“Jesus transmitted and transmits the greatest message of hope for all humanity, the meaning of our existence and our liberation”.
Carla de La Lá (1977) is a Spanish writer and journalist, professor at the San Pablo CEU University and head of the Globe Communication agency office in Madrid.
She has written for many media outlets, among which stands out, for its originality and freshness, her activity as a political and lifestyle opinion columnist.
She is undoubtedly one of the funniest and most caustic pens on the Spanish scene, and can currently be read in the newspapers La Razón and OkDiario.
She has just published her first novel Qué te importa que te ame (What does it matter to you that I love you), which reflects a hundred years of structural change in society through women.
Question. In 2020, you wrote about your encounter with Jesus, saying that you thought it was “unthinkable that an intelligent person, under fifty, born in a western country, educated and psychically balanced, could believe”. What led you to this faith experience?
Answer. I have many flaws, but among them two that brought me closer to faith: I am extremely non-conformist and I need to know. I am not satisfied with just any answer.
So after 40 years of atheism, reading philosophy, experimenting and thinking, I came to the conclusion that I had to give God a chance, as no human being (with their conclusions) was convincing to me.
Q. In that same article you quoted the thought of C.S. Lewis: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance, the only thing it cannot be is moderately important”. How important has it been in the development of your life after that spiritual conversion?
A. I guess a lot more than I am able to perceive. I can't offer a great Christian testimony. I am not a heroine of elevation or holiness, on the contrary, I struggle every day against my weaknesses... sometimes I have even thought of throwing in the towel.
Being a Christian is a relentless struggle, against the world, but above all against oneself. But, there is the answer: I struggle to improve and to lower my humanity! An atheist is only driven, whether he knows it or not, by the principle of pleasure.
Life without God (i.e. without meaning, on this hamster wheel, prisoners of a blind and merciless chance...) requires a narcissism and an indolence that I do not have.
If there were no God, I would probably commit suicide, without drama, right? I have already had children, planted trees and even written books... Living without a higher goal ceased to be of interest to me a long time ago.
Q. You tell in a very nice and at the same time endearing way your experience of baptism as a testimony of your faith, as well as the amazement of family and friends who accompanied you. Do they still see you as an “alien”?
A. (Laughs) Yes, but I'm used to being a weirdo since kindergarten, so that's OK.
On the other hand, I don't usually share my faith with them much, because they live it with boredom at best, others with great irritation (like the girl in the exorcist when they poured holy water on her...). I understand that, I was a very combative atheist.
Q. You have an intense and very publicly exposed life, as you collaborate in several media. You tell us you are not afraid to express your faith, which in our current culture means going against the flow. How do you live this clash of worldviews?
A. My faith has caused me more than one conflict and I have lost some supposed friends. People confuse politics with faith. I am tired of explaining that I have no political ideology, neither right-wing nor left-wing (politics bores me), that I am driven exclusively by Christian principles.
But I understand the weaknesses of others (because I have many of those as well) and I am well aware that the Christian worldview is extremely complex and it takes years of study to know a little bit about it. I say it from my own experience.
People think that because they went to a religious school they know what it is to be a Christian. I also studied at a nuns' school and that immature kind of faith (Father Christmas, tooth fairy faith...) led me to atheism.
Q. If someone close to you asked you who Jesus is for you, what would you say?
A. Ufff... Nothing in this world (or outside) is as interesting, intelligent, funny, desirable, recommendable, adorable to me as the figure of Jesus Christ.
Outside of the Messiah's mission for believers and the theological vision, he was an agitator, an insurgent and a brilliant reformer who proclaimed, against the established order and hierarchy, the most modern and inclusive message ever heard where he embraced the marginalised, the oppressed, the needy and the sinners to offer them an unquestionable and scandalous 'upgrade'.
The brilliance of his message, unthinkable in his time, astonishingly extraordinary, lays in his insistence on equality and love for others. For everyone? yes! Even to the women, the poor, the sick, the foreigners, the children and the enemies.
He was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton, a friend of publicans and prostitutes.
His relatives thought he was alienated, but his preaching transmitted and transmits today, without the slightest shadow of ageing, the greatest message of hope addressed to all humanity without exception, which also proclaims the meaning of our existence and our liberation.
Of course, I believe that Jesus is the Lord.
Q. What is your favourite passage (or passages) from the Bible?
A. Ohhh, how difficult! I've been reading the Bible for years, I read it every day, I've gone through different preferences and different levels of knowledge, as I imagine everyone has. Some passages I learn by heart are:
- The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
- For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself".
- Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way.
- All things works for the good of those who love Him.
- For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power.
- Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
- The kingdom of heaven is within you.
- Do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law.
- You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth’. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.
- Do not be anxious about anything.
- I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
- Love your enemies. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?
- You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
- Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.
Q. Let's talk about your first novel, Qué te importa que te ame. Why did you write it?
A. Because the publishing house Planeta and two others offered me contracts... And I love challenges!
Q. What has this huge creative work meant to you?
A. I'm still digesting it and sometimes it's very hard for me. It's been four years of titanic effort (I'm not a rich heiress and I don't live off literature). And such an investment in exchange for narcissism is not worth it to me.
I'm reflecting a lot on what talents and the effort involved in not burying them means, because honestly, that would be the most comfortable position.
Asun Quintana is an evangelical pastor in Madrid (Spain), and coordinator of the Woman Working Group of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance.