Q&A WITH KEN MANSFIELD, AUTHOR OF "STUMBLING ON OPEN GROUND - LOVE, GOD, CANCER AND ROCK 'N' ROLL"
BREATHECAST - Q&A WITH KEN MANSFIELD, AUTHOR OF "STUMBLING ON OPEN GROUND - LOVE, GOD, CANCER AND ROCK 'N' ROLL"
Stumbling on Open Ground is your fourth book, but your first recounting your battle with cancer. Why did you feel it was important to share this experience?
It was a hard book to write and one that I didn't want to do - partly because I actually didn't want to relive the experience. The interesting thing is that while I was going through the horrors of the cancer and treatments my publisher friends at Thomas Nelson Publishing lived and prayed with me during this experience. My second book with them, Between Wyomings, ironically was released almost simultaneously with the beginning of treatment. Strange coincidence! After I came through the ordeal my editor at Thomas Nelson, Joel Miller, had witnessed the ordeal and was aware that this was my 2nd time going down that road and had watched the way I dealt with it and God. He approached my agent and me about writing the book. I was non-receptive at first until he suggested the concept and the approach I should take. Stumbling on Open Ground takes a real street approach to a believer's dialogue with God during a major battle. Sometimes the exchange isn't pretty but telling God how much you dislike what is going on is not a surprise to Him. He knows everything about you and it is okay to rail out and talk to him about how you feel about the trial and your relationship with Him...that's called prayer.
Like Us on Facebook
What went through your mind when you were first diagnosed with cancer?
The first time it was quite a shock and the beginning of a whole new mind set about what your life is really about - especially when you are told it is incurable and you may only have one year to live. My wife Connie and I have fought the good battle on that cancer and through prayer and experimental treatments I have become a miracle of sorts - I mean am still here and it is 16 years and counting. I cover the uniqueness of this battle in the first half of the book as it takes place by the ocean in Bodega Bay, California. It was a more subtle cancer - not fun but not so jarring - I used to joke about its uniqueness and I called it my designer cancer because it was so rare and elusive. The second one happened when I lived in the Sierra Nevada mountains between Tahoe and Yosemite. It came on raging and brutal, all or nothing, life or death and it was a 7 month nightmare. Mentally the second one was harder to accept when we found out about it - realizing we were having to go down that road again. I guess it would be like the reserve soldier who had survived Iraq and then found out he was being called back to go to Afghanistan. We knew when we got the news that this was going to be a tough mental struggle as well as a physical one. I will never forget the day when I got in the car after being in the doctor's office and told Connie the news. We looked at each other and knew that our lives were never going to be the same from that point forward.
What did your journey with cancer most reveal to you about your faith, and God?
I came out of it knowing I could trust Him. That He is perfect and makes no mistakes. I sensed His presence the whole time - even the times I told Him to go away because He was letting it happen to me. We spent a lot of time talking during the ordeal and we did grow closer. I learned a lot and found out that my faith was strong. The real struggle was about doubting a God I didn't doubt, it was about having trouble believing in Someone that I totally believed in, it was about questioning a God Who I knew had all the answers, it was about hanging in there and keeping the faith. When I would rail out to Him, He was teaching me to talk to Him. He let me know that this is what is known as prayer - He knew what was going on the whole time and He knew I wasn't happy about it and He let me know it is okay. He gave me a beautiful gift after I came out the other end. I realized that the reason the trial I was given was so heavy is because He needed to strengthen me for bigger and better things in my ministry and that...He trusted me with it! I learned to not get mad at the only One Who could help me!
In the book, you share about the crucial role your wife Connie played during your treatment. How would you encourage other spouses walking alongside their partners during a season of trial?
This is why God puts us together, when one stumbles the other picks up the load. A trial of magnitude can destroy a marriage or it can strengthen it beyond our imagination. At times I believe she suffered more than I did. It was so hard for her to hear me crying out in pain and feeling helpless. What was worse for me was hearing her crying in the other room from exhaustion and compassion. Think of how she felt not knowing if I was going to make it. Now that it is over we are closer and more precious to each other - we stood back to back and fought the battle together.
Your career in music is legendary; what are three career highlights that you most remember?
*Being on the roof with the Beatles the last time they played together. There was just a handful of us there and it was special. Those of us who were there and are still alive are bonded together forever by that moment.
*My first number one record as a producer...Jessi Colter's "I'm Not Lisa".
*Being an integral part of the Outlaw movement and producing hits and records with Waylon, Jessi, Willie, Tompall and the boys.
*Working one day with Judy Garland!
What is your fondest remembrance of your time spent with The Beatles?
Besides the roof it was putting Apple Records together with them. Sitting in meetings with the four of them having serious and passionate discussions about the planning of the launch. Going to lunch with Paul, shopping for jeans with George, partying with Ringo and working with John on his pet project Zapple. I enjoyed the simple things as much as the big things.
As you travel around the country speaking in churches, what element of your story do people most respond and relate to?
They are drawn to the transformation from the extreme decadent lifestyle I led to my eventual downfall and conversion. I grew up poor, became successful, lost it all became poor again and then like Job became even more blessed (not in camels and wealth) than I could ever imagine. I call it a rags, to riches, to rags, to real riches story. I am very surprised that the journey God has put me on has been so fascinating. My story is one of unbelievably awesome times, horrible down to earth failure, and sweet redemption and restoration.
- Creation Festival 2013 NORTHEAST: June 26-29 in Mt. Union,PA - NORTHWEST: August 7-10 in Enumclaw,WA
- Mark Schultz Says 'I Gave Up' In New Radio Single
- Monroe Hopper Passes Away
- Laurie Cardoza Moore to address WCICC Leadership
- Word Entertainment & 25 Entertainment Announce The 2013-14 "Girls of Grace" Season Presented By Childfund (VIDEO)
- Luminate Enjoys Success on Rock N' Worship Roadshow & Believe Tours
- Francesca Battistelli New Album Coming Out Soon?
- Laura Story's 'Blessings' Album Goes Gold, Joins Show Hope Concert May 26 in Nashville with Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman & Others
- GAYE ARBUCKLE Releases HOLY
- Red Roots to appear on The American Bible Challenge on GSN
- Second Edition Of Dr. Michael Milton's SILENT NO MORE Releases Amid High-Profile Accolades
- Mars Hill Music's Citizens Releases Self-Titled LP
- All Sons & Daughters Release First Live CD/DVD April 23
- Josh Wilson Releases His Most Personal Record To Date, 'Carry Me,' On Apr. 9
- KEITH ELGIN RELEASES AWARD-WINNING SINGLE TO RADIO
- Darlene Zschech, To Declare The Truth of God - Revealing Jesus, by Melissa Riddle Chalos
Get the latest news from BC in your inbox
- THIS WEEK