Scott and Jerry engage in an insightful conversation, hearing from listener Joe again, and responding to Eve's fascinating questions and comments about God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher.
Why is God so elusive? Our listeners asked this question and more for this episode of the series What's On Your Mind.
Would You Like To Share Your Experience With God? We Want To Hear About Your Spiritual Journey!
Read God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher.
Begin the dramatic adaptation of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher
Related Episodes: [What's On Your Mind] Trusting God; Is God Hiding?; Seeing With Divine Eyes; Mindful Moments; God's Frequency; Spiritual Living; A Relationship With God; Spiritual Judgment
Related Episodes: [Video] Does God Still Speak To Us?
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 67.
Scott Langdon [00:01:05] Welcome to Episode 67 of God: An Autobiography, The Podcast, and another edition of What's On Your Mind. I'm your host, Scott Langdon. In this episode, Jerry and I go into the e-mail bag and respond to the questions and comments that have come to us from listeners of this podcast and readers of the book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher. This is our third time around with this once a month format, and we're very excited to share with you today the experiences of three beautiful friends who wrote in and shared those experiences with us. If you'd like to share your experience of God, or if you'd like to ask a question or leave a comment, please feel invited to email us with your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for spending this time with us. I hope you enjoy the episode.
Scott Langdon [00:02:02] Here we are back again. This is episode 67, the third time around, Jerry, for What's On Your Mind, where we go into the mailbag, if you will, and answer some questions. I'm excited to get into this one.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:02:12] Yes, I am, too.
Scott Langdon [00:02:14] We want to start off with a follow up from-- actually, a couple of follow ups in this episode. Jenny wrote into the website. She was a reader of the book and had a marvelous experience with God and was very attuned to it and was very struck by your book, reading your book and thought, wow, I have an experienced it's very much like yours and I want to read in and talk to you about it.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:02:38] Now, Jenny is extraordinary. If anybody missed the last episode of What's On Your Mind, they should go back and hear Jenny's full, it was a long email, but it was like reading Saint Teresa or someone. It was a very significant, intensive religious experience. Very well understood. And the lessons of it are beautifully articulated by Jenny. And so she's just a blessing to us all, and that's well worth revisiting. Or go back and listen to it again because you'll get more out of it the second time you listen to it.
Scott Langdon [00:03:14] I agree 100%. Well, we'd like to continue with Jenny an email follow up from her. And she says this. She says: “I find this so stirring! I myself have come to understand Him in the same way- that human recognition, intimate, authentic relationship, is at the heart of who He is. It’s like an extraordinary secret, it’s like a pearl of great price hidden in the weeds of religious thought. I’ve often thought it’s even reflected in His names: He is that He is, He is there, and He is ours- He is the God of His people.”
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:03:57] Isn't that wonderful? Maybe we stop there, she goes on with a further interesting observation. But there's a lot already from what she said, and I responded so much to her finding the stirring because I found it stirring and amazing when I was told, because I was asking with some irritation why God is so hidden and why does He even care whether we're noticing, and if He cares why doesn't He write His name in the sky in letters or something?
Scott Langdon [00:04:29] Right.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:04:29] But anyway, so I wrote back to Jenny. “That human recognition and relationship is at the heart of who God is was one of the most striking things I was told. I don’t think I quite took it in at first, because it is profound in its implications. Later I came across the Buber-Rosenzweig translation of God’s name. The Hebrew, they say, suggests presence, not just “I am” but “I will be-there …” God will be-there with Moses, and with us, whatever we face.” Whatever, you know, whatever life throws our way. And this just seems to me amazing. And it's true. It's amazing, too.
Scott Langdon [00:05:49] Yes. It is a wonderful comment. And I think that the idea of when I think deeply into I will be there, what that could mean. It seems to be– it's so insistent. God seems to be so insistent when God says that.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:06:05] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:06:06] It seemed to me to make a point that there is nothing you're going to be doing where I am not present.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:06:14] Exactly.
Scott Langdon [00:06:15] Anything you do. And as we get into, you know, later parts of the book where Jerry, you know, where you and God are talking about the duality inherent in the creation of the world, in the arena in which we exist. So the good and the bad that God's self is also conflicted with the up and down and back and forth.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:06:37] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:06:38] You know, and so there is this insistence that in our troubles, in our-- it's not that I promise to be there. It's that there's nothing you can do, good or bad, where I'm not present, even in your darkest, most terrible decisions. I'm right there in the midst of that decision. In the midst of that consequence, in the midst of that karma, if you will, in the consequences. What we are doing is also God's doing right there.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:07:05] Yeah, because we're also on our non dual side. You might say that, you know, we're agents of God, one person. It was the only review the book God: An Autobiography, got in a children's magazine or parent's magazine about children. And the theme they took from the whole book was, we are God's ambassadors. You know, God is acting and speaking through us. And that's also part of the story. And so God is always there in whatever we're doing. And the last, as you say, Scott, even when doing something terrible, God does not turn His face away. He is sad, disappointed, whatever. But of course, what He's interested in is our rebounding and turning around, turning our face God word again.
Scott Langdon [00:07:59] Jenny continues. She says, “Also, I have wrestled with His elusiveness. It makes me wonder about the necessity and purpose of faith.”
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:08:09] Yeah. Isn't that a wonderful final question? You know, when we have to wrestle with the elusiveness, That is part of the life of relating to the divine is wrestle with that. And then you wonder, as I was just sort of irritated when I was posing this question to God, you know, why does it matter? And then why be elusive? And I didn't press the discussion at that point. Why be elusive? But Jenny is with her spiritual reasoning is kind of saying, well, why would that be? And I think she's certainly pointed in the right direction. Somehow faith is necessary. And what I came to think as we went through the whole series of dialogues with God, as I experienced those, that relating to God isn't just a matter of believing X, Y, and Z, you know, believing something. It's a matter of reorienting your soul, reforming your life, much the way you were just talking, Scott. You've got to put away a lot of other things. You're not going to- if God wrote his name in the sky, you don't have to put away anything. You don't have to change. There's no spiritual transformation. But life with God is involved essentially with spiritual transformation. You become, as the religion sometimes say, the different religions of the world often say you become in some sense, a new person because you've put away a lot of your previous life. Like a child growing up, you had children's toys. You put them away now and you're doing other stuff. Or the Bachelor. You had a bachelor life and now you have a married life. And so you become a new type of person. And that's what she's on to, it's a life of faith in some sense. And it's got to be faith rather than, you might say, proof. Oh, to have this impact on us, to actually spiritually attune us to God, to get us close to the divine.
Scott Langdon [00:10:15] Yes. Yes. One of my favorite authors, the late Dr. Marcus Borg, wrote about this in a way that really impacted me, the idea of faith. He talked about it as the fiduciary relationship, an aspect of faith, this idea of trust as opposed to a belief system. So I know in a tradition that I grew up in, my take on it anyway, the way I understood it to be was that faith was about a belief system, that if you had a lack of faith, that means you weren't doing the beliefs in the right way. It was very much a transactional type of situation. And when I read Marcus Borg talking about faith in this way and this fiduciary relationship, I thought about how, you know, we do that. That word seems to come up in banking institutions and things like that.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:11:19] Yes, yes.
Scott Langdon [00:11:21] In this relationship. But I also think about it in terms of how we relate to one another in that we just we go out and in some ways just trust that people aren't going to come up and kill us.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:11:34] Yes. Yeah.
Scott Langdon [00:11:35] Like we just have this sort of ongoing, you know, air of good faith with our neighbors that when we walk into a store, you're not going to smash me in the face and take my clothes. And we just kind of go through life with that until it seems to be interrupted and broken, broken in by somebody who takes that social contract, if you will, and breaks it apart. But that sort of implicit I'm walking with you looking for your best, hoping for the best in you and moving you toward your best, that's implicit in our relationship with God, I think.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:12:08] Yes, that's exactly right. I used to think, in fact, I almost never used the term faith in my own writing and thinking. And that's probably because I used to think of it as unsubstantiated belief. Beliefs that have no evidence for. That even Kierkegaard, who's a wonderful thinker, is that phrase leap of faith kind of sounds like that. That, I'll just leap off the cliff in faith. Well, that was not appealing to me personally, but I think you're right. In fact, I think it's a good scholarly point, Scott, that the word translated as faith really means something more like trust. And trust means you put yourself, what is that insurance company where the good hands people, you know, sort of put your life in the hands of God. You get married, you kind of put a lot of your life in the hands of your wife, and a lot of your other relations. So, I think you're quite right, you put your life in the hands of your friends and, you know. You've become involved in theatrical productions. You put your life, that part of your life in the hands of your colleagues at the theater, fellow actors, producer, set people, etc.. So that's very important, and it's hard to have even that kind of social trust if you're constantly thinking, what's the advantage for me?
Scott Langdon [00:13:32] Yes.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:13:32] What you call the transactional. What can I get out of it if you're doing that? I mean, you can't even be a good friend. You know, you can't you can't be much of anything if you're always just thinking this narrow minded way of, here's a goody I can grab of some sort money or popularity or or the primo position, you know, be the number one role. You've got to set those side for any of these good relationships to flourish.
Scott Langdon [00:14:00] Yeah. Yeah. My best friend of over 35 years, we talk on the phone every day. We text all the time, but , yeah, we do make time to talk every day. He lives down at the Jersey Shore, and here I am in Bristol, Pennsylvania, and we probably only see each other in the flesh maybe two times a year, maybe.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:14:22] Yes, yes.
Scott Langdon [00:14:22] And if we're lucky, a few more times. But we have this relationship because there is this sort of understanding between us where sometimes, you know, I'm on a call, it'll just be the two of us cracking each other up, and it's funny. But sometimes I might need something. I might need him an ear or some advice or--.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:14:39] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:14:39] He might need them, so, my role within that relationship switches back and forth sometimes. And I feel that way about God too.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:14:50] Yeah.
Scott Langdon [00:14:51] That, we talked about that relationship in some other episodes where it's this sort of dance, but in a way it's sometimes God needs me to listen and pay attention to something specific over here. Sometimes I need to, you know, say, God, this is really frustrating for me. And I feel God listening, if you will. It's hard to articulate that, but you just kind of know that you're not just screaming to the wind. There's something there.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:15:19] Yes, I think that's exactly right. When to talk and when to listen- two of the most fundamental elements of human life, aren't they?
Scott Langdon [00:15:26] Yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:15:26] You know, I often, you know, I have to stop myself because I realize at a certain moment in conversation now this is a moment that she needs to talk. It might be my wife or it might just be the friend and not a moment for me to be, oh, trying to give advice, even trying to be helpful, but just be quiet a bit and let it come out as it comes out. And I do think one of the keys and we talk about prayer a lot, which is, of course, central to my spiritual life. Start every day just let God know how it is with you, that's important, that God wants to know. And you can think, well, God's reading my mind. Well, no, God says I'm not a mind reader. That's not the role. You know, we talk about in a way, God is in my mind. On the other hand, it needs to be a relationship and a relationship you need to tell your partner in relationship how it is with you and let them take that in. And then there are times, of course, especially with God, you need to listen and pay attention and do what you feel the divine urging is.
Scott Langdon [00:16:39] And I think sometimes I hear God telling me how it is with Him.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:16:45] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:16:46] When I maybe watch the news or maybe I see a film or maybe I, you know, whatever it is that you sort of look into the world, if you will, and you see how it is with people and that's how it is with God. God is, in that sense, the other.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:17:06] Yeah. And their pain is also God's pain.
Scott Langdon [00:17:09] Yes. Yes.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:17:09] Yeah, yeah. That's exactly right.
Scott Langdon [00:17:12] Well, Jenny has given us so much to talk about so far, and she has written in more. So we will come back and visit Jenny again because she's--.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:17:21] Okay, the future.
Scott Langdon [00:17:23] Yeah. Such wonderful discussion for us. Thank you, Jenny, if you're listening. Another follow up, Jerry, I want to go back to Joe. If you remember the last time we had an episode, Joe wrote into the website and he talked about having an experience similar to yours where he felt, you know, God was calling him, but he was afraid and didn't know really what to do. And then he felt like maybe that was going to be it. And you answered him by saying, you know, that was a great blessing.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:18:13] Yes, yes!
Scott Langdon [00:18:13] We share that blessing, and look, that might be the only time God reaches out to you in this particular way. And so consider it a blessing. Well, Joe writes back and he says this: “Blessing enough will have to do for now. Nothing has happened since our last correspondence. Thank you for your kind words. I still feel fear on my side. Thankfully, firm has not morphed into force. Don’t know the source of my fear. It seems primitive and pre-verbal. Maybe something to do with unresolved issues from a childhood growing up under the abusive excesses of an alcoholic father. Whatever it is, I can’t seem to shake the sense of fear, even with my most rational, intellectual approaches. Oh well, I will just let it go for now. If He has the interest to call me by name, He has the ability to reach me without further violation to my sensitivities. How this happens notably, I humbly leave up to God. Best always, Joe.”
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:19:15] Yeah. Yeah. This is Joe is undergoing a struggle, but there is this blessing that I of course told him about last time. God said, Joe. That's all he's heard from God. Just Joe firmly and gently, I think was the word. And he alludes to that. But the firm, it hasn't gotten more violently firm. But I wrote back this. “Joe, thanks for sharing your current situation with me. You cannot wave a wand and make your fear go away. It looks as if you will have to just live with that a while. God is already there for you. It doesn’t have to be a voice. You have to remain attentive, but it doesn’t help to eagerly look around for signs of God’s presence or love or guidance. About all you can do is to remain open to grace. One exercise might help — it has helped me with fear in particular — and that is “bracketing.” As an exercise, just imagine: what if I didn’t feel fear, how would the world look different? Joe, you are in my heart and in my prayers.” But my advice there is it's worked for me sometimes, where I have some obstacle to doing what I feel the divine call is to do. And the obstacle I've identified in a particular way. And so I imagine, well, now let's suppose that obstacle were not here, were not present. Let's just bracket it. Just set it aside for a moment. Well, the situation becomes vastly clearer, and sometimes I learned that wasn't the problem at all, but that there's something else that's actually holding me back. And it might not even be fear. I've somehow I found it easier to produce it to myself as fear, but it's really something else. And then I need to deal with that obstacle. And of course, we don't know enough about Joe, the alcoholic father. You know, we all have challenges in life that very often go back to childhood and in situations we had no control over. And but those can also, you know, Joe sticks to it. God has called him. We know God is interested in Joe not just because of our own theological views, but because God has heard-- Joe has heard from God. And he may just have to sit around or he might just have to proceed to live his own life as best he can to deal with whatever these sources of fear are. This might well, the frustration Joe is experiencing, might well be a spiritual opportunity. It's very hard to know what you might say crack open on spiritual insight and a closer relationship to God. You know, sometimes they say it's the cracks in the ceiling that let the light in. And the cracks in our lives may sometimes be the very thing that puts us in connection. And so we just keep pulling for Joe and we hope to hear from him again.
Scott Langdon [00:23:05] Yes. Yes. Bracketing is a wonderful exercise. I think I first heard about it from Abigail. I think when I interviewed her for the podcast and she talked about having done it I think early on in your experience and how was she going to sort of what did she think about it all? You know, what would my wife say? I think was one of the episodes that- right? And she you know, she's well, let me bracket out some of these things. And I found that really interesting as an exercise. And when I do it in a very similar way, if I can bracket out the obstacle and then say, you know what, if this weren't here sometimes for me now not always, and it's not the same for everyone, I know, but sometimes that thing that I have bracketed out, once I see the clear picture without the bracketed stuff, sometimes that bracketed stuff just fizzles away.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:24:02] Yeah, right? It's amazing.
Scott Langdon [00:24:04] You know, it's like this is the obstacle to everything. And when I bracket it out, it's oh, it's really nothing at all, honestly, if you see it, you know. But it seems to be the most-- often for me, it seems to be the most obvious thing that's right in front of me. So I can, I don't want to say blame it on that, but everything just seems to point to that, and so we give this obstacle so much weight and bracketing it out in that way just seems to be a nice way of seeing sometimes that it is just fizzle. It's just show.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:24:34] Well and sometimes it empowers your other abilities. I have this problem, had it forever. The teachers would point it out to me in school, that I tend to doubt my own abilities, even though I've done a lot of things, you know, succeeded. If you have got these basic dispositions or complexes or whatever they are, then actual evidence that I can do things doesn't refute them.
Scott Langdon [00:25:04] Right, right, right.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:25:05] You know? The mindset just stays in place and I'm trying to write this other book. Fortunately, The God: An Autobiography did not put much of that kind of pressure on me because it was God's words and I just had this duty to go report them. And so that's fine. And but this other book, it'll be my book, although it, of course, is fully informed by God: An Autobiography, but I always think, gee, there's all this stuff I don't know. I'm writing for an audience of people who will know this, that and the other thing, things I don't know, and I can always imagine, oh, there's someone else who should be writing this book who just carry these ideal characteristics that I don't have. Well, I've just found recently, if that comes upon me when I'm trying to do some work. I just told myself, bracket it out.
Scott Langdon [00:25:58] Yes.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:25:58] And, that enables me, okay, that's there. It's not going to go away. I'll have it again next time. But right now, we're not paying attention to that. We're actually doing the work. So. And then that is a release of energy. That other thing was draining a lot of energy. Bracketing it means, well, it's not going to be the energy drain right now.
Scott Langdon [00:26:22] Right.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:26:22] And so we just move on with a kind of freedom. It's a bit like Jonathan Livingston's Seagull, which is a beautifully written thing that has a kind of parable that has one message, which is that people cling to things they think they have to cling to, and if they just let go, they can swim.
Scott Langdon [00:26:45] Yes, yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:26:46] So it's not unlike that.
Scott Langdon [00:27:06] Well, Jerry, in a recent email to us, Eve writes in, and she has something very, very interesting to say. She writes, she starts the e-mail by saying this: "Exact words God said. He said, "I am opening your eyes to see daughter." What I seek is His revelation. I'm a Christian. I was called by God and intercessor over 30 years ago and licensed as an Evangelist around the same time. I received God's word above, but did not know whether He was saying seer prophetic. As a teen, and now I have dreams and visions. When the spirit of prophecy comes upon me, I prophesize, but I cannot say I walk in the office of a prophet. So when He said the exact words mentioned above, I still seek revelation. I'm truly serious about my relationship with God and a desire to be the servant- the servant vessel He has called me to be and do. I am tied up, wrapped up and entangled up in Him. Falling in love with Jesus was the best thing I ever done. For real. For real." That was Eve.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:28:24] Well, isn't that amazing? Isn't that. I think it is. I think of it in some ways relates closely to my experience. In other ways it's very, very different from my experience. And, you know, I'm let's just kind of go through it because first God says to her, it's the only actual quote from God, I believe in the piece, "I am opening your eyes to see, daughter." He addresses her as daughter. Well, that fits all of us, doesn't it? We are children of God. But, "I'm opening you eyes to see." So what God is first doing is helping her. I often pray. Lord, help me to know what you want of me. You know, help me to understand, help me to see, to listen. Help me to desire to do what you want to do. We need help with these things. I don't ask God to make it happen. I ask God to help me, you know? And that's what God is offering here. I'm opening your eyes to see. Of course, she's going to have to do the seeing. And then, I'm struck by her call. She has a call. And of course, I believe in light of everything told in God: An Autobiography, that each of us has a calling.
Scott Langdon [00:29:46] Yes.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:29:47] But it may not resemble any of her callings. It reminds me, of course, to the experience in Union Station when God first told me, I want you to be my new Elijah. Because this seemed just nuts to me. Just nuts. And what could it mean? I wasn't sufficient. Didn't have a sufficiently deep religious background to readily know what that might mean in biblical terms. I had to go look up Elijah, and so forth. You know, but it was to deliver God's word. In fact, Elijah's often called a messenger. And I puzzled at the beginning. When you study the religions, you find, and some of them are here, there are all these titles and roles. You know, Prophet, Priest, seer.
Scott Langdon [00:30:40] Yes. Yes.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:30:41] And so forth. And what am I? You know, what am I? I certainly wasn't a saint, you know, I didn't feel like a prophet. I didn't feel like this, that... Well, I was told, and for which I was grateful, just to be a serious reporter of what you're told when you pray. And I felt good. I can do that. If He'd wanted me to be a Saint Paul, the Evangelist, I didn't think I could do that.
Scott Langdon [00:31:08] Right. Right.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:31:09] I don't have that, you know, character and energy. But be a serious reporter or what I'm told when I pray? Yeah, I can do that. And so I proceeded. Well, I don't know these particular titles she's using an intercessor, evangelist, or prophetic. You know, different traditions have their own different roles, religious roles. I know I've read that every person who becomes a priest or minister or any of those kinds of things is supposed to have a calling. Not just, you know, that he took one of those tests they give you in high school to see the right vocation, I always came out clerical.
Scott Langdon [00:31:48] Yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:31:48] But that you need an actual calling. And I've asked a couple of people because I did have a calling, a voice comes. But I wondered, well, that can't all be hearing voices. How does that come to them? And I, well, I won't go into it now. I don't know. I wonder if, say, God laid a burden on my heart and I don't know what that was like experientially, but it obviously meant something to Him. And it was striking because like me, he's a deep introvert and he finds being a minister very taxing on his personality. He'd rather read the books and do the scholarly stuff. And he has written some, but he's a local Baptist minister. I asked a priest who's also a Harvard professor, and I just gave a very brief story of my account. And he said, for me, it wasn't so much a voice as a touch. And he kind of reached out and reminded me of Uncle Sam, the Jew poster where the finger comes out. But it was almost like poking my chest. You're chosen and some other, I just found these fascinating how somebody knows what they're calling is. Well, here, working within his tradition where these were terms operative, she says sometimes she felt she was called one way or another. But this spirit, it's interesting, the spirit of prophecy comes upon her, but she somehow doesn't say that she walks in the office a prophet. That reminds me of being told early, I'm giving you this kind of revelation. God used the word revelation. I tend to not use it because it sounds as if you're founding a religion or something, which I'm not doing, but I'm not bequeathing any authority.
Scott Langdon [00:33:41] Right.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:33:42] And here she's kind of saying, I take it something like that. Not the office of the prophet, which would sound like a very official role. World listen to me and do what I'm telling you. And she adds, "having seen these words, I still seek revelation." And I think that's very important. I sometimes divide the world into finders and seekers, and the finders are spiritually seeking wisdom or, you know, a spiritual insight, and the finders have got it. And it's a wrong dichotomy.
Scott Langdon [00:34:20] Yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:34:20] Though I think it's recognizable. And I think the seekers are already finding something. They're like following the breadcrumbs, you know, along the trail or the hunter following, you know, the signs that of the animal or whatever has been through here and trying to stay on the trail. So the seekers aren't just open ended, watching around, flying around, blowing or being blown around. They're finding something that leads them to the next insight, which leads them to the next. And the best finders, some become dogmatic because they think early on they found it as wrapped up in a bow, this is it. You got a big stamp on it and a seal and maybe iron walls around it. You know, this is it. But the best finders are those who are still seekers. And you find most of the great religious figures also have that side of them, even though they're proclaiming X, Y and Z. They have another side of them that's seeking further light, further guidance for their wisdom, even in their own calling. So I thought this is a very good sign of hers, and this was important on the authority thing, she still desires to be the servant vessel.
Scott Langdon [00:35:40] Yes.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:35:41] It's the servant vessel. And again, there a moment I felt pride as though, well, God's talking to me, giving me all this. I must be, whoa, Mr. Important, and immediately the line went dead. You know, I was no longer in spiritual connection. And so I thought, oh, okay. It's not about that. It's not about being a winner in the spiritual race or, you know, getting the trophy here or something. And she understands it's always to be the servant. Whatever you're doing and however great your calling and however great you are at it like you may be on television, have millions of people listening to every word that comes from your mouth, still you're a servant. And I assume there must be a huge temptation of people in that role to forget that. But I don't know their hearts, but it's got to be a temptation, knowing human psychology. And, you know, I'm just so enthusiastic about this because there's so much in it. But I'll just stop with this line because it's, again, so beautifully expressed, so perfectly expressed. "I'm tied up, wrapped up, and entangled up in Him," you know, because that's how it is. That's how it is.
Scott Langdon [00:36:59] Her comment about being the Seeker.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:02] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:37:03] It made me think about my tradition growing up. So growing up in the Christian tradition with the Christian language central figure, of course, is Jesus.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:14] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:37:15] And Jesus' teaching here is that those who seek find.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:22] Oh, yes.
Scott Langdon [00:37:23] And it didn't really occurred to me until relatively recently that we are seekers and finders.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:33] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:37:33] Sometimes we put off-- we think with the finding as something that we will have in the next life or something. But Jesus says when you seek, you find. And I for me, the more I find, the more I want to seek.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:37:48] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:37:49] Right? So if I'm seeking pleasure, if I'm seeking peace in these things that are destructive and do not give me those feelings of peace and so forth, I don't want to pursue that anymore. Right, because that doesn't do good, it doesn't feel good, it isn't-- it's just causing suffering. But if I am seeking God and God's ways, I will find the fruits of that.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:38:16] Yes.
Scott Langdon [00:38:17] And then finding those fruits, the feelings, suffering, helping other people's suffering go away, it's, you know, those fruits of that keep me seeking that more.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:38:27] Yeah.
Scott Langdon [00:38:27] But we find it in the here and now in the present moment of right now. I'm finding peace and joy and comfort in this conversation with you as we talk about folks we've never met in person, and yet we feel like we're having a relationship with them in a sense, because they've shared something deeply with us.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:38:48] Exactly. Yeah, we're connecting with Eve and I hope she hears this and maybe will write back to us. But I hope anyway that she feels we're responding to her words in a meaningful way, you know, establishing relationships. And that's a wonderful thing. And you're talking about pursuit of these other things. The philosopher has often noted that the life and pursuit of pleasure, well, the pleasures get kind of old. You know, actually, if all you're doing is partying every night, you know, it gets kind of old and the life of acquisition, you know, how many things can you own? There's some people collect cars and have a garage full of– a huge garage full of, you know, wonderful antique cars and so forth. Well, okay. That no doubt is a nice hobby if you can afford it. But is that a life, you know? Is that the whole thing? I just go out and sit with my cars, you know. There is a New Yorker cartoon in which an obviously rich guy on his deathbed says, "I only wish-- my only regret is I didn't buy more crap." How plausible is that? If it was, was that, whereas you're right, Scott, you have a real experience of connection with the divine or spiritual wisdom wherever it comes. I emphasize connection with the divine in part because of my experience. In part because of my way of thinking about how we relate to the divine. But there can be other ways. It doesn't have to be in this particular kind of lingo. But whatever that higher wisdom is that you're finding the spiritual insight that you're finding, wherever you're finding it, it replenishes the soul and empowers you to find more. It gives you the further spiritual platform, you might say, to find more, to delve more deeply. And it's genuinely satisfying when you find it. That's not that. Oh, my gosh. You know, a lot of the things you say. So I think I've read this about Coke. I drank a lot of Diet Coke, but they say it's somehow designed to actually make you thirsty.”
Scott Langdon [00:41:10] Yeah. Right, right.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:41:11] You know, you want another, you think want to drink another and then another, and another. Well, a lot of those earthly pleasures are kind of like. They're designed to sort of be a trap. Whereas the spiritual life is generally satisfying and people have a hard time finding peace of mind. And to the extent, one of the essences of surrender to the divine, is actually a peace of mind. It's kind of puzzling because you would think normally you protect yourself, make yourself safe, make sure you're sort of satisfied in life by strategizing about the means around you and how you can manage so you come out on top, or whatever. But in fact, that's the life that also contains endless frustration.
Scott Langdon [00:42:05] Yes, yes.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:42:06] And satisfactions that are ephemeral. Okay. You're up today, but not tomorrow, you're down. So it's that 5 minutes of fame syndrome, and whereas the spiritual life is rather you're just in a different place, that's actually, you might say, nutritional rather than junk food.
Scott Langdon [00:42:26] Yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:42:26] And it brings real peace precisely from surrender, which is the other half of not grasping at things around you.
Scott Langdon [00:42:38] Yes. Yes. Well, this has been just a wonderful conversation. Jenny, Joe, Eve, thank you so much for writing in and sharing your experiences with us. And if you have an experience, you're listening and you want to share with us, please write to us. Drop us an email email@example.com. We love going into the mailbag. We're going to do it again. We hope you'll join us. Thanks, Jerry.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:43:06] Thank you, Scott.
Scott Langdon [00:43:17] 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.