Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Willie MacKenzie and I’m Director of Publishing at CFP. My job is varied but it comes down to being a problem solver, trying to sort out the more thorny problems that pop up which can be fun but also can be exasperating!
What is your favourite thing about what you do?
It’s meeting folk and developing books ideas. Some of the folk I am blessed to meet are amazingly bright and perceptive with inspirational ideas, I often come away from a meeting feeling challenged, convicted and stimulated, both mentally & spiritually.
What is one thing about you that other people think is unusual?
Folk might be surprised by my musical taste. In one sense it is fairly standard, indie/folk/acoustic but then I have times, mainly when I am rushing, when some good techno/dance music is required.
What are your three favourite CFP books?
This is a diplomatically tricky one for me to answer as I meet a lot of our authors regularly and need to evade the inevitable queries! Consequently, I have decided to restrict myself to books by authors now in Glory.
Firstly, Robert Culver’s Systematic Theology. It is the biggest book we have done but it is actually very readable for everyone. Culver was just a remarkable fellow, I have so many stories about him and I only met him when he was in his mid–80s. He was inspirational and I look forward to meeting him again in the next life. You can read more about him here: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-old-man-and-his-big-book
Secondly, Psalms by the Day by Alec Motyer. I grew up with the Psalms, still worship in an exclusive Psalmody church and just love the Psalms. Even with such a heavy presence of Psalms in my life what Alec did with the Psalms, a new translation with explanatory notes and a devotional reading presented the Psalms in ways that I had not heard before and was wonderfully fresh and warm.
Thirdly, at the other end of the size spectrum Count It All Joy by Helen Roseveare. All I’ll say is if you haven’t read it, find a spare few minutes, (you won’t need much more as it a wee book) and correct that deficiency, you will thank me!
Do you have any interesting tales to tell about your time at CFP?
Shortly after I joined, I swapped my new, sporty car for my boss’s 7 seat minivan so I could take a load of books to a conference. A few short hours later I had a phone call from the aforementioned boss “Hi Willie, I crashed your car…” My reply was “Oh yes, good joke, very funny”. However, it was no joke, he evidently took it for a spin and while reliving his youth took a corner too quickly, flew across a ditch and through a barbed wire fence, with one piece of barbed wire being dragged up and over the car leaving it scratched beyond belief. Needless to say my boss was rather sheepish thereafter!
Is there something you wish people would stop asking you?
“Your wife’s from Louisville?! How’d you guys meet?” At first I would give a detailed account, but after 10 years & 100s of re–telling it has been edited down to “T4G ‘06, email, skype, visits, married”.
What is your favourite verse?
I used to say Romans 8:28–39 but the last few years I have found myself again and again going to Psalm 103:8–17, particularly in the Scottish Metrical Psalm version (http://www.psalm-singing.org/psalms/scottish-1650_1/psalm_103/). I just can’t get enough of it.
What was the last book you read for fun?
I tend to read history and have appreciated (as enjoyed might not be the best word) Antony Beevor’s books Stalingrad & Berlin so I read his book Ardennes 1944. It was very readable but perhaps not quite so incredible as his earlier works which, while pretty grim, were fascinating.
What is the best thing about working in the Highlands of Scotland?
People travel from all over the world to visit for our stunning scenery, but the weather can be uncooperative. Living so close you can drop everything and run when the weather is right.
Is there anything we should know about you that hasn’t already been asked?
I am an avid follower of Scottish Rugby. I either want to talk about it all the time, or absolutely DO NOT want to talk about it. Anyone who has any acquaintance with the hope and disappointment, misery and brief moments of delight of Scottish Rugby History will understand why. Somehow, despite it all, I remain hopeful, with sporting glory coming “in a couple of years”, I try not to think about how long I’ve said that!