GOD: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher - The Podcast

63. What’s On Your Mind- Seeing With Divine Eyes

February 24, 2022 Jerry L. Martin, Scott Langdon
Show Notes Transcript

Scott Langdon [00:00:17] This is God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. A dramatic adaptation and continuing discussion of the book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin. He was a lifelong agnostic, but one day he had an occasion to pray. To his vast surprise, God answered- in words. Being a philosopher, he had a lot of questions, and God had a lot to tell him. Episode 89 Welcome to God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. 

Scott Langdon [00:01:06] Hello. This is Scott Langdon, creative director of God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. Welcome to Episode 63. In this episode, we continue with the format we like to call What's on Your Mind, where we delve into the email bag and respond to the questions, thoughts, feelings, and concerns about experiences with God given to us by listeners of this podcast and readers of the book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher. Maybe you might be able to identify with a particular question or perhaps you might have a thought similar to someone else and might want to look more deeply into it. Please feel invited to email us with your questions and comments to questions@godanautobiography.com. Thank you for spending this time with us. I hope you enjoy the episode. 

Scott Langdon [00:02:05] Well, Jerry, here we are at episode 63, another edition of What's On Your Mind, and we have some wonderful new comments to talk about today. Folks that have come to our web site and left comments and questions and concerns. And the last time we did this, which was the first time for this kind of format, it was really enjoyable. And we talked about how much we loved hearing from listeners and the questions that they have and the comments that they left us concerning their experiences with God were really moving and we want to continue to invite people to share their experiences and they can do that by emailing us questions@godanautobiography.com. So, this week we have some new comments to talk about, Jerry. And I want to start with a gentleman named Doug and he leaves a really short comment, but I love that I thought we should talk about it today because it's really cool. He says, "Jerry, I love your writing style. This is so engaging and inspirational," and you took that comment and had a great response to it, I thought. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:03:06] Yes, yes. At the time, I responded. I have a little more response now because I so much appreciate this message that he sent. I say, "Thank you, Doug. I appreciate the compliment. All I know how to do is to report what happened as it happened. If it is engaging, that is because God is present." And, you know, I always have to stress this. I'm always happy if someone likes the book and the podcast, but, and of course, I'm happy to take credit for whatever my role was. But 90% of it is just God talking. And of course, I'm asking questions. That's mainly what's going on. And then, God is holding forth, and God is engaging. I mean, that's what-- and it's a tribute to Doug that he's picking up on that. That God is engaging, and I also want to just mention the excellent thing Doug did in writing in. Because something we sometimes forget to do with one another is to give thanks and appreciation and point out a job well done or, you know, really like what you did. And this is value added or what they call in business value added, you know, to the human dynamics and people who are out, you might say, out front on some project as I am on God: An Autobiography needs moral support. You know, human beings are social beings. We all need moral support that kind of fuels our efforts. That energizes our efforts because we walk ar-- it's nice to have God, you know, saying, you're doing okay, Jerry. But it's also, you know, I'm a modal biped, and it's nice to have other people who are walking the Earth who are responding to what we're doing. 

Scott Langdon [00:05:14] Yeah, it is nice to hear other people responding. And, you know, as an artist and as a writer, I can attest to the fact that when you put something into the world, there is a good you know, if it's responded, if it's received well, there is a great feeling. You know, and you talk about this in the book. We have a nice moment in the episode, I think it's episode three or four. I don't recall. But there's a situation where you and God are talking and you had done something well and received some nice praise and you asked God, you know, is it okay to feel good about this? And God responds with, you know, it's look, it's cool, you know, get your ego out of it, but yeah, that's the job well done. That's of course, we did something well here and that feeling accompanies it. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:05:59] Yes. That's a good thing to remember from the book. There's a difference. I thought maybe this is just ego, but no, no, ego is overweening pride and so forth and that kind of lust for self. Whereas just being pride in something you do well is a completely different phenomenon, basically. And if someone thanks you for doing it well then that helps you do it well again. 

Scott Langdon [00:06:23] Yeah, yeah. And I've learned over the years of doing this career by doing this business that it's really interesting what's being communicated with a compliment, I think, and how you receive a compliment. Like for example, there was a gal I knew early on in my career, and we were finished with a particular performance of a show that was running for a long time, and we're coming out the stage door and somebody stopped this gal who was in the show and said to her, "You did such a wonderful job. We just thought you were great.' And she said, "Oh, no, I wasn't, but thank you anyway." And I just thought, wow, that's wow, that's tough. I mean, she had this self-depreciation sort of feeling. I'm being humble, you know, kind of feeling. But really what came across this person was saying, what you did affected me in a really, you know, deep way. And I want to share that with you that that affected me. And then for her to just say, oh, no, it didn't just, ooof, took the value right out of the sales, the wind right out of those sails. Right? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:07:34] Yeah, I've seen people do that and I thought what a harm they're doing. What I tend to think, if I don't feel I deserve the praise, I just thank them for being generous, you know, for giving me credit whether I deserve it or not. That's a nice thing. And if they got something from it all the better, you know, that's good for the world. 

Scott Langdon [00:07:56] Yeah. Yeah. So, it really has a lot to do with how we're receiving things, how we receive praise from others, how we receive and just all of the differences, some of you might call them signs, you might call them, you know, we talked about the little voice that sounded like a gnat to you. You know, what are the things that might be sort of pulling you and leading you? And I want to go right now to a comment by a fellow named Joe. He wrote into the website and he talked about an experience relatively similar to yours, except he felt like he went a different way than you did in response to it. Here's what Joe says. Joe says, I only had that experience once of what I call God’s voice speaking to me in my inner ear. It was the most uncanny experience of my life. I simply heard an inner voice gently but firmly call my name, “Joe”. I can’t get away from the impression it has made on me. But instead of being open and pure to the experience like you, I have been hiding and trying to cover my ears with mental fig leaves. I haven’t answered that inner voice yet–too afraid, too burdened with my own sense of unworthiness and impureness.” Boy, I feel that.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:09:09] Yeah, yeah, that's a great, great comment to send in. Can't we all relate to those moments in our lives, whether we hear or not, that we pull back out of the fear or feeling of unworthiness? And I wrote at the time, “Hi Joe, Thanks so much for sharing your experience. That moment may be the most important event in your life. I would make several suggestions. First, you should reenact the voice imaginatively, explore it, try to discern its meaning,” But I was thinking of, you know, you reply, you do this with conversations with people. What was being said there? What was the feeling? What do I get out of it as I revisit it? Anyway, I'll go on and my comment to Joe. “Gently but firmly” calling your name, “Joe,” could be an expression of love, or a call to service, or a warning, or a reminder of who you are, or … well, only you can explore this. Second, as you already know, you should try to open yourself to the experience. Relish it, try to live in terms of it. We are all unworthy, impure – that has nothing to do with your relation to God. In the course of my prayers, I was told, “In a sense, it is only sinners I love.” I have also been told not to “wallow in guilt” – that just distances you from God. Third, this may be the only time God will have occasion to communicate with you orally. Having God speak to you is not a goal; if someone does not hear the divine voice, that is not a failure. The only requirement is that you listen, and take it to heart, when God does have occasion to speak – or to communicate with you in some other way. If you pray, you may well get an inner sense of what God wants you to do. Pay attention to signs, such as significant coincidences, what Jung called synchronicities, or God’s putting people, opportunities, and problems in your path. Right now, the one thing you know is that God has taken an interest in you. That is blessing enough.” Yeah. I think Joe's experience is so full of meaning. And, you know, in a lot of the religious accounts, there's certainly biblical accounts, if people hear God, they kind of fall to the ground. 

Scott Langdon [00:12:12] Yeah. Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:12:13] And so my experience was not one of terrifying, I don't think-- I don't have the sense that Joe's experience as such was terrifying, gently but firmly, and yet he's terrified. And part of it is, whoa. You know, it's like you're called to an occasion of state. You know, you're supposed to meet the queen or something, but, oh, I'm not dressed right. You know, I don't know how to behave. So, you kind of shrink back, okay? None of us knows how to behave when we're called before, you know, God in person. And we think, oh, are we presentable? But you can't let those things interfere. You might say your soul is already quite attuned to God and you need to get the clutter between your soul and God out of the way so that you can just respond more wholeheartedly and try to figure out what does God want of you? And start looking for other signs. You know, God may never speak to Joe again orally. He may or may not, but he wants something of Joe. There's something going on. And so, Joe needs to start paying attention to these more subtle hints one gets of divine purpose. 

Scott Langdon [00:13:34] Yeah. I think another thing to consider is that we may not all hear you say to Joe, this might be the only occasion that God speaks to you orally. And yet God might say based on, you know, what He's saying to you in the book, is that (a) you see me all the time. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:13:55] Yes. 

Scott Langdon [00:13:55] You hear me all the time. You know, I'm always. So, there's the sense that God as the breath within our breath, the very being, the being. When that communication happens and we feel that we know it, but we are afraid of it, maybe we resist it for a second. One of the things that comes to you is the discernment ability, or at least, you know, the idea that how can I discern whether this voice is from God or isn't from God? So, I feel like once I realized the way, you know, God speaks to me just being open to listening, however, that is, there is a kind of calling that's not necessarily verbal, but there's a kind of calling. But then when you see when you move toward that calling, you start to see the fruit of what you're being called to do, what that would look like and feel like. So, the fruit I'm being called to do X, Y and Z. Well, what does X, Y and Z look like? Is it loving? Is it caring for others? Is it reducing suffering in the world? Is it? Because if it's just about power and about fame and money, those things that corrupt-- there is the pull to God, how God is calling you the speaking of God to discern that. You know what the fruits are because they are of God. It's evident, it seems. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:15:31] And you find out what they are concretely in your life by just following, just following, and you follow and do as best you can, you know, you usually don't have certainty. You don't-- God doesn't send you a little letter that has steps one, two, three to take. But you get a sense, oh, I'm in the right direction. You keep praying or meditating or whatever you do, try to keep a mind open to the divine prompts and just keep following them. And you will discover more and more as you go on of what it's all about. You might say your relation to God. 

Scott Langdon [00:16:08] We get the ego really trapped in that, and the fear of sort of the annihilation of the ego seems to just be right there in the front. Then it says- don't listen to this other thing because this is where the, you know, ego and non-ego, you know, all of it dwells. But that means I'm not going to be here anymore. But it's not that, it's a sort of surrender to this type of listening, if you will. It's an ever-expansive feeling of, yeah, I'm doing, yeah, this is the right direction. Even the knocks and the pings and that, you know, knocks you down and the bad times that come along, you just feel like, no, this is right. This is it. Because it's just born of that peacefulness. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:16:53] Yes. When the bad things happen or the things don't work out, even though you think you're kind of following what God wants you to do. Well, I always try to think, well, what is this telling me? You know, because the hard knocks and disappointments can also be informative about your spiritual journey, where you ought to be, where you ought to be going. 

Scott Langdon [00:17:17] You know, Joe, when I go back to his comment and I think about it, I think is I can't get away from the impression it made on me. And that is so true. I feel like if it keeps coming back up, if it keeps presenting itself to you, it is so worthy. A second look. And when I started really taking my photography more seriously a couple of years ago, I really started to have this sense of seeing a picture happen before I even pulled the camera up to my eye. This sense of look at this and just looking over there and then look at this through this lens and just really shortening, you know, getting a frame on it and then having this, isn't that beautiful snap. This just this compulsion, this feeling of, like, being led to this moment is something I want us to take a look at. It felt plural, you know, it felt like God was saying, look at this. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:18:10] Yes. 

Scott Langdon [00:18:11] And I was like, oh, yeah, this is cool. And then the snap of the picture and the want to share it on Facebook and all is I want to share with you this experience I had with God. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:18:22] Yes, yes. Yes. 

Scott Langdon [00:18:23] This moment. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:18:23] Well, to some extent, you start looking at things with what you might call divine eyes, you know, divinely infused eyes and you start looking at other people that way. And it's a more loving look and a more appreciative look. And you take in the finer aspects of reality, whether you're taking photographs or just looking at people around you or your situation that you're in, you pick up on deeper levels of its reality. 

Scott Langdon [00:19:41] Jenny left a comment on the website and it's so beautiful and so detailed, and you and she have an exchange together, and I'm so glad we're revisiting it today. She starts out by saying this, “I find myself relating to so much of your experience that I’m not even sure where to begin. I also went through a time where God would gently prompt me to do something or not to do something. Frequently I would be nervous that He would ask me to do something strange, but He seemed only interested in my learning to listen and respond, and in the process, to build up my trust in Him.”

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:20:16] Let's pause there, Scott. The letter goes on with more interesting things in it, but there's so much right here that we can all learn from. God is prompting her to do something. God usually, my experience is God contacted, you know, communicated with me because He wanted me to do something. In my case, He wanted me to write a book, but often it's just something that day God wants me to do. And so, God is prompting her to do something or not do this, not to do that. And as people have listened to the early episodes, no, I went through a training very much like this, and I assume that's what Jenny is alluding to, where I would be told to do things that didn't even make sense. Abigail fixed-- we were in when she still had an apartment in New York, she had fixed breakfast for us, so we sat down to eat and then I got the guidance don't eat. Well, no purpose at all. Now, don't eat, and okay, I sat for about 20 minutes. 

Scott Langdon [00:21:19] Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:21:20] And then I got the message, okay, you can eat now. And I got these other arbitrary commands that still seem very strange. And I, too, as Jenny said, felt, you know, what if God told me to jump off the bridge? Well, I'm not going to do that. And later in the-- there's a later episode praying about Abraham and Isaac when I ask God, "You wouldn't ask me to do something like that, would you?" And no, no. The whole story is kind of overstated to drive a point home, God tells me. The point of the importance of obedience. But God, so, God can ask you strange things, and I think Jenny takes it exactly right, or at least as the same way I did, which is no God is a kind of training in listening and responding and in trust. You build up trust, you establish this relationship, and it's important to go through that. And since God may ask you to do things you don't understand, but if they're not actually wrong, I prayed early, "Please, God, don't tell me to do anything ethically wrong or unloving to Abigail," and was assured No, no. God would not do that. See that's where the trust comes from. 

Scott Langdon [00:22:40] I know while we were working on this podcast, I had a similar experience and while I don't feel it was an oral, you know, voice speaking to me in English, I felt a couple of different times when I would get stuck on a particular episode, didn't know how to do some technical thing, or maybe I didn't know how to portray, you know, you in a situation, or maybe the the words of God in that particular episode were specific to me in my life at that moment or something. I was grappling with something else. Whatever the case may be, I do remember a couple of different times where this sense came to me- just do the work. It was this, I don't know where to start and I don't have enough time, and I don't know if this is going to work, and I've got to get this in, and blah, blah, blah. And then just the sense, the sense was just do the work, just sit down and do it. And when I did that. When, okay, I seemed to heed the call, if you will. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:23:44] Yes. 

Scott Langdon [00:23:44] Getting into the process, then it was like we were flowing. It was like there was I enjoyed it, and I was there, and then I felt like, how about this idea? Oh, no, this sounds better. And, oooh. And it was like this duet. It was like me and not me?

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:23:59] Yes, yes, yes. 

Scott Langdon [00:24:00] Is that God? I think it is. There is a not me. That's like this is a bad idea. Don't do that, or this is a better idea. This is more poetic or, oh, okay. You know, and it's this dance. But once I submitted to that, just do the work, the actual command of just do it, then the dance happened. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:24:20] You know, I'm often told, in effect, just put one foot in front of the other and keep going. And I have the same experience. I tend to do things as following orders, but God has corrected me on that. No, it should be more like a musical group where different players play off one another. You know? 

Scott Langdon [00:24:42] Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:24:42] And God uses the expression, do a duet with God, you know, each day. So I do my steps forward. God comes along with me and prompts me on the next step. 

Scott Langdon [00:24:58] And I think one of the interesting sort of ecumenical messages of this book is that virtually every major religion for sure has their version of this way of being in a dance with God, communion with God. Thich Nhat Hahn, the great Vietnamese monk who just passed away recently. And I learned a lot about walking meditation from Thich Nhat Hahn. Just the idea of being out walking every day and consciously, mindfully being in the present moment of that and practicing that. Like that is something to do that is the equivalent of just do the work, right? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:25:40] Yes. 

Scott Langdon [00:25:40] So you go out and you take the walk and you take the, you know-- and the time offered is received in this, you know, just lovely, peaceful way I find. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:25:52] Wonderful. 

Scott Langdon [00:26:19] Now, Jenny moves on with her comment, and I love how she slides into this beautiful song. And here's what she writes. She says, “For me, this verse best explains this kind of loving prompt: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding,Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you. -Psalm 32:9. There’s a kind of loving intimacy in being led by eye contact or the fingertips or the hand, and not by the bit and bridle. To me, it implies relationship, not dominance.”

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:27:07] Yeah, let's stop there again. It's a nice, lengthy email, which I also like. I like the short ones, but I also like the ones that go into detail. And here she has hit on such important points. One is in just characterizing what the experience of being in divine connection is, and it's not like horse and bridle. It's not where somebody got a rider's crop and hitting you on the back leg or anything like that. It's a kind of loving intimacy that is subtle, and that's why it's easy to miss for people not even, you know, to ever be aware of it in their whole lives. But it's there available to people. And as she points out, it implies relationship, not dominance. One of the parts of God: An Autobiography that I found people reacting negatively to is the part about obedience. And I'm told, especially in the discussions with around Abraham and subsequent sections, that obedience like this is a fundamental lesson. And but, to American ears, you know, we very much believe in everybody making their own decisions. We're autonomous, we're independent, we're free. We create ourselves virtually, and nobody gets the bosses around. And to their ears, this sounded like, oh, no, I don't want a bossy God. But that's, I think, a misunderstanding that the relationship of one is it's almost like the leading partner or I suppose in musical groups there must be someone who's kind of setting the rhythm or the tone of the group. And when you go along well, like an orchestra and a conductor, the conductor is being mean to you. It's you're just making it possible for what you do with your violin, to work with what everybody else is doing with their violins and horns and everything else. And God is the loving partner, just He happens to be the authoritative partner. And the intimate, loving relationship is one that involves God leading us forward. But that is not a relation of dominance in this negative sense at all. It's a relation of two souls, if we call God a soul, of two souls in harmony. 

Scott Langdon [00:29:43] I love that metaphor, and I'll take it in a kind of personal way because I spent a lot of time singing and choir growing up. I mean, the earliest experiences of my very early years were as a boy soprano and then singing in the choir and then all through high school and college. And, you know, when I was teaching, conducting the choirs and such. And choral music in the Church of Christ tradition is, it's an a capella tradition as it is. And so they're singing in their four part harmony is just, you know, always on point wherever you would go, you know, to go to worship at any church. You know, it's wonderful to hear that acapella singing. And one of the things I took from that always is all of the individual voices that it takes to make the one voice. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:30:37] Yes. 

Scott Langdon [00:30:37] I mean, when you go to acquire a concert and you hear an acapella sound and there is that conductor, as you mentioned, and everyone is in the service of this one sound. And, you know, if somebody is sticking out or somebody's sound doesn't quite fit, that it does distract, it takes away. But everyone is trying to you know, if you're a when you do a solo, you have a different sort of sound than you do when you sing in a choir because you're trying to service the whole one voice of it. And, you know, whatever theological trouble one might have with one particular group or another, I can just tell you that a cappella singing in whatever tradition reminds me of that one voice ness. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:31:23] Yes. And that one voice actually empowers the individual voice. 

Scott Langdon [00:31:27] Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:31:27] Lets it become part of something bigger than itself. Right? And do something it could never possibly do alone. 

Scott Langdon [00:31:36] Mm hmm. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:31:37] But that requires someone to be directing this, and they all fit together. And that harmony stuff's very challenging. It always seems to me. 

Scott Langdon [00:31:48] It is. Well, Jenny continues with her comment, and she says this, “Over time, I learned that if I didn’t follow the prompts, He would simply be quiet and wait. Eventually I would catch on to this and return to the last thing He had said, and start from there again. Once I learned this kind of trust, and learned His voice and His touch, I ceased to feel such specific prompts so often, though I still hear them from time to time. Through this process, I grew from fear and doubt into obedience and trust and from there, to love and relationship. But it’s all just such a mystery, a beautiful mystery.”

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:32:29] Yeah, I was very impressed. You know, Jenny is a remarkably spiritually attuned individual that she was able, having this remarkable experience to then identify these three separate stages, which I think many people with religious lives can relate to first, fear and doubt. What is this? And you know, the fear that we were discussed of I'm unworthy and that kind of thing. But many fears or it's irrational. This is insane. It's a cult. Who knows what the fears can be? It's when you embarrass me in this way or that way or hurt my business or my profession, my friendships, groups. So you go through all this fear and doubt and then kind of trying to go along with it. You reach a stage of obedience and trust and where you start following the voice and it's okay. Life actually feels right rather than feeling wrong. And so you learn to trust whatever guidance you're getting, whether it's coming through a voice or through other prompts in your experience. And then finally you get something not nearly so problematic and not so external. Not obedience doesn't become obedience to something outside yourself anymore, but it's to love in a relationship. It's a loving relationship in which the two of you are acting. Two of you, meaning you and God, are acting harmoniously together. And that's that final stage and that's so beautifully expressed. I don't know anyone who said it better than Jenny, and her earlier comment also struck me. "Once I learned this kind of trust, I learned His voice and His touch, I ceased to feel such specific prompts. So often, though, I still hear of them from time to time." And what that reminds me of is the story of Joseph. I was struck once when I read Genesis, which I'd probably never read through until I had my experience. But you get to Joseph, you've got all the patriarchs and you know, Abraham is hearing God giving orders and following and Jacob is wrestling with God and so forth. People are always hearing God and encountering God, you might say, from the outside in, And Joseph strikes me as so attuned to God that God never needs to speak from the clouds or do anything like that. He doesn't have to wrestle. He's just in sync with God. 

Scott Langdon [00:35:12] Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:35:12] And so God doesn't appear. And that-- this is what Jenny has gone through. You get to that final thing. It's almost like a marriage where at first you go through a lot of conflict in negotiations and you just eventually I remember a couple have been married. Oh, for 60 years. Well, you know, from grad school on and they were older people now. And I remember having dinner with them and at one point I had some question I had asked them and the husband turns to the wife and says, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" And she nods. And then he goes on to say what they're both thinking. And she's nodding along to that. And that is-- that is remarkable. But that is an analog to developing an intimate relation to the divine or we don't need that here of voices maybe anymore and or in having these external encounters. It's entirely a kind of loving familiarity. 

Scott Langdon [00:36:13] Mhm. Yes. Yes. Digging back into the mailbag a little bit here. We've got a wonderful comment that I just was really excited to read. This is from a gentleman named Richard. He wrote this. He says, "I finally got in here and I'm so glad that I did. What a beautiful story about coming together with Abigail and the first of many conversations with the God of all happening right by her side. I'm still feeling warmed by the amazing love embedded in your telling of this. That is so God." I love that. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:36:46] Isn't that beautiful? 

Scott Langdon [00:36:47] That is so God. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:36:49] Indeed. Indeed.

Scott Langdon [00:36:51] He goes on, Richard says, “Your experience is different than mine, but also amazingly similar. I didn’t have the visual aspect of it, but the voice was as though I had an audio receptor in my ear. You said in Chapter Two that the voice spoke with too much authority to ignore. I’ve always described it as “thoughts stronger than I can ignore. The most recent message to me was last week, when the voice said, “I will not lead you into calamity.” I too need to trust the voice and act on its leading. It was not an accident or just good fortune that we met.”

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:27] Yeah. Isn't that a wonderful account? 

Scott Langdon [00:37:31] That's so God. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:32] So God, so God. And I wrote to him at the time, Richard, thank you for sharing your story with us, so aptly expressed as “thoughts stronger than I can ignore.” You and I have received a great blessing. You have to assume it is for a purpose, since there are many other ways, usually more subtle, that God reaches out to people. I agree that it is not just random chance that we connected. Take the voice seriously and see where it leads, and please let us hear from you again.” What was striking me here as I read over that exchange is Richard coming to the podcast is not chance you know there's real question for any listener. Why are you here? Why did God, we would see it, why did God bring you here? It is not just a chance. See, there are a lot of some of the best made movies that are really looking for meaning in a meaningless world. And they often start with emphasizing that everything is random and chance and nothing has any meaning to it. And then people try to glean some meaning somewhere in some corner of life. But no, we should not assume things are a random chance that they happen. There's a lot of chance in the world, but there's also divine purpose and human purposes. And there's some reason Richard is here and there's some reason each listener is here, and it's not going to be the same reason for everybody. It's not that everyone has to go through the same stages that Jenny told us about or through the stages that Richard is describing. Everybody is going to have their own journey, and it may be the reverse order or something completely not resembling these stages. It may or may not. The challenge for each person is to figure out why God wants me here and why? What am I supposed to do with this experience of listening to these podcasts, listening hopefully to the dramatic adaptation of God: An Autobiography, the first 44 episodes of. Why am I doing that? And what is, you might say, the take away from me. What am I supposed to be learning? What are the prompts? There may be divine prompts. One way God speaks to you may not be a voice and may not be something some neighbor says to you. It might be something, right in this podcast. This may be one of the-- this is one of the ways. God is not absent here, after all. This is one of the ways God is speaking to people and speaking to them, not generically, is here's some big story of the big theology or something. But speaking to people in ways that they can use in their own lives, but not only can use, but that God wants them to use once in their particular life. So you have for your what is it I'm supposed to do with this? Why am I here? And it might be something you're supposed to go do. Or it might be something you're supposed to realize, change within oneself. A different attitude, a different self estimate. Maybe you need more self esteem or you need to develop a certain aspect of yourself. Where it can be the internal project. Half of life is external, the other half is internal, and the internal project is at least as important as the external project. And there are divine goals and both. So each individual needs to ponder that, pray about it, meditate about it, or just think about it as they're walking in the woods and see what they can come up with. And let us know. 

Scott Langdon [00:41:34] Absolutely. That's really, that's something that brings us both a lot of joy, I think, not just reading the comments and questions from the website, but also when I talk to people in my daily life, you know, when we talk about our experiences here and there, something I read on Facebook or something I see on Instagram or, you know, it's just just seeing how people are. This is mysterious or this is interesting or, you know, and just talking about those experiences and we would love to give you a place to do that here, and we'd love to hear what you have to say so you can email us anytime with a question or comment questions@godanautobiography.com. We love doing this episode and we can't wait to do more. 

Scott Langdon [00:42:30] Thank you for listening. To God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. Subscribe for free today wherever you listen to your podcasts and hear a new episode every week. You can hear the complete dramatic adaptation of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin, by beginning with episode one of our podcast and listening through its conclusion with Episode 44. You can read the original true story in the book from which this podcast is adapted. God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher, available now at Amazon.com, and always at godanautobiography.com. Pick up your own copy today. If you have any questions about this or any other episode, please email us at questions@godanautobiography.com and experience the world from God's perspective as it was told to a philosopher. This is Scott Langdon. I'll see you next time.