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

72. What’s On Your Mind- Trusting God

April 28, 2022 Jerry L. Martin, Scott Langdon
GOD: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher - The Podcast
72. What’s On Your Mind- Trusting God
Show Notes Transcript

Scott and Jerry engage in an insightful conversation in response to a detailed letter from listener Wayne about his experiences and God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher.

Listen to exciting stories and spiritual experiences with responses investigating God's communication throughout different traditions of faith with Dr. Jerry L. Martin, author of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher and the podcast host and creative director Scott Langdon.

This episode focuses on Wayne, an Evangelical pulled from his community and then called back. Listen to Wayne's deeply meaningful story as he learns to share his journey with God and trust His calling as he experiences a religious return.

What was your experience reading God: An Autobiography As Told To A Philosopher? Would you like us to read your experience on the show in our series What's on Your Mind? 

Read God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher.

Join the conversation and community, share a story or question, and view more content from God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Contact: questions@godanautobiography.com
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Listen to the abridged audiobook of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Dr. Jerry L. Martin through the dramatic adaptation and voice talents of Scott Langdon starting with episode 1.

Related Episodes: [What's On Your Mind]
Part 3- 67, Part 2- 63, Part 1- 59

Scott Langdon: 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.   

Scott Langdon: Episode 72. Hello and welcome to episode 72 of God an Autobiography, the podcast. I'm your host, Scott Langdon. This week we bring you our fourth installment of What's On Your Mind, where Jerry and I go into the mailbag 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. In this episode, Jerry and I read and respond to one particular email from an individual who shared with us a deeply meaningful story of his ongoing experience with God. If you'd like to share your experience with 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: questions@godanautobiography.com. Thanks for spending this time with us. I hope you enjoy the episode.   

Scott Langdon: Welcome back, everybody, to What's on Your Mind. This is the fourth time we're doing this. Love to get the chance to talk with you- Jerry Martin, in this format. Welcome back.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Yeah, this is my favorite thing, Scott. When we hear what other people out there- what experiences they're going through.  

Scott Langdon: I love it too. I think at the heart of what we are doing is sharing the experiences of God that we have in our lives. I feel like, you know, we have experiences, and we tell the stories about them- that sort of everyday life in our world. And to have an experience with God and recognize it as such, or contemplate it as such or, you know- is this, you know, is this God, is it not? You know, all of those kinds of questions, to talk about them together and to have a place like this where folks can write in to us or, you know, and tell their stories about their experiences. I'm just-- I always get excited about it too--   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Well we can learn an awful lot from each other, Scott.   

Scott Langdon: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I agree 100 percent. Well, we have a really interesting letter today, a gentleman named Wayne wrote in and you know, when we went into the mailbag to prepare for this particular episode, this letter just really- it stuck out.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Yes.   

Scott Langdon: He is responding to this question of, you know, do you have an experience of God? And he very clearly believes that he has done, on several different occasions, and it has really shaped the way he sees his life, his role in life and how, you know, God reveals God's self to him and to others.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Well, he is-- I love it because he gives the whole story. It's a long narrative, and many of our lives don't just have one moment we hear God. You know, we have twists and turns, and surprises and setbacks and so forth in our lives, and the challenge is to keep God as a partner in each and every moment of those twists and turns.  

Scott Langdon: Yes.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: And Wayne is really struggling to do that.   

Scott Langdon: Yeah, it is a rather long narrative, and he comes, you know, back and forth with the recognition that God is leading him this way or God is leading him that way. And that he is sort of wrestling with that kind of discernment- is kind of at the heart of what we've been talking about the last couple of times that we've talked. We had a letter from Jenny who talked about feeling a call. We talked about Eve, who felt like a call, you know, and how do we discern that? And when I read this letter, I read all the way through it, and then I read your response to it, and I thought your response got right to the heart of what Wayne is struggling with. And the two things that he struggles with is, you know, is this message is this guidance from God; and then what should I do about it? So I thought maybe the way we could start off with this letter is to have you, if you wouldn't mind, read your response to his letter. Let's start there first.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: OK, well, we'll start with you with my response, which was my attempt to say, or what's the key thing going on here, and what can I say helpful to Wayne, which is always my goal. My responses are brief, but I try to say something helpful to a person. And I write- Wayne, your spiritual journey is fascinating and harrowing. You are coping with two issues that face us all discernment, and action. Discernment is difficult because divine prompts are always in the midst of a cloud of motives. You know, a lot is going on any time we sense God leading us somewhere. Well, I'm getting off of my- what I said to him... And it's not easy to sort them out. You have had to face that challenge at every step of the way because of these twists and turns I was talking about. Then there are all the practical problems which he's dealing with in spades. Life is lived on the ground. Reality is obstinate. God will be our partner, but we have to do the heavy lifting. We cannot jump off cliffs and expect God to save us. Even Jesus, when challenged by Satan, refused such a test. All the best to you, my friend. 

Scott Langdon: That really hits at the heart of what I think we all struggle with in our lives, this idea of discernment and then action. I've gotten paralyzed a lot in my life, just standing at the apex of those two things, and it can be very daunting. Let's get into the letter. We'll break it down a little bit. One of the things that I know I love as a writer, as an actor, and that you love as a, as a reader, and as a writer is language.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Yes.   

Scott Langdon: And so a rather lengthy email like this- it was a joy for me to take some time and really, you know, sit with it and really let Wayne speak to me. So I thought we could break it up a little bit at a time, but we'll start at the very beginning. Here's Wayne's email. It begins, "I was born into a tight little Plymouth Brethren Gospel Hall, where Darby and his dispensational chart were taught as 'God Breathed.' Some would say that it was what we were supposed to believe or even that it was all there was to believe. I took my place at the Lord’s Table (entered into fellowship) late, in my twenties. By the time I was thirty my imagination made incompatible. I tried walking away. That only lasted a few years, and then I had my first God encounter. The short version is that after swearing never to go back to church, the need for daycare services found me standing in the lobby of a church feeling like I was in His hands. It was intense. I knew that God was guiding me. I was also pissed because he was calling me back into the church, the broken whore of a bride (Gomer.)

Scott Langdon: You know, it's a reference to Gomer, who was the wife of the prophet Hosea in the book of Hosea in the Old Testament, and she strayed from her marriage, but Hosea continued to take her back. It's made to, you know, reference how God continues to take us back, even though we continue to move away from God. But it seems so-- that's that reference there, I believe.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Yeah. That's what, I think it's in Jeremiah, denouncing Israel for whoring after strange gods. It's the same in that case, I guess as Hosea, it was literal, here it's the big metaphor for the whole people of Israel wandering off in the wrong direction and- but God is saying, "Well, I'll take you back. I'll take you back." Because we all wander, we are all sinners. And at one point, I'm told in God: an Autobiography, that in a sense, "It's only sinners I love." Well, of course, thankfully, that includes us all. (Laughing)  

Scott Langdon: I- I found that clever at the time, too. I thought that was a clever little piece of wit from God. You know--  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Yes, yes. (Laughing)  

Scott Langdon: "It's only sinners, I only love the sinners."  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Yeah. (Laughing)  

Scott Langdon: "You mean everybody?" Well yeah, I guess, everybody. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Who else am I going to love?   

Scott Langdon: (Laughing)   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: But I- I thought this was also fascinating, and it'd be very interesting to hear from other readers because so many of us have this experience. We start up in some church, and for a time, that's just the whole world of religion to us. You know, we're soaking up what we're being taught, and here's the Darby, and a Dispensational Chart, and- but then at some point, as one goes along in life and thinks more about it and also has other life experiences and reads other things and gets to know other people who aren't in this little niche of the world, you start saying, wait a minute, this isn't feeling right to me. And it can be in a thinking thing, you know, I don't agree with this. Or it can just be, it's not feeling right, we're not on the same wavelength, something's wrong here. And so he leaves, and so I think with so many people have experiences like that, and it would be very interesting to hear from people about, you might say, what they're leaving experience was like. What brought it about? How were they afterwards? Did that work for them? Did leaving work better? Did they find something else, or did they drift, or what? And then he returns! He has guidance to return to the same crummy church he left. And so he's angry at God, "You put me back here again?" But life circumstances forced it. Just simple things, the need for daycare.   

Scott Langdon: Yeah.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Well, one of the great things about church is they aren't just God, and scripture, and theology. They are communities, and they help. People in a congregation help each other, and taking care of children is one of the help. And so God takes him back by a life need into the church again. But he doesn't just return. You know, I would have pictured this as, you know, he's just going-- dropping in to sign up for some kind of child care services, but no, whoa! God hits him at that moment and in an intense way.   

Scott Langdon:  "Feeling like I was in his hands," he said.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Yeah. So, yeah.  

Scott Langdon:  He just had that feeling.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Exactly.   

Scott Langdon: Yeah. I can, I can understand that feeling, I think.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Really?   

Scott Langdon: I think that's the interesting thing about our individuality and our collective nature, at the same time. We talk a lot about that, the separate and same element of things. So the idea of being empathetic to this particular story is not very difficult when I understand, you know, a need and then being confronted with the need and almost sort of waking up to the idea that God is ready to take care of that need all along if you would just pay attention. You know.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Right? Right. (Laughing)  

Scott Langdon:  We talk about listen a lot. So, it seems like Wayne really has the jump on the listening part. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Yes!  

Scott Langdon:  You know that he can, he's aware of- Oh, this feels like I'm in God's hands, this was intense. This was-- and so he's open to and listening to- Is this God? Is this from God? Very open-- 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: And part of that listening, you know, kind of the corresponding thing having to do with the second shoe dropping, is acceptance.   

Scott Langdon:  Yes, yes.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:   You know, you can hear- God's pushing me this way, but fully, I don't want to go that way. I'm not going to go back. You know, he could have just-- there could have been a matter of ego. "Oh, I left that church, I'm not going to fall back in." You know? But God is taking him back in the context of that church that he had left. And he's willing to accept that. And so one of the keys in life is to keep an open heart as you go along, and we have many things, including our ego, our situation, social pressures, life demands in our jobs that keep us kind of closed and make it hard for us to just be open and accept. And here he goes and to sign up for child care, and he has an open soul, and God walks, right into it. You know, just floods in, in some intense way, and he's being called back and being accepted back like the, like the broken whore. (Laughing)  

Scott Langdon:  Yes, yes.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  He's being accepted back. So I just find that fascinating because so many people have the experience, and it would be interesting to hear other people's experience of return. You know, how many people return, how many people move on? What happens when they return? What caused them to-- here a practical thing caused it, and yet God immediately speaks to who comes to him at that moment. And I'm sure people have different experiences of returns to a church, efforts to return, or just moving on in some way that might or might not work out well. And those are all interesting stories.  

Scott Langdon: Wayne goes on in the letter. He says, "A few years later, I had another turning point, calling, moment. I was on the verge of bankruptcy. Our business was sinking. I had to get a job. It felt like utter failure. At the same time, God called me to move my family downtown to the inner-city. I tested that request, challenging God to get me a job downtown. He did, and a house. It's true, I went from teetering on bankruptcy to owning my first home, or at least some portion of the front porch in partnership with the bank, which owned the rest, and my firstborn--" (Laughing)  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  (Laughing) He's got a nice sense of humor, doesn't he?  

Scott Langdon:  It can seem, can seem daunting. Yes?  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Yes, yes.  

Scott Langdon:  "Within a couple of years, God called me out of full-time employment into full-time, faith-supported, inner-city mission work. That mission work quickly took shape around a thesis that work is a vital human need not merely to pay the bills but to discover who we are. The poor are robbed of this experience through minimum wage slavery. I raised funds and put together a woodworking shop so that folks from the street could come and experience the healing effect of crafting furniture. On one occasion, one of the participants finished a beautiful hope chest made of cherry. He looked puzzled. When I asked why, he said, "My dad always told me I was a worthless piece of shit. This trunk seems to say otherwise." 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Yeah, I thought that was the most wonderful story. I'm not a very heart-on-the-sleeve sort of guy, but this really brought tears to my eyes. You know, talk about, and-- you look at them, you might say the mission work being done by this project, you know, this guy's life was turned around by that. You are dragged through life, you're told this as you're growing up, and this is a deep imprint on a personality.  

Scott Langdon: Yes.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  You always feel like a worthless piece of shit. And, no matter what you do. That's the self-feeling you carry around. And here is a physical object, he himself creates. And this beautiful cherry wood, I think, this beautiful wood, it's standing there looking right at him, you might say, and saying the opposite. You know? "Wow, I can make that. This is not worthless. There's no way I can be worthless if I can make this beautiful, fine piece of furniture with my own hands and sweat, and maybe to some extent, imagination, you know, of how to do this right." So it's just a marvelous outcome.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Let's go back to the beginning of that last part that you read it, Wayne's story, because this is his second turning point. A calling- what he calls a calling moment. He was called to do something at the worst possible time, as he's like, on the verge of bankruptcy.  

Scott Langdon:  Right.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  But now on the verge of bankruptcy, he's called. You know, we all have to ask- what is our calling in life; what is God calling us to do? And, he's called to move the family down to the inner-city when he's on the verge of bankruptcy, has no money to his name, and he does something I would not do (and I wonder if you would do it, Scott). I always feel if I feel I have guidance from God to do something, I say "Aye aye, Sir," much like Abraham, you know? "Aye aye, Sir," and go and do it. He challenges God to get him a job. "If you want me to go downtown, OK, down to the inner-city, OK, but I need to have a job and then to pay rent while I'm there." And then he says, well, God did that. God got him a job, and a house, and this mortgage, which at least keeps him going, right? Keeps him going. And I always remember Abraham, who twice the most dramatic examples with- go sacrifice your son. (Laughing)  

Scott Langdon:  (Laughing) Sure. Yeah. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  You know? "Aye aye, Sir," and gets up first thing the next morning and heads off. In the end, God stays his hand. But that same Abraham, later, on Sodom and Gomorrah argues with God. And almost, it's one of those, you know, in God: an Autobiography, we're told that God learns through interaction with people. God grows and grows in some ways more into his role. And you might s-- what Abraham is doing is saying, "look, you're supposed to be the God of justice, and wiping out the whole town because there are some sinners- what if there's some good people there?" And I think Abraham argues him down to- "Well, if they're at least ten good people, or something like that, I'll save it." Well, there are ten good people, so, right? I can't remember the rest of the story. But anyway, you can actually win the argument. So I don't know if-- I've never done it, and would not feel right challenging God in that way. Or- "If you want me to do what you just told me to do, give me this first." In some ways, because, falling in love, I fell in love with Abigail, my true love I've waited for many years. Before God gave me any assignments, and I did always kind of feel, "Oh, I got my reward in advance." You know? (Laughing)   

Scott Langdon: Yeah. (Laughing)  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  So anything else that I do at God's behest is paid for. But, I don't know, do you have a sense yourself, Scott, of would you challenge God, "If you want me to do this, then, first, do such and such for me." I guess, I wouldn't do that, but I can't say that it's wrong to do that and God response seems to have responded.   

Scott Langdon:  I think the transformation for me, the way I saw it in my life, was that once I started to think about the way Abraham's faith played out where it was- it was an, "Aye aye, Sir," for sure. It was also, and you know, you talked to God later about that story, you know, you press Him, you know- "Did this actually happen?" And God is saying, the idea of this story is just complete obedience.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Yes.  

Scott Langdon:  And to me to take that all the way to the end, the complete, the most complete obedience is this complete surrender to anything that happens is your direction. And I just, I take that step. That step of faith is that next step.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: A huh.  

Scott Langdon:  Now what? Now what? Now what? And I just believe that the "now what" is always answered.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Uh-Huh.   

Scott Langdon:  So I don't have to say, you know, this happened, I got this show. See, God got me this show. Well, I did the audition and I-- Well, it's a co-partnership--   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Yeah, that's right.  

Scott Langdon: [There's no way that I can separate my failure or my success from God. So I just like to look at even failures are in some way a success because that's the way not to go.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Right. (Laughing)  

Scott Langdon:  That God and I are both in that, you know?  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Yeah. That's right. You're always--  

Scott Langdon: I don't really, I don't know if I talk about it as testing so much. If that makes sense?  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Yeah. Yeah, yeah. No, no- I think the way you're talking about it, and it should be closer to mine, that God doesn't really need to be tested. You know, God is going to be there, and it's a different question whether we succeed or fail. You know? You might have failed to get the job. That doesn't mean God wasn't there.   

Scott Langdon: Right.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: You know, maybe he misunderstood the call, or he needs to persist further, or some other door needs to open. You know, he may need to explore other. And in fact, if you go back, you know, I'm kind of replaying this a bit, he got that job, but then he goes on to say, God called me out. Again, he's really paying attention. 'God called me out of full-time employment into full-time, faith-supported inner-city mission work,' so he doesn't have a regular paying job. He's got the job supported by the faith community to do inner-city work, and so that's interesting because that's another turn in his life that leads to this realization that we were just talking about at the beginning, Scott, that work is a vital human need, it's how you discover who we are, and what he calls the healing effect of crafting furniture. And then the dramatic one example he gives, but there were probably dozens, dozens of people with similar experiences to this guy who, 'This piece of furniture that I have made shows I am OK. I am a valuable human being.' And you know, there must have been many cases like that.  

Scott Langdon: Yeah. And he had a wonderful situation there, and he goes on to tell about what happened to it. He says, "Before long, the money that flowed from the Evangelical community began to dry up. There were many questions about the effectiveness of such a strategy. "How many people, how many people are getting saved," they would ask. The only answer I had was, "All of them, they are all being saved. Me too." 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Yeah.   

Scott Langdon:  I found that as touching as the story itself.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Yes, yes.  

Scott Langdon: This idea, and... You know, having grown up in a community similar to the one he describes, it can, it can get easily understood to be that kind of mentality. I'm not saying it always is, and that's the way the church is always run and every Evangelical church was-- but the way that I-- I started to see it that way as well. That it was, the mission work seemed to be, 'Is it profitable?' I mean, both of my brothers, especially my middle brother, Danny, he was in the mission field for a long time--  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Ahuh.   

Scott Langdon: And there is that- there is that dynamic of is it profitable in a sense? Well, what does that mean? Well, how many new members, how many people are being saved? You're doing the work of something like this kind of ministry where we're helping people find a purpose in their own lives, like, that's the salvation in the doing of it.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Yes, yes.   

Scott Langdon:  And that can get confused, especially in our American churches.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Yeah, it's a certain thing. I was, you know, was quote saved by Oral Roberts. 

Scott Langdon: Mm-hmm.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: He was a powerful preacher, and I remember it vividly, still, the sermon, because he was reenacting Judas hanging himself after his betrayal of Jesus. And somehow, Oral Roberts is saying, "Don't do it, Judas, don't do it." Meanwhile, Oral Roberts is fashioning the accord of his microphone into a noose that he ends up putting on his own head, and, you know, he failed, but to the last minute, he's trying to persuade Judas not to do it. Well, anyway, I remember that moment from this tremendous sermon, and I felt moved. And, I was at what we were told was the 'age of reason,' which is where you're at risk. Before, if you die when you're like an infant or underage, you go straight to heaven because though you haven't had a chance, but once you have a chance to accept Christ, then you're at high risk and high, and I think in part, I was sort of covering my bets- I thought. But also, it's just so moving. This was the moment, and my parents were supportive, they were pleased, we were all there together, and so I went, but I think of the story now because of what you talked about, Scott, in terms of, is it profitable? You know, people came forward, they sent us off to the side, we each filled out a card, you might say, certified- we've been saved, and you notice some reports of these things like a Billy Graham revival or something. There's he saved, you know, 20000 souls and so forth. You know, another 20000 people who signed these cards, and I didn't, well-- we don't need to go on with my personal story, but I didn't quite feel saved from it, and I was very disappointed. I expected to be transformed in some way, but I didn't feel transformed. I mean, that could just be me, obviously, as an inadequate response, but there's that notion of what ends up a kind of fairly narrow notion of what it is to be saved that's by the theology of that particular denomination, and so forth. And of course, that whole idea is somewhat rejected in God: an Autobiography, the whole original sins, being saved. If you're doing wrong, stop doing wrong. So, you know, and your quote saved. But the- I guess forgotten autobiography saving wouldn't be some specific thing like defined doctrinally or by particular tradition. It would be getting in sync with God.  

Scott Langdon:  Right, right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Starting listening to God, acting according to God, and then you're on the right track. You're doing what you're supposed to be doing. You're in partnership with God, and that's what God is actually looking for, not some narrow path, but something, you might say, really available to all of us. We don't have to go to the Church of the Brethren or something. It's open to all of us.  

Scott Langdon: Right, yeah.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  To get in sync with God, if we do the two things, the things that Wayne is doing, which is we listen, we pay attention, we act on it. He's told to go to the inner-city when he's practically bankrupt. OK, let's go. And he does it until the people who are paying his salary to save, to quote save souls, feel well, as you put it, Scott, it's not profitable. We're not saving enough souls to justify these dollars.  

Scott Langdon:  Mm-Hmm.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  So it ends up a cash transaction. Alas. 

Scott Langdon:  Right.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Yeah.   

Scott Langdon:  I think we do often lose track of what is the goal, what is, what would be a successful ministry or cause work. And if you're coming from, say, the Christian tradition, you would look at Jesus's teachings, but what is Jesus teaching consistently? And it's what you just mentioned, how to get in sync with God. Jesus is saying, "I and my father are one. How will people know that you are my disciples- that you love one another?" See, he's giving them, you know, how can we be in sync with God? And the practical way to do that might not always make sense to us intellectually after a while because we see the effects of this sort of transactional way of being. And that's, I think, what Wayne deals with in that first paragraph. You know, he's come to this notion of, you know, I just kind of see the humanity of things, the human side of things breaking down. But one of the things that I think is so great, well, the thing I think is so great about God: an Autobiography is the revelation of this ecumenical nature of God's experience on Earth. That. For me, it's been eye-opening because I don't necessarily-- I didn't reject Christianity as the tradition of my faith, it's just, like Wayne, kind of exhausted where I could go with it. What I have found peace in lately is the knowledge of any sort of practical looking at the Dao. It's just another way to talk about the Chinese tradition of the way of things, and I see how that goes right in with Jesus's teaching of being in sync with God. The Buddhist tradition of being in the present moment and taking stock of, you know, being right now. And that goes to the partnership aspect of work with me and God. So these different traditions of faith where we see what God was up to there doesn't make me want to necessarily be- now, I'm a Buddhist, or now I'm, you know? It just enhances the tradition that I'm already in and makes the language that I use in my tradition even come more fully alive than it had before. When I just had this one view of, it's either this way or it's no other way.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Yes, yes. Now that's one of the main things of the book is that God tells me, "Go read the ancient scriptures, the foundational scriptures of the different religions, not the whole later developments and theologies and all of that, but what was the original revelation, you know, to Moses, to Jeremiah, to the Buddha, to the Vedic Seers, and so on, and others that are less famous to Zoroaster, and so forth? What was the original revelation, and what was God trying to achieve in that revelation? So God is coming to everybody, and I'm given the explanations in the book for why God came to different peoples in these different ways and why the scriptures, you might say, resonate to different aspects of the divine. So, that's how it's supposed to be because the divine reality is bigger than any of the boxes we put it into, and the multiple cultures enable these different sides of the divine to show itself, manifest itself, and to develop in cooperation with human beings, to work with human beings in a variety of ways. 

Scott Langdon: So that step of faith is that no matter where I step, God is with me. No matter where I step, God is with me. And you know, God shows up like that all the time. The language that we use of God being somewhere else and returning or God-- you know, I just said it. God shows up, or God appears, or God was calling. You know, it seems to talk about God as somewhere other than us, and that's essential too because while God is us and more than us, that side of us that acknowledges that, as Abraham did--  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Yes.   

Scott Langdon: Too that obedient place of acknowledging that and turning toward it. That's our-- that seems to be our step is to turn toward that way that is present for everyone as you just said   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  Yes, and for us, you know, you think about churches and different religious traditions and other things too- mission work or, whatever it might be. A lot of the challenge of the spiritual life for each of us is to figure out where we belong, how do we best access the divine, and often for people, it's in the church they were born into, often it's in some other venue, another church or some other spiritual practice, or something that doesn't look spiritual but maybe it's humanitarian or something else very worthwhile. Maybe it's even their art, you know, that's expressive and brings out the dimensions of reality that the person with a less keen eye doesn't notice that, you know, that the artist is able to bring out. So there are all different ways of cooperating with the divine and a lot of the challenge, and that's part of what I'm impressed within Wayne is he is paying attention to his calling and then following on it. And just kind of- what are you called to? God came to the different cultures in different ways, and it seemed to me an extrapolation of that, I don't know if I'm exactly told this in my prayers with God, but it seemed a natural implication from God coming to each culture the way it needs to become too.   

Scott Langdon:  Mm-hmm. Yeah.  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: That God would come to each of us, especially in our period of globalization, of awareness of all the different traditions. Nobody is stuck in one place anymore to figure out, well- where do I belong, what is my calling, what am I supposed to be doing? And to follow these basic rules of kind of listening, paying attention, acting on it, where you do sense, oh, this is, I think, where God wants me to go, and maybe it's uncomfortable, as surely it must have been when Wayne's on the verge of bankruptcy.   

Scott Langdon: Sure.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Oh, okay. Move to the inner-city. Oh, great. No. (Laughing)  

Scott Langdon: Yeah. (Laughing)  

Dr. Jerry L. Martin:  That's not what your financial advisor would be saying, right? 

Scott Langdon:  That's right, right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: Or your career counselor?  

Scott Langdon: Yeah.   

Dr. Jerry L. Martin: But, oh, OK, let's move to the inner city, let's move to mission work. Let's come up with this idea of work as a vital human need. You know, in some religious traditions, maybe more than Christianity, it's stressed that every occupation is sacred. And the accountant, before doing the books in a business in India, will pray, you know, ask for divine blessing of his bookkeeping. And well, that is how we should approach our lives. We should be trying to have God be a partner with your acting, my writing, my, you know, and so on. Whatever it is we're doing, God should be a partner in that, and then we're going to do it well, we're going to do it meaningfully, we're going to do it, making it our best contribution to all the people around us.   

Scott Langdon: 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.