—
Bob: Find out if—
Dennis: —and we could ask him if—
Bob: I think the evidence just speaks for itself, right here.
Dennis: I think it is, but—you know, it might be helpful if we did call Kent. Let’s just call Kent right now. Let’s find out if we’re right that Carolyn Weber is a dangerous woman. [Laughter]
Carolyn: Well, he’s the one who’s in danger right now. He’s at home, all alone, with all four kids. You can pray for him.
Dennis: Well, he may not be able to talk in a complete sentence—
Bob: Introduce our listeners to Carolyn while we see if we can get her husband on the phone.
Dennis: Well, Carolyn—
Carolyn: That would be hilarious.
Dennis: Carolyn grew up in Canada. She is a graduate of Oxford. She is an author, a speaker, a teacher. In fact, she’s taught at Seattle University; Westmont, in Santa Barbara. She’s currently married to her husband Kent who, we found out earlier, kind of witnessed to her—kind of shared Christ with her.
Carolyn: Oh, big time. Yes.
Dennis: —yes—and no doubt, while she was a student at Oxford.
Carolyn: Now, look what he’s up to. [Laughter]
Dennis: She’s now a mom of four, and they’ve been married since 1997.
And she’s written a book called Holy Is the Day: Living in the Gift of the Present. Let me tell you, folks, this is a great book. You want to make sure and get a copy of it. How this thing begins—and we’ll get to that in just a moment—but we’ve got to get them married first.
Bob: I think we’ve got Kent Weber on the line with us.
Dennis: Hey, Kent, this is Dennis Rainey. How are you doing?
Kent: I’m alright. How are you doing?
Carolyn: Hi, babe. I’m sorry! [Laughter]
Kent: Hey, babe, how are you doing?
Carolyn: They made me do it, even though you like to hide.
Bob: Here’s the thing—
Kent: Sounds like a big party out there in Little Rock.
Dennis: It is.
Bob: Kent, I have to tell you we started off talking about the fact that Dennis is married to a strong woman—a woman who has her own thoughts / her own opinions. She’s bright. She’s articulate. She’s not somebody who—
Dennis: Not a pushover.
Bob: —is a pushover; yes.
Kent: That would be me and Dennis, both. We’re married to the same kind there.
Bob: We were just calling to—
Kent: I’ve got one of those, too. [Laughter]
Bob: We wanted to hear you substantiate that fact that that’s the woman you married.
Kent: That’s her. She’s the one sitting next to you, alright.
Bob: The question that I had for you is: “When you were starting all of that witnessing, back at Oxford, was it really because you were dying to date this woman or not?”
Kent: Well, she definitely is super-hot, but that wasn’t the— [Laughter]
Carolyn: I tried to tell them that I was engaged to someone else.
Kent: That wasn’t the—yes, there was a big scandal going right underneath that. But that’s probably why I proceeded, probably, so—most of the time, I was just Carolyn’s intellectual punching bag. I just kept my elbows in. She just swung hard, which I loved. I got a big kick out of the whole exchange—certainly, one of the best conversations I’ve ever been in.
Bob: In the months that you were engaging with her on spiritual subjects, were you thinking to yourself: “This is going nowhere. This woman’s never going to budge”?
Kent: Well, I wasn’t sure. I just knew she—not only was asking questions that I didn’t feel like I had a perfect answer to—
—she was asking questions I didn’t know were questions. [Laughter] It was, frankly, an excellent exercise for me; but it was enriching. It was engaging to sort of see somebody pursue the faith with this kind of vigor.
And you’re right, I didn’t know which way it was going to go for the first several months; but then, after—there was a tipping point, at some point. I could see that what I saw was—yes—the Hound of Heaven was chasing her, and I didn’t think she was going to get away.
Dennis: And you didn’t give up. You weren’t really a punching bag. You were like one of these blow-up deals that’s got sand in the bottom of it. [Laughter] You punch it, and it goes to the ground, and it just comes right back up.
Carolyn: —comes right back up.
Kent: Probably, a better analogy—I didn’t swing too aggressively, but I just kept dodging and weaving. I just kept moving around the ring a lot, but it was a good exercise. It was a lot of fun, actually.
Carolyn: He swung once or twice when it was really important.
You know—I painted him into a corner. At one point, I was really angry at him. All my anger at men poured out onto him and the Jesus he represented. I said to him, “You know, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before men leave their wives, and they leave their children, and they leave you to do all this stuff on your own.” I poured out all this venom because that was the pain I was speaking from.
That’s when he drew a line in the sand. He said: “I am not like that. And the God I serve doesn’t stand for that. I know other men who are committed in their marriages, through their God, who are committed to honoring women because of what they believe in.” He actually physically held my hands to stop me from pretty much wanting to push him away.
Dennis: And Kent, you not only intellectually sparred with her, but you appealed to her heart by setting her apart, as a woman, and wanting to treat her with nobility, and respect, and common courtesies that she wasn’t used to. Would you comment on that for just a second?
Kent: I think that’s probably accurate. I think Carolyn realized, part way into the conversation that, “Well, there is some intellectual questions that have to be answered—that there’s a heart element to all of this.” That’s the nature of faith. You can’t separate those two. I think she felt and realized that that’s what was required and that’s what, obviously, made the stakes so high for all of this. So, I mean, as we had this whole conversation, I think—just as you described—it was a matter of giving one’s self permission to sort of see the world in a different way.
Bob: You saw her come to faith in Christ; and then, you guys left Oxford. Did you think: “Well, that’s it. She was a nice woman—nice to have met her. I guess we’ll see what God has next for me?”
Kent: You know, at that point, we didn’t—I don’t think either of us knew—
Kent: —what was going to happen. I mean, I knew she was somebody very special and somebody I had obviously grown to care for very much—
—but the faith was new. It needed to take its own sort of route. She had her sort of thing to do for a couple of years, and I had mine. I went back to work, back in the U.S. It sort of circled back maybe—I can’t remember now. Was it a year? It was more than a year after that.
Carolyn: At least, a year or two. He came back—I think—he came back for his viva—his defense for his Masters. We had dinner; but it was—yes, a couple of years later.
Bob: Well, speaking of tipping points, I just want to know where the tipping point was in that whole part of this story.
Dennis: Yes, when did you actually ask her out on a for-real date, where you were expressing romantic intentions?
Kent: That’s a great question. I can remember—it was probably a year and—maybe it was a year and a half—where she was visiting the U.S. She showed up in a car with two or three other people—
Carolyn: On a road trip.
Kent: —in Washington, DC, when I was working there. I got to see her for part of the weekend. Then, we got together maybe two or three weekends.
It was at that point where I was like, “Okay, this is what I want to be involved in.” I think she came to visit my family—maybe after we had hung out together just three or four times. After she spent four days with us there, I was absolutely sure, at that point. That’s when the ring shopping started. I got a ring—like a month later or something. Then, flew out to surprise her.
Bob: Did you have a DTR conversation with her—where you declared your intentions and said, “This time I’m spending with you is no longer just friend-to-friend, but I’m interested in something more”?
Kent: Yes, it was called the proposal. [Laughter]
Dennis: That’s a good DTR!
Kent: You know, it was one of those where—
Carolyn: It happens, sometimes, that way.
Kent: —when she came to visit my family, I was pretty sure it was going in that direction; but after that, we had some conversations, in the weeks that followed, on the phone. She was back in Oxford; and I was in Washington, DC.
And I knew one thing for sure—that I wanted to marry her. I decided—like at that point—the best thing I could do would be to make my intentions clear. So, I just bought a ring, and booked a flight, and showed up, unannounced, and said: “I know that I want to marry you. I don’t know about how the rest of the details work out, but I hope you’re with me.” And she was!
Carolyn: He actually wrote a note and slipped it under my doorway. He was staying with these mutual friends and said he wanted to meet me in front of the Bodleian Library—at the statue there. He wrote this wonderful poem, on behalf of Sir Thomas Bodleian. I had an inkling because it had some puns in it.
I showed up there, and the whole courtyard was full of Japanese tourists [Laughter]—just thousands and thousands of tourists taking pictures. He said, “Oh, let’s go for a walk.” So, I thought: “Well, maybe I was wrong,” or, “I don’t know what’s going on here.”
Kent: I was going to propose right there because that quad was normally a very quiet place.
Carolyn: Yes—“Let’s go get a sandwich.” [Laughter]
Kent: But it was really loud. So, we had to do something a little different.
Carolyn: So, he took me up to the Mound behind University College, the oldest point. It’s one of the oldest points in the city of Oxford, and—
Dennis: So, were you expecting the question?
Carolyn: No. I—when he left the note—
Kent: Before that.
Carolyn: —under my door, I thought—I mean, there was this romantic poem. It sort of—and he surprised me showing up in town—you know, which is not easy when you live in Washington, DC, and you show up in England.
Kent: The idea of a note was to give her at least—I mean—
Carolyn: —let me get dressed—and you know, not be in my pajamas.
Kent: If the poems weren’t clue enough—and I didn’t want to like just absolutely club her over the head. I basically gave her two or three hours’ notice—to basically say, “I’m about to ask you to marry me.” They were subtle, but you could—she put it together, I’m sure.
Carolyn: Well, see, I knew he blew away all my categories. I was in love with him for a long time; but I never dreamed I would marry him, or it would go that direction. I didn’t dare to dream that. And so, I had gone on with other things. He had really set a standard. And it was—and I was grateful for the standard he had set and what he had shown me—
—that godly men exist. We can believe in them; and it’s safe, and true, and right.
Dennis: So, because there had been no romantic expressions, like a kiss—
Carolyn: No, nothing.
Dennis: —and you had no DTR, did he drop to one knee—
Carolyn: Yes, he did.
Dennis: —there at that spot? What did he do?
Carolyn: And he took a bottle of champagne out of his backpack, [Laughter] which I thought was really incredible that he had managed to get that around there. He said those words to me—basically, that we had been on this journey together, and he knew my heart, and that he could see me growing in my God, and wanted us to be on this adventure together.
And it was—this isn’t the most romantic thing for me to say—but my first feeling was relief in the sense of “Wow!—it’s the kind of relief that you also get with grace—of just: “This is so good. Everything has been set right.”
Bob: So, when you pulled out the ring and she said, “Yes,” did you pop the cork or kiss her first?
Kent: Oh, goodness—you asking the great details. I don’t know. Let’s see.
Carolyn: He kissed me first. He’s a Weber man. [Laughter]
Bob: Kent, you’re a good sport.
Carolyn: It was worth the wait—a desire fulfilled.
Dennis: You know what our listeners don’t know is that you’re babysitting—how many kids?
Kent: I’ve got all four for this little jaunt.
Carolyn: This jaunt.
Dennis: Well, you are a good sport to let us interrupt your babysitting while you’re juggling your job there. Thanks for allowing us to do that, and thanks for sharing how a godly man marries a dangerous woman.
Carolyn: And how he continues to love her. You’re awesome, babe. I love you.
Kent: You guys are great. Thanks for taking great care of my girl out there, guys.
Bob: You bet! Thanks, Kent.
Carolyn: They are.
Kent: Okay, guys.
Dennis: You bet. Bye-bye.
Bob: So, he’s a Weber man; huh? [Laughter]
Dennis: You know, I’m just picturing you—you know I asked him if it was dangerous.
I mean, here you are—your life had just done a dramatic 180! You were a committed disciple and follower of Jesus Christ; weren’t you?
Dennis: You were all-in.
Carolyn: Yes. My in was easy. His in was harder. He had the greater risk.
Bob: There was a lot of undoing of thinking, though—I mean—patterns and just what had been your natural rhythm, in terms of who you are, as a woman,—
Bob: —relating to a man. There was a lot that was going to have to be rethought / relearned. Was that a process that carried into the early years of your marriage?
Carolyn: No, because I had already done a lot of that thinking through prior to the conversion process. A lot of that road work had already been done for me. I mean, of course, there is always fallout from that; but fallout when you are a believer is entirely different than fallout when you’re not a believer and don’t have a reference point of truth.
Dennis: Give our audience an illustration of what you are talking about.
I’m just talking about husband and wife—the role of how you relate—
Dennis: —to him.
Carolyn: Absolutely; absolutely. For me, I was all gung-ho. I knew who Kent was. I knew that I had needed him, for as long as I could remember, to exist as an example of Christ’s love in marriage—what a man is to a woman—and little boys being raised.
I think about that all the time, now when I’m raising my little boys—all those little things that can seem so meaningless—and you are growing a heart for daughters, too, of course—but you’re growing a heart, in young boys, that will grow into men—and I’m a perfect example of this—that will change the world for somebody—and, consequently, all the world. As a result of Kent sharing the gospel with me—living the gospel out to me / taking even and marrying me—has changed the hearts of my family, of my unbelieving friends, of my students, of my community at Oxford,—
—my community in Canada, my children—everything. Everything has changed from that one drop in the pond.
And there are days—where I have so many dirty diapers to change, and so many things to do, and I can’t clean my floor fast enough—the kids are just messing it up—I have to stop and think about that pebble in the pond effect. The ways that he tells stories about his parents’ integrity—you know, beginning a church. The way that he talks about his father praying with him—just those little seeds planted—they are great oaks. They are yeast.
Dennis: An oak of righteousness.
Carolyn: They are.
Dennis: That’s what Isaiah referred to it. And I love your picture and what you’re talking about here—how by loving you—he changed your world, and your family, and the college students that you’ve taught at Seattle University and at Westmont.
Carolyn: It goes out, and out, and out.
Dennis: I just think, Bob—I go back to FamilyLife’s mission statement: “We want to effectively develop godly marriages and families who change the world”—
Carolyn: And they do.
Dennis: —“one home at a time.”
You’re a picture of that.
Carolyn: I’m a picture of that, Dennis.
Dennis: You’re a picture of Stu and Linda Weber, who decided to be committed to Christ—raise three sons to have a great impact on the world. You’re evidence of that.
Bob: I have to ask you, though—we had a guest, one time on FamilyLife Today, who said, “The first time she read Ephesians, Chapter 5, and read a verse that said, ‘Wives, submit yourselves to your husband.’” She said, “I put the Bible down, and I said, ‘God, why did you have to mess up a perfectly good book by putting something like that in there?’” Did you feel any of that when you started to look at what the Bible has to say about a wife responding to her husband?
Carolyn: No, no; but I’ve been given the gift of a track record with Kent, participating in my conversion. So, I trusted him more than myself. I still do because his godly compass, as a man, is what I need. I needed someone to be bigger than me.
And I don’t just mean that in the worldly-strengths way; but I admire Kent’s way of protecting me, and taking care of me, and being stronger than me. It frees me up to really glorify what God is doing in my life.
Bob: And the woman who says: “You can be your own compass, sister. Why do you need a man to do that for you?”
Carolyn: Well, we don’t necessarily have to be married to be complete. We forget that we are married, first, to Christ. That’s the primary marriage for all of us. And I think that you know we have to use our minds and hearts. That’s what the grace is there—it’s grace and truth—but if you have been blessed with a marriage, you have to go in with, at least, trying to meet God with the blueprint He has for its success. It does work.
I mean, here’s an illustration—just a short illustration—but you know, Kent, then, led us to my hometown. That’s a very difficult thing for him—to have given up, and done, and do, and everything—to love all my family, as my parents are aging. As a result, for example, he’s developed a warm relationship with my father. My father has really had a lot of healing with me.
He’s part of our lives now. He—after some very difficult conversations and things, though—he broke down—he said to me: “I don’t know what to do. I’ve done so much wrong. There’s so much that’s broken, and you can’t possibly love me.”
I said, “I love you as I’ve been loved”; and the complete sob he had. And when you are able to show that—he’s gone to church with us. He asked Kent to teach him about our God. I—marrying Kent—I knew what he was about, and I knew what he represented, and I knew I needed to cling to that; and I knew, actually, when the chips were down—even in spite of myself—I needed his leadership. But I also know that he loves me, and cherishes me, and listens to me.
Dennis: Haven’t done this in a while, here on FamilyLife Today; but you’ve talked about the healing that you’ve experienced with your dad. What I’d like to do is seat your dad across the table from you—
—and have you give him a verbal tribute and honor him for being your dad and the work of God in his life and yours that you can celebrate. Would you be willing to do that?
Bob: Well, just meditate on that for a second; and let me tell listeners how they can get a copy of your new book, Holy Is the Day, which we’ve got in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center, along with your memoir of your time at Oxford called Surprised by Oxford. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com to find out more about both of these books from Carolyn Weber. You can order her books or download the MP3 file of today’s program, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com. You can also call to order the books. Our toll-free number is 1-800-FL-TODAY, 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
You know, we count it a privilege to be able to share stories with you like this story we’ve been sharing this week from Carolyn Weber. Our hope is that, as you hear people share their stories, God can use what they’ve been through to help point you, and your marriage, and your family in a godly direction.
This month, when you make a donation to support the ministry, we’d like to send you our “Lifting My Family in Prayer” bundle of three prayer cards. One of them outlines how a wife can pray for her husband; another, how a husband can pray for his wife; then, there is one on how to pray for your children. A lot of people just tuck these in their Bible and use them regularly as prayer reminders for their family.
We’re happy to send these out to you as a thank-you gift when you support FamilyLife Today. All you have to do is go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the button that says, “I Care.” Make an online donation, and we’ll send the prayer cards to you. Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Make a donation over the phone, and ask for the prayer cards when you do.
Or if you’d like to write a check and mail it to us, just mention that you’d like the prayer cards and send your check to FamilyLife Today at P O Box 7111, Little Rock, AR. The zip code is 72223.
Dennis: Well, this has been a delightful conversation with Carolyn Weber. She’s shared quite a drama here of how she moved from being lost / being a feminist—being led to Christ by a guy who, ultimately, swept her off her feet and became her husband, and who is now the father of their four children, and how there has been healing in her family and, especially, with her dad.
I asked you to do something that’s pretty challenging—and that is to just imagine your dad, seated across the table, and speak to him in the first person—
Carolyn: I will.
Dennis: —and give him a tribute, right here.
Carolyn: I sure will. You know, through grace, it’s not challenging at all.
Through grace—you know, grace makes you so rich—it’s like giving away pennies. Imagining my dad here is so easy because I’ve said it to him too. I’ve told him, and I’ll say again:
Dad, I ask you to forgive me; and I forgive you for all of the tensions in the past and the ways that we’ve disappointed each other. I want you to know that you are loved beyond measure. I love you incredibly. My family loves you—my children, my husband. And we love you with God’s love, the kind of love we’ve been shown. We love you as He has loved us. And there is nothing you can do to make us not love you.
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