Women & Work

Podcast Transcript: Episode 15

Women & Work Podcast

Episode 15: Blair Linne


COURTNEY: Welcome to the Women & Work podcast, the show that inspires you to confidently step into your God-given calling & view your work as meaningful to the Kingdom of God. 


I’m Courtney Moore.


MISSIE: And I’m Missie Branch. We want to introduce you to women who through their own unique vocations are seeing what they do make an eternal difference.


COURTNEY: We pray these conversations will inspire you in your own calling to honor God, image Him to the world through your work, and leverage your potential for His glory. 


MISSIE: Thanks so much for joining us today.


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Courtney: Hey everybody thanks for being here today. Missie and I are super excited about our guest -we have with us Blair Linne. And let me tell you guys a little bit about who she is and then we’ll jump right into the interview. So Blair is an author, a speaker, actress and she is a Christian spoken word artist. She has appeared in several theater productions commercials and even television shows including Days of Our lives, Alias, Malcolm in the Middle, Boston Public, The parkers, and American Dreams as well as her own Saturday morning show called Skate on NBC. I can’t wait to hear all about this Blair. She has toured globally and is known as 1 of the originators of the Christian spoken word genre.

At age 13 she was 1 of the youngest contributors at the World Stage Aunancie Writers workshop. Since then she has written poetry for sprite Neutrogena, NBS, and The Gospel coalition. She’s been featured on ABC’s Nightline, 102.3 KLJH, Revive Our Hearts, the Los Angeles Times and several Christian hip hop albums. Proclaiming the gospel of Jesus through spoken word is her passion. We can’t wait to talk about it. She lives with her husband Shai and their 3 children in Philadelphia and she serves discipling women at Risen Christ Fellowship. She is a contributing writer to the devotional, His Testimonies: My Heritage. And her brand new book Finding My Father: How the gospel heals the pain of Fatherlessness just released October first of this year. Blair, welcome.

Blair Linne:  Thank you Thanks for having me on.

Missie: Yay friend- like I know you as Blair and so hearing all this is just so encouraging because for women in work. 1 of the things is that we’re trying to do is demystify the idea that our work puts us in this other class because God has called all of us to work and so it’s beautiful to say I know Blair as Blair and she’s done all these great things! So okay, so before we get started Courtney and I love to do this thing called rapid fire questions that we ask all of our guests. So I’m gonna start us off. Okay, so as a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up?

Blair Linne: I actually wanted to be an actress. I wanted a movie star. Yeah, my mom told me when I was like 3 years old I said I want to be I remember telling her I want to be a movie star. She said you want to be an actress? I said no just a movie star. 

Missie: You were like- I don’t want the work I Just want to be a star (laughter).

Blair Linne: Yeah, right? Yeah, just you know hey the lights the camera the action.

Courtney:  So what was your first job?

Blair Linne: Yes, my first job was a pizza hut commercial. I know I know.

Missie: That’s awesome.

Blair Linne: Yeah and I did a Pizza Hut commercial when I was 13. Yeah, so that was my very first job.

Courtney: Amazing That is crazy.

Missie: Okay, Blair. Do you have footage of this stuff like do you just can you just flip back for your kids and show them you at 13 in Pizza Hut commercials?

Blair Linne: Right- Some of it I do um there was a period of time where I like- you can reach out basically to the production companies and get copies of them. But a lot of them are on VHS- so they’re like sitting in a box in our basement right now. And yeah. I need to get them transferred.

Courtney: You should- and then send us a link.

Missie: Awesome! Okay, yes, please. Okay, and so the third question is what kind of work do you want to be doing when you’re 80 years old?

Blair Linne: Hmm, that’s good when I’m 80 years old I want to be discipling women. I pray that I am wise and mature and seasoned -that I have a lot to pour into the women in my life. So that’s what- and you know- I mean my children not just women but you know just that I’m able to be fruitful in my old age.

Missie: I Love it.

Courtney: I feel like we are so blessed with guests missy who have that heart I can’t tell you I feel like so many women we taught you on this podcast have the exact same answer for when they’re 80 that it’s their family and pouring their lives out discipling other women. So I think that we’re in good company with Blair today.

Missie: It’s just beautiful. Yes, absolutely.

Blair Linne: That’s sweet.

Courtney: Well after reading that bio of you Blair, I mean I am fascinated with all of what you have done in your life and what the Lord has led you in. So we just want to get to know you a little more- tell us a little bit just about kind of your background where you grew up and how did you come to faith in Christ.

Blair Linne: Yeah, so I was I grew up in Los Angeles, California.  My mom was -she was a single mom. She took care of my sister and I and I made a profession of faith when I was nine years old because we often attended church church revivals. We stayed in church we were in church for hours at a time. It’s funny now because  the sermon that we get every Sunday I think our so our service is maybe 2 hours and people think that’s long -I’m like you don’t know long services! You know, right. So I made a profession of faith when I was nine. I was baptized and went on to really live a pretty moral life if I compared myself to other people I often in my own mind came out on top that was doing okay, it wasn’t until I was 22 years old that I met someone who actually shared the gospel with me. And what was different about what I had heard previously, because I was raised in the church so I heard about Jesus, I don’t think I understood how god viewed sin. That was not clear to me.

Missie: Oh wow.

Blair Linne: I Didn’t understand things like sins of the heart. So it was like- yeah you don’t sleep with your boyfriend. You don’t do the “big sins” but then when it came to sins of the heart- that was a non-category for me. So when I started to realize wait. Okay God cares about all of me, even my thought life right? I started digging into the scripture, in particular like the book of Romans and I remember even Ephesians 2 -just spending extensive time meditating on that like wait you were “dead in your trespasses and sins..” I didn’t think I was dead you know? And so I was like well wait but the Bible says I am dead! You know? And so I just started to have to agree with God because I said I respected and honored His Word wasn’t living according to it. So as I began to agree with God and His Word, I started to get convicted over my life.

And once I did that, I remember actually feeling a state of -I was in a state of despair. I was praying to God and just overwhelmed by this that he was revealing that was in my heart and in my life and as I began to call out to him and say I’m guilty it was in that moment that I was reminded. “Yes, you are and I’ve provided a remedy in Jesus” that’s why you need Jesus. And I remember thinking “that’s why it’s good news. That’s why it’s good!” It just clicked at that moment and I was like whoa I’ve lived my whole life and I had not- but you know prior to this moment connected with Christ personally. So thankful to have out of have been regenerated! Praise the Lord for saving me.

Missie: Yes, so good. That is so good. So how did you- So now you guys are you’re married and you’re in Philadelphia how did you meet Shai? How did you come from Los Angeles to Philadelphia?  Because I knew Shai before you- before there was Shai and Blair. So how did you wind up from Los Angeles to Philadelphia and then get connected with your husband?

Blair Linne: Yeah, so actually I got connected with him. We were long distance. So I was still living in Los Angeles and we both got invited to minister at an event in Long Beach, California. So it was an outreach event where I shared a poem and Shai shared a couple songs at that event. And just kind of you know, met each other in passing. And then 2 months later we were at another event together- we were on a panel together and then maybe like 2 or 3 months later we had another event together. At this point I’m thinking- who is this guy, right? You know and all he’s talking about is Jesus so that certainly stood out to me. Um, and so at the end of that year we were at a conference in Atlanta and we kind of had our first real conversation. Like okay I’ve seen you I know your name. Okay I’m probably a little bit more you know.

Missie: Um, right? Yes, who are you.

Blair Linne: Yeah, who are you really? And so we had our first conversation there and then after that what contacted each other like via email and he was like well what’s your testimony? And I responded well what’s yours? And um and then we kind of had that exchange and long story short. The Lord is you know blessed where he pursued me and we got engaged and married. And then when we got married, literally 2 months before we got married I moved to the east coast for the very first time- got married and we were in the DC, Maryland, Virginia. And then 6 years ago, the Lord put on my husband’s heart along with a friend to plant a church here in Philadelphia.  So we moved up 6 years ago and planted Risen Christ Fellowship. So that’s how we landed here and now we have 3 kids- nine seven and six- yeah things have changed and grown and yeah- living in Philly now.

Missie: They are beautiful. It’s so sweet to see that- to have been a person on the sidelines watching the Lord do all those things and it’s just so sweet. Yeah, it really is a blessing and your children are incredible.

Blair Linne: Aw, thank you I Think so.

Courtney: So Missie, you and Blair -you guys connected in Philadelphia when you still lived there, is that right, Missie?

Missie: Yes, Shai was a member of the church we planted so when Blair moved to the east coast and was being in relationship with Shai. It’s how we all met because all the Christian rappers in the East coast came to our church at the time.

Courtney: Okay, and so we need to just inform our listeners that your husband- both of your husbands are Christian rappers. So I feel like this is a whole- I mean we’re here to talk to you Blair but I want our listeners to become aware of your husband’s ministries as well and maybe we can even provide a link to some of this in the show notes. But um I mean that’s fascinating in my world. I don’t know Christian rappers So you know.

Missie It’s so great. It is beautiful. No and our husbands are really tight- like they’re brothers and so it’s it’s beautiful. Yeah, and what’s also sweet is this has nothing to do with anything but Shai and Blair walked with me and Duce through some pretty tough seasons in our lives and so those types of things to be able to watch God do those things and have people who have walked with you from 1 point all the way to the other is a sweet gift.

Blair Linne: Yes, absolutely I just wish we were closer. That’s something and you know yeah we still praying about that Lord- move hearts.

Courtney: Awesome! Well who knows so, Blair we want to talk to you? Um, ah about some of the things that you’ve had the opportunity to do as I mentioned you and you mentioned you’ve been in commercials. You’ve been on- I mean I will confess I watched Days of Our Lives as a high schooler. Yes I mean it’s not I guess I’m not super proud of it at this point. But um, yes, um, so you’ve acted. You’re writing you’re doing the poetry and the spoken word. How did you discover You were a creative person? Was that something that others saw in you that they drew out or how did you even discover like no I Really love this.

Blair Linne: Yeah, you know I think a big part of my discovery of being a creative was my mom. So you know my mom -really my mom is a creative person so she’s a poet. I remember when we were coming up – wrote plays like we would do church plays, community plays. Um, you know I think even in her earlier years- we were in a very small town where I was born- you know she did modeling and acting and things like that even where she was. So it was kind of like her having this desire in this dream and I think her kind of encouraging her children to walk in that as well. Even I think about my grandmother her mother is a poet-she would quote poetry. So you see it in the blood and so I from nine years old I remember I would go every Wednesday night to the world stage and I would listen to poetry. Sometimes my mom would recite poetry and I started writing at 9 years old and I think I got on the stage and shared my first poem I probably was like eleven or twelve. So just growing up in that community. It’s cool now because it was I mean it was a poetry spot where you would see Sonia Sanchez or Saul Williams- so you know so like here’s this little 9 year old me kind of brushing shoulders with these wonderful artists and professors and thinkers and so it was a really wonderful opportunity. And because my mother was so well-connected, she got us involved in community plays and at nine years old. She helped me to get my first agent to begin acting. So yeah I think she really helped cultivate that. I’m really grateful for that.

Missie: So beautiful. So well then starting in this industry, having your mom as kind of your connection to it but yet growing up as a Christian even though I know you were a child and it wasn’t the same- How did you or did you even think through how my honoring Christ in this field as an actress? I’ll tell you this. Trinity, my daughter did one thing. She and Jeremiah modeled for car seats and they said to them, they said to us they should they need agents. They be great and my husband’s response was: “you start off with lunch boxes and you end up naked on the beach. She’s not doing it. shut it down.”


Blair Linne: There might be some wisdom there. (laughter)

Missie: Quick- he shut it down quick. So they did 1 thing each. So But how did you do that.

Blair Linne: Yeah, it’s interesting because I did have certain convictions. You know as I mentioned, I was a professing believer. Even though you know, now I know I I didn’t truly know Christ but I was a professing believer and so I remember times going on auditions after I did a show. Maybe it was Malcolm in the Middle -I worked on Malcolm in the Middle and there were certain shows who just wanted me to be on their show. You know so basically was ready to offer me the show. I don’t know if you guys remember the show Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Okay so they had basically offered me a role. The role was I was speaking against the Bible. I mean it was just very openly against everything that I said I believed in and I remember going there and saying to the casting director “I don’t feel comfortable doing this because this goes against everything that I believe in” and she said “you know I have a lot of respect for that” and it was very hard to make that decision. But she says okay, we’ll consider you for another role if something else comes up that you know is better fitting. But then I also have the example of when I did work on Days of Our Lives. So the thing about when you work on soap operas, it’s a different type of taping than a sitcom or than even a show like Malcolm in the Middle where you record the whole week. A sitcom you practice the whole week and then you record live- so you know it’s a live audience. With a soap opera you get the script sometimes that morning or there can be changes that morning. You memorize that script that morning and you record what you would typically do in a week you do it in one day. So it really is almost like theater so you have maybe one maybe two opportunities to get it right and they gotta move on. So it’s pretty amazing when you think about what like actresses and actors who’ve been on soap operas for like 20 years like to be able to have the recall. But anyway, so I show up one day and I have a reoccurring role on Days of Our Lives. In the script is a curse word. In my mind, I would never curse. I didn’t want to curse, period. But I was too afraid to talk to the director because I thought you know I just felt like there wasn’t any room I have this script. It’s in the script and so um I was too afraid to speak up and so I did it. So there was me compromising and it was so crazy because the curse word was a you know- it’s a curse word- it was bad but I was so nervous that I said  a worse curse word but we were recording I was just so like nervous and I know right? I like ah I shouldn’t be doing this anyway. That’s what that is ok, but I made the decision when I was 22, I came to the Lord. I acted a few more years after that and I made the decision that unless I could have a bit more creative control over my career, I didn’t want to put myself in any more compromising situations like that. And I wanted to be in a situation where if someone offered me, because there were some roles where they offered a nice amount of money. You could buy a car every week- more than a car every week, you know? Um, so I said I want to be in a position where I can say no. Like I won’t be so tempted right? That I’ll feel that I have to compromise and if I don’t feel that I can do that, I’m just gonna bow out. So I just took a hiatus and said and so I can get there.. It’s funny now, because I thought I’ve had like some opportunities come up that I’m like oh I would do a Christian production or you know or a production where I had more creative control. So I’m thinking about that now as some opportunities potentially are coming up. But yeah, it’s It’s so much to think through and there is a lot of opportunity to compromise and you really do have to have a good support system and as a believer, you have to have the ability to say “no”. You can offer me a million dollars, but I love Jesus more. Or I have these convictions and so I’m going to say no.

Missie: That takes a lot of courage, Blair.

Courtney: It’s- to really not be ruled. Yeah, that’s amazing. So you said your your mom got you an agent when you were nine years old and this makes sense now knowing that you grew up in Los angeles. Because at first I thought well if you’re if you grew up in Philadelphia I’m like how in the world are you getting out to California it makes sense now. So behind the scenes of these shows, sitcoms, soap operas -were there many christians working there? or just tell us kind of- fill in for those of us who were I mean I’m fascinated by this. What’s the culture like in those situations?

Blair Linne: Yeah, yeah, you know there are there are a lot of Christians who are in the entertainment industry and who are acting. I went to ah a church in Los Angeles where there were a lot of people who were in you know the creative arts and in the entertainment industry- who were there so that was helpful even to have that support system. But it really does depend, right? Because you know you think about it, and I remember I was doing a show -actually I was filming a show in Vancouver, Canada. This was my first time being away from my family I was you know a teenager still um, you know there for months at a time right? The Lord protected me. So the Lord really protected me my whole career, right? I was really guarded from a lot of the things that you see you know some of these actresses fall into but there definitely was temptation that came and I’m like what?! Like where is that coming from? And you have a situation where you are vulnerable. I remember feeling quite depressed because it’s like- I’m here in a sense. Yes, I’m working with, you know I have these coworkers but I don’t really know them very well. Some of them weren’t even my same age or didn’t have my same interest and so you know it can be a very lonely experience. I remember there was a good friend of mine who I thought was a good friend and we would hang out. He was working on a different show and I was like okay cool. We’re friends. We’re around the same age. Um, and I remember one time he says “how come you have a hit on me?” and I was like “what?” you know just like it’ll be things like that that you’re like- That was the furthest thing for my mind I was just thinking. Yeah I’m like we were here in Canada I don’t know anybody you know I know you know? Yeah, we’re just friends you know? And I remember even being -there was a lady, a young lady who was an extra on this show I was working on and she was like oh we were talking like behind the scenes and she was like we should grab dinner sometime I was like sure! You know we’re same age and then we grabbed dinner and then she tries to hit on me. So you know it’s so interesting and of course you know thank the Lord I was just like what I was just shocked. You know. But I have friends who have talked about drugs and you know just you know finding themselves in very compromising situations whereas you know you’re working on a project with other people and they’re like let’s go hang out and you think okay! But you don’t know how they view hanging out and how you view hanging out completely different things. So yeah and even some of the stories that I have heard it really has encouraged me in the Lord- just his protection over me, you know. I mean yeah, being in a foreign country as a teenager by yourself. Um, and so I just thank the Lord I didn’t get caught up in many of the things that I probably could have and I think if I probably wasn’t as, I don’t know I say like naive but you know, just like I’m just my mind isn’t even there you know? I’m really thankful for that because it really just caught me off guard.

Missie: Yes, yes, yes Praise God. So I want to talk to you about your poetry. So it’s fascinating to me I didn’t know that your grandmother and your mother were both poets I think that is so beautiful like we could spend forever on that alone. But so when you think of your- you being a 9 year old writer and then the writer that you are now, who and what how was your craft honed? How did that become a thing that is went from this is sweet to oh man-This is this is incredible.

Blair Linne: Yeah it’s interesting when I first started writing at 9, I was more so writing about my ethnicity. I was writing more about my personhood and you know trying to come into my own, you know. I’m a black young girl and you know I mean and here’s the story I want to tell. And when I was maybe around seventeen or so, I remember like reading through the Bible all the way through for the first time- just kind of having more of a hunger for spiritual things. And I thought “these things are more important than just the natural”. So I really wanted to incorporate scripture in the poetry that I’m doing. I was a part of like a youth department at our church, and I remember we would have these shut-ins and like just youth events. And I remember telling the youth pastor, “Can I do a poem? I’m gonna try to incorporate..” you know and just have my little vision down. Because at the time, really the genre of Christian poetry it wasn’t- it really wasn’t anything that we know it, you know as it is today. So I was just kind of taking a step of faith and you know trying something new and and I would get my girlfriends who are also in the youth department and say Let’s do something together. So the 3 of us might do like a group poem and 1 person singing and you know we just played around with a lot of things. But when when I came to the Lord, I came to the Lord at 22 when I came to the Lord I remember one of the first prayers I prayed to him was “okay I have abused and misused all of my gifts. It’s all been about me. It’s not been about You. And you know in my zeal I said “I don’t want to do anything. I just want You. I know I don’t need to do anything else.” And that was- I was content with that.
And of course the Lord does have good works for us to do, right? That He’s prepared for us in advance that we should walk in them. And so I remember writing a poem sharing my testimony and the church that I used to attend asked me to come and share poetry at a poetry event that actually I had helped start some years earlier. And I went to that event and I just shared the poem, shared my testimony- and from that point other people said well you come to this church and would you come to this church and I never asked anyone to go anywhere or to share poetry, people just kept asking me to come and share and so I just kept going kept saying yes.

Missie: So kind of the.. your experience was the way your craft was honed. It was kind of starting off with a heart to do it – to do something that somebody else hasn’t done before and just taking the opportunities to do it. That’s beautiful.

Blair Linne: Yeah, that’s right, That’s right.

Courtney: Yeah, you just kept going. And I love what you said that you- you took a step of faith. You tried something new and we love that here at Women & Work – seeing women confidently step into their God given calling and it takes so much faith to do that and I love how you really wanted it to matter for the kingdom. Incorporating those things of the Bible. It’s really beautiful and so how did you decide, I have recently learned because the rapping world has not been something I’m familiar with, but I’ve recently learned that a lot of rap comes from poetry. So how did you decide- was there ever a decision- maybe it was just what you maybe it was just the experience- you just walked through but did did the idea of putting your poetry to a more melodic…Was there a conscious decision to not try to rap it or just speak it? Does that make sense?

Blair Linne: Yeah, it does um so it’s funny in high school I did rap a little bit. I tried to be a battle rapper for a hot minute. Um, but but poetry was really more so kind of my lane you know because I’ve been doing it since I was nine years old and even the idea of spoken word poetry- which is more of- it’s more of a performance-based poetry. You can use meter but it has more of a- it’s more about the sound and it’s more about you know, kind of punchy lyrics that that that reaches to the audience more So than Writing poetry to be read, you know or just kind of fitting into just a typical metered poem. There’s I don’t know there’s a little more flexibility that you have with spoken word poetry because you’re engaging the audience in what you’re doing and so. So yeah, so that was kind of more so just my lane and what I felt more comfortable doing because I’ve been doing it for so long. I enjoy rapping, it’s fun, but it’s just you know I do have a respect for that art form and I realize that like… I don’t know what I’m doing.

Missie: So for our listeners for our listeners who may be unaware, there is…There are some elements and characters of rap and spoken word that are the same but they are distinct art forms. When you run into people like a Jackie Hill who can kind of do both. It’s easy to think that they’re the same thing but we’re married to rappers who would tell you they are not spoken word artists and Blair is saying “I’m a spoken word artist I am not a rapper.” And so that’s the beautiful thing of recognizing that this is an art form in and of itself not to be confused with something else.

Blair Linne: That’s right, That’s a good point. Yes.

Courtney: So when you are performing spoken word. First of all, what do you love about it right? I mean there has to be something like- when you’re in the middle of performing that. What is it in you that says. “I was made for this” and then on the flip side of that. What are you hoping your listeners will gain or feel or even just experience as you are serving them?

Blair Linne: Yeah I am just privileged to be able to take this art form of spoken word and clearly communicate the gospel, clearly communicate Christ and His work, the impact that he’s had upon my life. So I’m praying that as I engage with those who are listening, that they will be able to get a clear message of Christ and what the Lord is able to do. You know that’s my desire. And so you know, when you love the Lord, as you know because you ladies love the Lord- we desire to make Him known and we will use any means that we have access to- whatever our gifts are to make Him known. And so this just happens to be one way that I that I’m privileged really to do that. And it is interesting because I remember one time sharing a poem and someone coming up afterwards saying to me: what must I do to be saved? This was earlier when I when I maybe -I was maybe a believer for a year or two, and had been sharing poetry and I thought “from a poem??” I think it just shifted my mind on what the Lord could do -not about the poetry. It’s what the Lord can use. He uses the foolish things of the world, right? So He can take whatever you have- you know we’re little clay jars right? But He’s the eternal treasure living inside of us. So it’s like if you have a card business right? and you want to just make cards for people in your church- the Lord can use that. Or you paint- the lord can use that or you know you just want to serve people. Something I love to do is when people are sick in our church, I love making baskets for them- like get well baskets. You know it’s like the Lord can’t use that you know and it’s not a business but hey there’s an idea for you if you want to start a business meeting people’s needs. So you know that’s our desire is just to make Him known.

Courtney: I Love that. Beautiful.

Missie: Wow. Okay, so there are moments- I’m obviously married to a musician and music has always been huge in my life, but also just the arts has always been huge in my life and there are moments where you will never forget -I Saw this performance in something about that changed everything about even the way I see spoken word or I so hear orchestra or whatever. And one of those moments for me with spoken word- because I’m friends with a lot of spoken word artists- one of those moments was when you did The Perfection of Beauty. Watching you do that, I was just like what like..It was the way you presented it, it was the eloquence, it was I think the fact it seemed very connected to you and not an um, not a performance. You know what I’m saying? So what inspired that piece and how long did it take you to write it? Four our listeners, please. It is on Youtube under Shai Linne because she’s featured on Shai’s- her husband’s  record. The link should be in our show notes. Yes, but please tell us, Blair how long did it take you to write it what inspired that? How did it come about?

Blair Linne: Yeah so I was asked to write that for my husband’s album which is Lyrical Theology: Part 1 where does… wait is that Lyrical Theology or the Attributes of God? I’m sorry- it’s the Attributes of God.

Missie: I thought I was going to say I thought it was The Attributes but because- but do you remember before you say it? Courtney, audience, listeners- her husband released this album called The Attributes of God which -please go by please go buy. But he has a listening party for it and he does the listening party in a museum in the building where the astronomy happens. So we’re sitting in a room and the room is dark but the sky is lighting up with stars and planets and moons and we’re listening to the attributes of God and Blair’s piece is on there… incredible. Changed the game.

Blair Linne: Yeah, that was an amazing listening party. That was like- what a wonderful idea that the yeah like I don’t know the stars and everything kind of moving in line with the music I was like yeah. That was dope.

Missie: It was it was it was something I will ever forget.

Blair Linne: So yeah. I was privileged that Shai asked me to be a part of that. I was breaking down one of the attributes of God, which is His beauty. And so when he asked me I’m trying to think.. It didn’t take me very long to write that poem because I don’t know that I had a long time to write that poem. I want to say maybe it took a couple days maybe 2 or 3 days.  I love- when I do create I love feedback, you know? So I’ll write and then I love you know, allowing other people to hear it because I want to make sure- sometimes when we’re artists, it’s easy for us to know what we want to say but it can be quite vague and it may not always transfer to those who are listening. And so I because I want to be as clear as possible, I was able to get feedback and then probably go and edit you know make the edits and make adjustments. It was a privilege to be a part of a part of that album.

Missie: Beautiful. Please people you want to listen to it.

Courtney: So Shai- I was about to call you Shai- Blair! Sorry. Your book- and I’ll say the name of it again, it’s called Finding my father: How the gospel heals the pain of fatherlessness. How did how did this book come about? Tell us your experience a little bit and what are you hoping your readers- What are you hoping for for them as they read?

Blair Linne: Yeah, so this book came about actually 5 or 6 years ago- I was invited to minister at the Legacy Conference which is in Chicago at Moody and they asked me what I wanted to speak on and I thought.. I’m going to speak on fatherlessness. Just based upon the demographic of those who were going to be attending I thought it might resonate with them and it was actually a workshop specifically geared towards women when I initially did it. I wrote out the workshop and you know I started off the workshop just sharing some of my own personal experience. I shared that my mom was a single mom and we moved from Michigan to Los Angeles when I was 3 years old. My relationship with my dad was one in that he never lived in the same home as me. He lived in the Midwest and we would speak over the phone. And I don’t even know that I could say every year, but when we would it would be maybe a couple times that we would talk each year. So there wasn’t a lot of depth there in our relationship and it was very hard because I remember being 8 or 9 and thinking- I really desire more from my father but I was too afraid to speak up and tell him that because I felt like if I did, maybe I would lose the little bit of him that I had. F kind of kept me quiet. But it was hard. My mom struggled and she did her best you know to give us you know the life that you know that we desire to have like I said in the entertainment industry and um, you know did her best to send us to charm school, and get us in the best public schools. She couldn’t afford the private schools. But. You know, got us in the best public performing art schools in the city and I just I walked through- in the workshop- just letting the ladies at the time know that I get it.  I know how hard it is to not have your father because he’s physically absent and also you have fathers who could be in the home but they’re emotionally or spiritually absent. So I addressed all of that and as I said, the response went so well. Afterwards there happened to be someone from a publishing house that was at the workshop that I didn’t know was there who asked me if I would be willing to write on it, and I said I would love to write on this. But just a series of events happen in life that it kept being pushed off and I didn’t get a chance to. And the lord in His sovereignty, of course He knew it if you read my story, I explain why I think that is but yeah, it just it just was the Lord’s will that it would all happen now. So I’ve had the privilege of writing this book and the book is not just to women, it’s for men and women. I even have my husband write a chapter of the book specifically to men. You know, my husband has a very similar story to mine and that he didn’t have his father in his home as well. So us coming together being believers and – what I talk about is you know having God as our Father but also having a family in the church and how the Lord has used that spiritual adoption and what comes with that to really minister to us, so that Lord willing we’re doing something new and different that we had not seen witnessed, at least in our homes.

Courtney: That’s amazing I love that. I pray the Lord will bless you guys in that and you will create a brand new generation of spiritual legacy in your family. Well as you think about- I mean you said you spoke to these women in Chicago, that was kind of your first audience to talk through this with, I mean the fact of fatherlessness has a huge impact on each of us personally, if we’ve walked through that but it also just on the culture. How would you say, especially for women in particular and as we’re thinking through women’s work, are there some ways you see fatherlessness impacting culture and work for women?

Blair Linne: Well one way that I saw it growing up was the burden to provide was placed upon my mother. So you know my father never paid child support, never provided in that way for us. And one of the things I talk about in the book too is this idea of black fatherhood. Because oftentimes I see that I see it thrown around and so I wanted to make sure that I addressed it. And I think sometimes we have to understand the context of historically, what’s happened if we want to take the time to consider black fathers. Whereas if you look for example in the 70’s, where there was many of the jobs that African American men would hold- they were taken away. The trades and a lot of the factories that shut down during those times had a huge impact upon African American men. And one of the things as I was doing my research, I came and I found was that -employment, it actually is a determining factor on whether or not a man will marry the mother of their child by eightfold. Eightfold. So it’s a huge determining factor. And so you take away those jobs from those men and then and then also you have welfare, which I talk about as well- which was used to help mother and children but one of the stipulations was that you could not have a man in the home in order to get benefits. And it was it and it was enforced primarily in African American communities.

Missie: Right? Which incentivizes men to not be there.

Blair Linne: If you want your woman or your wife and your children to actually be able to eat, you can’t live in that home. And then not only that, you have in the government- they are actually providing for the mother of your child and your children as well. So that doesn’t incentivize right fatherhood or the family. And then you have the crack epidemic in the 80s and you know- which you know my father actually felt prey to that as well is that that had a huge impact. So I say all that to say, when we understand the context of what has happened to our men, it’s going to help us to see where we are as women. And my hope in the book is we need men. Men are important. Fathers are important. And if there’s some way, I would love- I mean I’m not in politics, but like policies to encourage employment for men. That would make a huge difference in the lives of many families. That has had a huge shift. I evern see, in particular in the African American community, you have a lot of black women who are well educated. More educated than the men and just the dynamic there.  so there are a lot of issues that we need to address, and there are a lot of ways that this fatherlessness- even historically, like I said things that have happened in the 70s are impacting us now. So yeah, so that’s one way- I’m kind of rambling. But.

Courtney: Sure No, it’s so helpful to understand. A lot of- I mean I didn’t know some of the things you just mentioned. So thank you.

Missie: One of the things that is true and that we have in common is, single moms in inner city communities doing what they can. Being our heroes, being superheroes in homes that have absent fathers. It doesn’t make sense to sit back and be mad at the decisions that were made many years from before it makes sense now to look forward and say how can I provide something different for my family and then how do I use the gospel to impact whatever men are in my life and whatever women who’ve been affected by this? But so my question for you So without us- without you or me or Courtney or any other of us -because you know I’ve talked to other women who are not just African-American women who have single parents who have raised either like you said emotionally or physically absent parents um dads. But we know that that affects us. So. How would you say that a lack of relationship with your biological father affected your relationship with the Lord? Have you seen that and if so, have you been able to work through those consequence or effects?

Blair Linne: Yeah, yeah, I want to address even what you mentioned before because I think that’s really important as well and something I mentioned in the book is I say we’re all victims and rebels. So There are ways that we’ve been sinned against. We can’t change the ways that our parents have sinned against us if they have, but what we can do is we can take responsibility for how we respond to what they have done. Eventually, no matter the level of pain, and it’s important for us to deal with our pain head on and to be honest about our story and our situation – but to know that it’s not too hard for the Lord. The Lord is able to work in the midst of the most dark situation and actually bring light out of it. I had to learn as it relates to my relationship with the Lord that fatherhood, it actually comes from God. Fatherhood doesn’t originate with my earthly father. You know God is the one who defines what fatherhood is because He’s the first Father. He was the first father, right? And so when we look at God our Father through the lens of scripture rather than through the lens of our brokenness and through the lens of our hurt and our pain or bitterness, unforgiveness- whatever we’re struggling with. It opens up a whole new world to us that we see: Okay, Wow! And it’s not just that I’m saved and I’ve been redeemed through Christ. Christ is saying: okay and now when you pray, you say “Our Father…” He’s taking us to have a relationship with his heavenly father to say: this is what I’ve opened up for you. You’re united to me and now you have a Father in God. So access Him. Talk to Him. Lay your burdens at His feet. Cast your cares over to Him. Talk to Him about your earthly situation. Talk to Him about your parents because He says though your mother or father forsake you, I will never forsake you. I will take you in and so we have to hold fast to those promises and be hopeful for our earthly fathers too in the process. The Lord saved us, remember? We’re the chief sinner. He can certainly save our parents if they’re still alive. There’s still hope there. So let’s not just cancel them out. The Lord is able to work in this whole Situation. He’s redeeming this whole situation for his Glory. We may not understand all of the details and I know that there’s some people who have experienced even greater hurt than I have-a much darker story than I have- but the lord is still able to make beauty from those ashes. Right? He’s still able to do wonderful things in your life and so there’s hope. You don’t have to repeat the cycles that were passed down through your family line. The cycle of sin and fatherlessness can stop with you. It can stop with you and the Lord can bring forth legacy out of you. Whether or not you have your own biological children, the lord can birth and bring forth legacy in you. You’re doing a new thing through your discipleship relationships and mentor relationships or if you adopt or foster, or just love on somebody who’s in the pew next to you. The Lord can do a new thing! And so we have to be we have to be hopeful and just be reminded. I think sometimes our eyes can be so focused upon this world and we just have to look up and say wait a minute. Our God is in control. He’s our father and He loves us.

Missie: Yes. Mhm. That’s so good.

Courtney: So you and your husband have planted a church in Philadelphia called Risen Christ Fellowship and we love to emphasize on our podcast the importance of the local church. That is very near to our heart and so I mean as you’re talking about these things with the fatherless and the hope we have, how can the local church support? We may have some single moms right now listening to you speak about this who need support or you know they’re looking at their children who see- man we this guy needs a father figure. They need somebody to teach them how to catch a baseball or you know whatever. Are there some ways… Well what drew you to plant in Philadelphia and then are there some ways that the local church can really support these women?

Blair Linne: Yeah, you know my husband had a heart for the inner city here in Philadelphia. The church is in Germantown and you know and that’s- we were all raised in the inner city. So just having a heart wanting to see Christ penetrate this city and penetrate the hearts of those who are here. And you know as it relates to the church and our responsibility in this matter, I think we have to see that we are responsible for the fatherless. The Lord lays it out very clear and if we are talking about wanting to follow in the footsteps of our Savior Jesus who ministered to the least of those, who was willing..and even says very clearly in the Word you need to care for, not only the godless, the fatherless, the widow right? Those who can’t give you anything in return. And even James is like- cloaked under -here’s the true religion. If you want to truly be a servant, then part of what you’re going to do is care for the fatherless and so. When Jesus says, “where were you when I was in prison…did you visit me?” Hopefully it will spur us on to say I want to. I want to do the work that Jesus is telling me to do- as he has called me to love my neighbor and very practically I think that can look many different ways. It can look like adoption. It can look like fostering but also as you mentioned it can look like: here’s a single mom with a son. Maybe my husband who’s a Godly man can say: Let’s take this family with us to vacation. Or we’re gonna go fishing, can your son come along? It could look like also challenging- if you see single young men or men who are married who didn’t have their fathers in their life. Coming alongside them and saying how can I pour into them? That means that we have to be known and we have to be willing to know other people and I think sometimes we when we look at discipleship we look at it as only: Okay, let’s open up the Bible and let’s talk through it. Which, yes we need to understand how to how to read the scripture in context with a proper Hermeneutic and how to rightly divide the word of God. Those are important things and we need to keep that there. And we need to add to that to say: do you know how to change a tire young lady who didn’t have her father? Let me change your oil for you. Let me teach you how to balance a budget. Let me let me walk with you and fill in some of those holes that maybe you’ve had because your dad wasn’t there.

Missie: So what I hear you saying and which I think is so beautiful is we have to recognize that at the local church, we’re here to kind of meet those needs right? just meet each other’s needs. But what that does is that like you said makes us responsible to the fatherless but it also gives us hearts for the fathers so that we are seeing that we can even see the local church be part of rebuilding community in ways that without Christ may not have happened. So I think that’s beautiful. So Blair we um, we have to wrap up. Lord knows, I wish we had like …We might need to bring Blair back for a part two because there’s just so much that we could ask you and so much that we want to pick your brain about um but as we close, what is one piece of advice that you would leave with women who want to honor God through their vocation, through their calling, through their work?

Blair Linne: One thought I have is: always be reminded of who you are in Christ. Know that that never changes. Depending upon the season of life that we’re in, our life may change, our schedules will change, sometimes we’re doing a whole lot and then we realiz, I gotta pull it back in to make sure I’m hitting off what’s you know, most important or what my priorities are in this season. So you hold those things loosely but you stand firm in who you are in Christ like that does not shift. And knowing who you are in Christ will help you so that when you have to shift things around because of your schedule changes, it won’t cause you to be discombobulated. You know you like where am I what’s going on what’s up from down. It’s like no, it’s all right if in this season I need to work a little less. I’m still in Christ-nothing has changed or shifted about who I am in the Lord. And if I’m in a season where I’m busier, praise be to god all right? Yeah I’m still in Christ. You know this doesn’t make me more loved by God or less loved by God. I’m loved by God and he’s loving me to eternity.

Courtney: Blair, it has been such a pleasure to get to know you I am so encouraged by this conversation and I love seeing and meeting women who are using what God put within them for his kingdom and glory and just talking with you today. It just sounds like that is exactly what you’re doing and so press on keep going and thank you for joining us today.

Blair Linne: And then thanks for having me on. Thank you.

Missie: Thanks sister.


MISSIE: And thanks to our listeners for joining us today. Be sure to check out our website at women work.net for today’s show notes. There will be more information about today’s conversation there.


COURTNEY: While you’re there, take a look at the Women and Work podcast discussion questions. We’ve provided those so that you can lead your friends from work, your neighborhood, or your church into useful conversations that will encourage you as you take  *your* next step of faith into your calling. 


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COURTNEY: And with that, we hope you’ve been inspired to more confidently step into your God-given calling and view your work as meaningful to the Kingdom of God. 

See you next time!