By Jeff Reynolds
I learned of Harry Wegley on the ACFW loop page. He has several published articles and an autobiography under the name H. L. Wegley. You'll find an interesting list of articles if you did a Google search on that name. Though, considering Harry's book deals with cyber-warfare, I might feel safer using the Startpage search engine, which doesn't store cookies and may keep me safer from Big Brother. Okay, let's get on to the interview.
Jeff Reynolds: Welcome to the blog, Harry . You're probably expecting me to ask how you got into writing, but I'll ask the more important question: How did you come to know Christ?
Harry Wegley: Thanks for having me on your blog, Jeff. To answer your question, I need to back up to my early childhood years. From the time I was four or five, my parents took me to church, but until I was old enough to choose my own church, I attended one that taught some confusing things regarding salvation. I had a lot of questions about this central issue of Christianity. Instead of dealing with the doctrinal issues, I simply shoved the issue of my personal salvation to the back burner until adulthood was staring me in the face. I was a good, church-going kid, but not a saved one. Shortly after turning 18, I began dating this cute, Christian, young lady and she quickly challenged me on the salvation issue. The danger of what I had been doing for several years became clear to me, and I committed my life to Christ at 18 years of age. I didn't grow a lot for the first couple of years, while I wrestled with several doctrinal issues from my earlier church experience. But I was finally on the inside looking out, instead of the other way around. I married that young lady at age 20 and we picked out a fundamentally sound church. That's when my real spiritual growth started.
JR: Your blog page is titled "The Weather Scribe," and your bio reveals you're a meteorologist. How did you get into that field? And would you agree with those who say weather reporters are people lucky enough to be wrong 90% of the time and still keep their job?
HW: Understanding the forecast is where weathermen/women get a bad rap. You probably knew I was going to say something like that. Bear with me and try to think about a weather forecast this way -- HL Wegley says the probability of precipitation for Saturday is 50%. Now Joe wants to know whether he should water the newly spread fertilizer on his lawn, while Joanne is planning the family reunion picnic for Saturday. What do you do with a 50%, or a 40%, or a 30% probability of precipitation (POP) forecast? A business, in a cost-loss situation, knows exactly what to do with it, but the general public, for the most part, does not. If HL Wegley is a good forecaster, 50% of the time he says the POP is 50% it rains... AT THE WEATHER STATION. He is, in a probabilistic sense, correct and HL Wegley keeps his job, even gets a pay raise. But if it rains on Joanne's picnic ten miles away, HL Wegley is a -- I don't normally use those kinds of words. The disconnect between the way forecast information is conveyed and the way it's perceived by the public is but one highly simplistic example of the problems meteorologists must handle when forecasting for a large area, a large population, and a large number of possible weather events. In the Seattle area the weather can vary tremendously over fairly small geographical areas. So, my hat is off to anyone who can bust a forecast, admit it, smile, and go on.
How did I get into this crazy business? That's easy, Uncle Sam told me to. The Air Force said they would give me a full-ride scholarship, and staff sergeant's pay for 2 years, to get a degree provided they got to pick one of three majors I selected from a long list offered to me. My second choice was meteorology and they picked it. They sent me to a great school, Texas A&M. So far, one of the MCs in each of my first four novels has been both a Texas Aggie and a meteorologist.
JR: Your blog page also has a tab for apologetics. What interested you in that field?
HW: I've always had an interest in defense of the faith, but my interest became a ten-year obsession when I saw some people close to me turn, walk away from their Christian faith, and turn to other beliefs, beliefs that were indefensible. At first I wanted to bludgeon them with the truth, but I realized that wasn't scriptural and soon learned that it wasn't wise and was always counterproductive. As I've read more widely, apologists like Ravi Zacharias showed me that most objections to Christianity have existential roots. Sometimes individuals have been burned by "church people" and they blame Christianity as a whole. In other cases the hard knocks of living in a sin-cursed world raise questions about God and His goodness. In the past five or six years, I've tried to balance my study of the logic and facts surrounding the Christian worldview with developing answers to the questions that hurting people often ask. Cheerfully showing mercy, as spoken of in Romans 12, doesn't always come easily for someone whose gifts lie more in the area of discernment than mercy. I'm learning, but slowly.
JR: You have a novel coming out, Hide And Seek. Could you tell us a little about it? And if you'd like, any connections with either weather or apologetics?
HW: Hide and Seek is an espionage thriller about an ingenious plot to neutralize several critical U.S. military weapons systems using cyber-warfare. When the two very bright MCs, Lee and Jennifer, discover the sinister plot, they are targeted for elimination before they can disclose their findings. Their story contains both a love story and a survival story. Both stories are fraught with problems. One of which is Jennifer's stated agnosticism while Lee is a committed Christian. The book contains a couple of brief, interesting apologetical discussions between Jennifer and Lee. The weather connection is that Lee has degrees in Meteorology and Computer Science. Hey, he sounds like me. My wife says so too. She's jealous of Jennifer. Read the book and you'll understand why.
JR: With your various experiences in life, what is your outlook for our world and your advice to the church based on that outlook?
HW: A ton of books are being published attempting to provide that advice, and they're written by some people much better equipped than me to provide an answer, but I'll take a shot at it. I first became aware of world events at about the time of Dwight Eisenhower's first election to the presidency in 1952. I was six years old. I can clearly remember all the radical changes of the 60's and have watched with sadness the downward moral spiral in America since then and the growing ascendancy of evil.
Unless our nation experiences a large-scale repentance and returns to God's principles, both in government and in our people's daily lives, this nation has a dark future. Christianity seems to be on the decline in our nation, in quantity and in quality. This is not the case in all nations. Despite severe persecution, the Church is growing and thriving in other parts of the world.
But, regardless of where you live, I would say to parents, plant the truths about God and your Christian faith deep in the hearts of your children. Teach them both the "what" and the "why" of your faith. Steel them against the tough times that appear to lie ahead. To the youth I would say, get to know God well by reading His word and observing what He has revealed to us about Himself. He is good and you can trust Him. Also, if your parents don't teach you, take it upon yourselves to learn what you believe and why you believe it. Know these things well enough to explain them to others and don't be afraid to do so. And finally, to everyone, watch and pray, for no one knows the moment, the hour, or the day of our Lord's return. It could be very soon. Live in light of that fact every day.
JR: Thank you for your time, and hope you have a blessed day.
HW: Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Jeff. May God bless you as you use your gifts to minister for Him. And please, have a little mercy on your local weather forecaster. Meteorology will never be an exact science.:)