Is it time for you to share your story or experience with God?
How does someone looking for God handle divine silence?
Dr. Jerry L. Martin, author of the true story and reporter of his communication with God, and host Scott Langdon discuss an incredibly profound letter from a reader responding to God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher.
Scott shares Alex's cries of despair- a spiritual seeker fed up with getting the same response time and time again- nothing. "When guidance is sought, and nothing is heard in return, eventually, even the most patient will give up..."
Jerry's compassionate response to Alex inspires a miraculous reply.
This conversation takes us outside tradition and opens the mind to spirituality beyond religion. Is God saying something through a neighbor or friend, or maybe in the silence, God is saying more than one expects? What is your story? We want to hear from you!
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] Seeing With Divine Eyes; Is God Hiding?; Trusting God; Mindful Moments; God's Frequency; Spiritual Living; A Relationship With God; Spiritual Judgment
Related Episodes: [Video] Why is God Hiding?; Does God Really Love 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 101.
Scott Langdon Welcome to God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. I'm Scott Langdon and this is our 10th edition of the series What’s On Your Mind? In this series, Jerry and I read and respond to emails we receive here at God: An Autobiography, The Podcast, and talk about how each of our individual journeys are part of God's journey. I genuinely love putting this series together because its true aim is to compassionately examine the ups and downs, ins and outs, tragedies and triumphs that come in the form of our individual life experiences. And to let you know that though you are unique, you are never alone. I hope you enjoy the episode.
Scott Langdon [00:02:00] Welcome back, my friends. Here we are with another edition of What's On Your Mind. And this is where we have some time to talk about some emails that have come in to us from listeners and readers of the book. And Jerry, I love this episode. I love doing these.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:02:15] Well, well, these are reports from different people. They're so different. Everyone has an individual story that is quite different for the next person's story and it's got its own fate and destiny, you might say. It unfolds on its own, and for people to share those with us is a great blessing.
Scott Langdon [00:02:34] The last time we did this, we had an email from Barbara. Now typically we spend time on a couple of emails per episode, something like this, maybe two or three, but last time we focused solely on Barbara's email, and it was a wonderful discussion. And you know, Barbara, we called her an open soul-- is how you referred to her. You felt like she had a real open soul and she did. And she exchanged sort of back and forth with you with a couple of emails. And she didn't think that this was from God. And you asked her to really, you know, maybe read it some more, maybe pray about it some more. And she came back again and said, "You know what, I have read it and I have thoughts and more, and I just I just don't think this is it." And sometimes that happens. This week, we've chosen to focus on a single email again. And it's a similar type of situation. It's a similar sort of doubting type of experience. And yet this one unfolds in a different way, as does everyone, everyone's experience in this lifetime. So we'd like to focus on an email from Alex.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:03:42] Yeah. I just found this extraordinary email because he you know-- in these days, we live through a crisis of unbelief. The various features of the modern world, our secularism, scientism, etc., etc., make it often difficult to have any sense there's a God at all. And Alex is someone who takes this question very seriously and gives us a very beautiful statement of this state of unbelief.
Scott Langdon [00:04:14] What I have found with a lot of these emails and especially the ones who have come up against some difficulty in terms of belief, in terms of, you know, is this true or not? Is it from God or not? And we have discussed this a bit before, and we'll get into this with Alex as well, and that is the idea that there's a relationship to it when you reject it. There's still a relationship there. You know, why would you reject something and fight against something that you don't believe is there that is nothing? Well, you actually are dealing with that. So there's at least that bit of a curiosity, even if it's coming from- I want to squash it. The it has to be dealt with, I feel.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:05:01] Yes, that's right. People would not be talking about their atheism, you might say, or their doubts if they didn't care for openers, if they didn't care. And so, there's... I like this phrase of philosopher Eric Voegelin, "Attention toward the divine.".
Scott Langdon Yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin The editors always trying to correct that, you know. But tension, it expresses that exactly. There's a tension toward the divine, some kind of pull. But here you are and it's elusive. The divine pull is elusive. And we all all experience this at moments, and some people experience it as a crisis. Other people just tune it out. But I think you're right, Scott, that's perceptive, that as long as you're saying, "I don't believe," you're in some kind of relationship to the object of belief and to God.
Scott Langdon [00:05:57] And an acknowledgment of that, I think is a great place to start in terms of, you know, I have a belief, I have a disbelief, but whatever it is, I have some kind of relationship with it as a place to start. And I think Alex, in his email and his exchange with you, may really be digging into that place. So here's what, here's what Alex writes into us. Alex writes this:
Alex's Letter [00:06:23] I will write this for a large majority of people in the modern world – but I certainly don’t claim to be someone who represents everyone in this way. My experience of God is the silence. The complete silence of … Nothing. Pray and listen for hours. What is heard? Nothing. Pray in the morning, seeking guidance. What is heard? Nothing. Buy the book, “God: An Autobiography”. Read it intensely and study it. Pray more. Try to conform and listen to the Divine. Spend months doing this. What is heard? Nothing. I know that most people see God as a rescue helicopter, Jerry, but some of us don’t, and we are rewarded with a deafening silence when we seek guidance. When guidance is sought and nothing is heard in return, eventually even the most patient will give up the ghost. That is what I did – what I have done – and it is what a growing number of people are doing.What is my experience of God – what is the common man’s experience of him…? To ask is to get no answer, because there is none. My experience – and many others – attests to complete bewilderment at what to do, where to go, or whom to get guidance from. After hearing literally nothing – after feeling no “pull” in any direction – one begins to (correctly) feel like a moron for bothering. So my experience, Professor Martin, is one of complete silence. What happens when a culture experiences what I experienced? Look around you – this is what happens. He has no one to blame but himself. Perhaps he thinks he can continue to hide from people, and communicate through people such as yourself. But the meager sales of your book (I hope I am not being too brutal here) and the current climate of disbelief is the result of such an approach. Is there a Good? Who knows? Judging from my experience, there is not one way of saying yes or no, but most (including me) will say that a God who does not even give guidance when called upon is not worthy of my worship – or anyone else’s, really. He wants people to listen to him? No he doesn’t Professor Martin. If he did he might actually say something.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:08:45] Yeah. Isn't that-- isn't that extraordinary?
Scott Langdon Wow.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin It's expressed so well, it could be an oration of the unbeliever, you know, at the same time, it's not a work of artistry. This is from the heart and the soul and the mind. This is a very intelligent guy to go through all of this and therefore, again, a blessing for all of us that Alex shared this kind of persuasive hammering challenge. God, why don't you speak to me if you're there and if you're not speaking to me, why should I bother with you? I mean, that seems to be the purpose of Alex's message.
Scott Langdon [00:09:34] And he is not unique in this. In fact, as I was reading it and reading it again to prepare for this episode, I really heard a call from the prophets of old. This is a calling out, you know, in a way, you know, "God, if you're there, why are you doing nothing?" It's something that I think many people can relate to.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:09:56] Yeah. Yeah. I think in some ways it's universal. As you remind me, Scott, not just in our scientific, etc. culture, but it's acute today. And, so Alex, you know, doesn't claim to be any of the spokesmen for anybody. But on the other hand, he does point out, is expressing the experience of many, many, many, many people. And so what do we do about that? Well, here's what I wrote to Alex at the time:
Jerry’s Response to Alex This is an extremely important post, Alex. There is a relentless logic to it, all the way to reflections on the culture, on whether there is a God, or whether, if there is, such an unresponsive God is worth worshiping. Those are topics that could fill a seminar. But I would like to focus on you, Alex, and your personal experience. I am struck that you are doing the right thing – not praying for a rescue helicopter but praying for guidance. What does God want Alex to do in this life, or just in this day? And after praying intently and repeatedly, and studying assiduously, you get Nothing, not even a “pull” in one direction or another. I assume that you have also looked for divine messages in tasks placed in your path, in comments from friends, in sacred ceremonies, in natural beauty, in divine proximity at moments of great change such as marriage or death, in the sorts of meaningful coincidences that Carl Jung called synchronicity.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin Here I'm stating again some of the things that are in the book, and since he read the book with great seriousness, probably more than once, these are all mentioned there, presumably, but I'm just assuming. Given his effort, that he has also looked in those directions. And I go on in my response to Alex.
Jerry’s Response to Alex I assume you find tasks in your path, but no sign that God has placed them there or that you are supposed to pick up one task rather than others. You don’t connect the dots because you see no dots to connect and, if you do, you have no divine clue as to how to connect them.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin And so, you know, this is a dire situation that Alex has described. When you think of all the things that one-- that often helps people kind of have a sense of what direction God wants them to go, for Alex, they're all nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. Well, I go on in my response to Alex.
Jerry’s Response to Alex Although God seems not to have spoken or otherwise manifested divine presence to you, God has done that for others, and the results are recorded, among other places, in the sacred texts of the various traditions and in the exemplary lives of iconic figures in those traditions. You might just try living according to the Ten Commandments, the teachings of Jesus, the guidance in the Bhagavad Gita, and so on – whichever ones seem most relevant to your life. But I feel there is something deeper here, Alex. You just get Nothing. Is there a way you can probe the divine silence, get to the bottom of it, as it were. Take your whole heart, mind, and soul into the depths of the Nothing and see what you find there. Don’t decide in advance what will count as an answer or insight, but just see what you find there in the depths. God’s silence may be a way of drawing you forward into something you have not anticipated, I don’t know. You may not hear from God, but I have the sense that your soul is attuned to the divine pull. Your earnest efforts, and honest assessment of the empty outcome, is evidence of that. You may be right now on the path God intends for you. In your search for truth, you are already partnering with God.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin I just found this profound cry out, you might call it in part from Alex. It's a-- it's an argument. It's also a cry from the soul of despair. You know, nothing works. Everything... He's all alone. It's like the person who suddenly is in a bubble of silence and can hear nothing. May see people moving their mouths, but nothing comes to the person. We've seen this in movies, and it's the most horrifying situation, simply, to be alone, to hear nothing. In spite of earnest efforts, you hear nothing. And, you know, my heart goes out to him and went out to him at the time I was writing this. Yet, you know, there is that you might say, upside of this desolate experience that he is still in interaction with God and he's still a truth seeker. One of the fatal moves people make is to give up the search for truth and just become cynics, skeptics, despairing. Everything's made up. It doesn't matter. I'll just decide what I'm going to do. Maybe live for myself, whatever. Not worry if there's a bigger picture, divine or otherwise. So some people can do that. They just slide away from the search for truth. We have Alex here, somebody persistently seeking truth. And the very search for truth is a kind of divine activity.
Scott Langdon [00:17:05] When I go through your response to Alex, a couple of things really stuck out. One of them was when you mentioned you don't connect the dots because you see no dots to connect. And if you do, you have no divine clue as to how to connect them. I had what seems to be and I continue to have this, a divine se-- not a divine sense, but an innate sense to want to connect dots. The connecting of dots is something I feel like is innately inside. So then you look for dots. That is my, you know, from a boyhood experience of of really feeling like I knew God. It was... Do you believe in God? Wasn't a question that-- "Of course. I mean, what do you mean?" And then getting into the different religious tradition and growing up and, you know, the way you grow up and things getting away from that initial thing that I already knew to be true that God and I always were in relationship. Being able to come back to that sort of almost in a full circle type of awareness of that presence, always having been there, but me just not being able to connect those dots. So I had to step back to a place of what is this, where is this place that's coming from? Where I feel this innate sense to want to connect dots. And then from there it became, okay, what dots are you looking for? And if you connect dots, is the connecting of the dots going to be the ultimate aha? And so I kept trying to connect the dots, whether they were there or not and hoping for this aha. Like, you're finally here, God, after I've connected all the dots. And I let that go. I let that process it-- like I have to connect the dots and get meaning in the final outcome of the connected dots instead of the process of wanting to connect the dots is something that is drawing me to God in that way that you said this sort of this divine pull, that that is the divine pull for me. And so now knowing that that's the divine pull and I've relaxed into that, I can experience when God is saying, "Here's a dot and here's a dot and here's a dot." And they connect as they go.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:19:23] Yeah, that's right. It's a process, not a fixed picture. It's not like one of those picture puzzles of find the tiger in the picture. It's a it's fluid and developing and dynamic. And you live your life and your thoughts simultaneously, you know.
Scott Langdon Yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin And with God as a presence in that.
Scott Langdon [00:19:46] Right. And something like something might come up, an experience, a difficult relationship that I'm dealing with or something like that, and maybe an uncomfortable feeling, a sadness that, you know, depression can can be there, and I can now step back and go, okay, that's temporary. It's not unimportant, but it's-- it's temporary. And it will go. It will go. And same thing with, you know, with a happy feeling, "Oh, this is bliss. It's wonderful!" You know, you have these wonderful feelings. This is also- respect that as being temporary. I've been contemplating lately the idea of like, where was God on 911 kind of thing? Like, how could God allow X-Y-Z to happen? And I had a moment this morning of pondering that and thinking- well, what happened is people got on a plane to go somewhere. Some of those people got on that plane to crash it. And those are the things that happened. And all of that is the separate and sane part of God is at play in all of that. So that was not a godly thing to do. And yet God is not separate from-- it's not like God was missing while that was happening and yet it was happening within the realm of God. I don't know how to articulate what I'm saying, but does that make any sense to you?
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:21:15] Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's just very puzzling. That's why it's hard to articulate, Scott. This whole thing of God is everything and that God is everything, then God is in the cancer cell. You know? I mean, that's the implication of that. And yet God is different from us, you know, because God differentiates. So there's a way in which no God is not the cancer cell, you know, because it's all differentiated and the differentiation of God into you and me and cancer cells and airplanes and, you know, everything else, a nice meal, Chablis, whatever is also equally real. The differentiation and and moreover, a key thing I'm told in the book and you have to kind of figure out how to reconcile it with these other things we're saying is that the material world is described as having guilty resistance and that God does not write the laws of nature. And so the material bombs blow up, cancer cells form in organic life. These are part of the kind of facticity of life, not as though God is planning it. You know, the bomber is the plane to crash, the cancer cells spring up, etc., etc., or that you find a parking place. I do know believers who think, "Oh thank God, here is the parking place we need." Okay, well, that's good. Maybe God had a hand in that, I don't know, but God isn't writing the script. God is not writing the script. God is not, in that sense, responsible for everything, even though God is in this more basic sense, everywhere and everything. So that's just hard to figure out intellectually, I think. And the important thing is, is not to get your own relationship with God thrown off by theoretical conundrum, but to kind of figure out is God- what do you want me to do today? What you know, what do you want me to do tomorrow with my job, with the relationship, with my children, with my neighbor and whatever? And you don't need to answer these ultimate questions in order to live this dynamic flow with the divine. Alex's problem is he can't find God in the dynamic flow of life. And that's the reason I suggest if God is keeps saying nothing, well, maybe that nothing is a message, you know? I mean, I'm just speculating, you know, just try this, try that. Maybe that's a message and maybe dive into it. And there might be as often this certainly happens, people have a very fixed idea of God. And if their experience doesn't confirm that fixed idea, then they say, "Oh, no, God, life is meaningless. Whatever. Throw that out." I have a friend, a long term friend who's interested in philosophy, religion, teaches it, grew up as the child of a minister, and is angry to this day that the kind of God he believed when he was eight years old doesn't withstand his intellectual scrutiny as an adult. Well, it should be a little more dynamic than that. What's your experience since then? Are you just still looking for that God and angry that that God doesn't seem to be panning out? Maybe your conception was too narrow, or too rigid, or too static. Maybe God is unfolding before your very eyes and you're not even noticing it yet. You know? But anyway, that was just maybe if nothing is what God is giving you, maybe see if there's a message there. And of course, I do also end up, something we can see-- who knows about the speculation about the nothing, he would have to try it and see, but this engagement of the search for truth is such a divine mission. I'm always influenced by Plato, who's, of course the almost the beginning of Western philosophy. But for Plato, the search for truth was the essential divine mission. We don't know the truth. We don't own it. We don't have it. But we're searching for it. And the life of wisdom is the life of the search for wisdom. Basically, that's the message of Plato, and a lot of the greatest thinkers in multiple cultures say something equivalent to that. Life is and in the pursuit in many ways, and Alex is right in there galloping. I've seen these movies with people riding horses and chasing hounds and jumping over fences. Well, that's what Alex is doing in the pursuit of truth.
Scott Langdon [00:26:31] Mm hmm. For me, I was never willing-- I don't know if I wasn't willing, if I wasn't able, but I was never really able to let go of an entire system. For me, I know I was never able to just say, I don't believe in God at all. I could finally get to I just I can accept that there's mystery. But the idea of a supernatural theism could not, would not work for me. What I have sorted out is that what I was struggling with was my religious tradition and how I was perceiving the teachings of my religious tradition. Once I was able to step back and see that that was the issue, I realized, yeah, I don't think I can fully understand and articulate what God is, but I know that God is there. Through the process of working on this book project and this podcast with your book, I've been able to dig deeper into what God is and how I relate to God and how God relates to me and others and so forth as separate and same as we've talked about. Now I have come back and if someone were to ask me who's known me most of my life and say, "Oh, you're just, you're not religious anymore?" Two and a half years ago, I would probably say, "Yeah, I believe in God, but I'm not religious." And I would still likely say that today in a sense, and yet I would flip it on its complete 180 degrees. I would flip it. Not from all religion is horrible and shouldn't we need to do away with religion? That's the problem, right? To actually, I'm really interested in all of the religious traditions and what God was doing there and digging into those in study and prayer, looking for guidance in practice, in religious practice, and seeing what other people's religious practice has done for their lives and so forth. I see what you are asking Alex to consider when you say you might just try living according to the Ten Commandments, the teachings of Jesus, the Bhagavad Gita, whatever it is that is, is gets a hold of you because you are in a relationship with it, you're struggling with it. So go beyond and maybe just do the practice. And practice has been a thing for me, just like rehearsal in a play. It's, it's getting into the text and seeing like, how can this be true? Instead of, why can't this be true? I'm looking for a way that this isn't true because I've got to guard my faith and my belief system. So everything else has to be fended off. And we talked last time about this idea of how can it be true? Let's look at that.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:29:11] Yeah, that requires a great mind opening. For me, lifelong agnostic. So, I came with a different problematic than you did, Scott, but I had a kind of naturalistic worldview. I have this experience of God speaking to me where, whoa, that worldview just went outside the window. But then I was okay. I kind of accepted that surprisingly easily. It's like the data have come in. We had a hypothesis, the data have come in. That hypothesis was wrong, but I kept being told things that to an old logic professor just didn't seem to make sense. That's where this problem is. Logic is all by either or either or. Opposites are incompatible, you know, p and not p are the crucial elements you work with in logic. I'm told over and over in various respects, God is both same and other. There are many other cases where God seems to be powerful in the world and yet not writing the script and not a rescue helicopter. And so in what way does this unfold? And we write the script together. What does that mean? Well, in the end, I mean, I never felt it was my job to figure out those things. It's more a question of, okay, in light of what I'm told, you can figure out whatever you want to because of a belief. You know, we start with the belief system. New stuff comes in and we try to make some synthesis of the two. But an awful lot is just in, well, how are you going to live meanwhile? And so I'm telling Alex, you don't have to invent your own ethical system. For example, you can say, well, how would I know what's right and wrong, what's good and bad and so forth? Well, you may not have that capacity. You may not be a moral prophet. But thankfully, there's the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus. There's the Bhagavad Gita, and you can find more things if that isn't enough. But if you go by any of those. You're ahead of the game. You're doing better than most people, probably, or at least better than you would just flailing around on your own. So that's, of course, one of the central messages of God: An Autobiography. So the read the ancient scriptures, pray- God, what were you up to here? And with all of them, even some that are no longer celebrated much that aren't in the world religions, textbooks, nevertheless, God was up to something there too. And so we learn what it is from reading my dialogue when I read it, and then ask asked that question, God, what were you up to with these people? What were you trying to get across with these people? And they're all things one could, in some relation or other, take to heart and live by. It's hard to live by them all simultaneously. That's fine. You don't do all exercise programs simultaneously. You find one that works for you and you do it. So the pluralism is not itself a problem.
Scott Langdon [00:32:57] A big part of the transformative experience that's happened to me over the past couple of years of working on this project has a lot to do with something else that you suggested that Alex might do. When you say to him. Is there a way you can probe the divine silence? Get to the bottom of it, as it were. Take your whole heart, mind and soul into the depths of the nothing and see what you find there. When we got in our work, adapting the scripts chapter by chapter sort of going through the book, when we got to the section on the Eastern Religions where this is really talked about deeply. Nothing and no-thing. And then I really looked into a lot of the New Age talk about what Nothing is and so forth. I ran into and came across several different teachers that helped me probe into the depths of nothing, as you say, with a capital N, Nothing. And I break that word down, No-thing. And I realized when I looked into those depths, what I found for myself is that I had always been looking for that thing, the aha the connected, the whole dots. I finally got the picture, boom. That's the thing that's going to make it. And when I probed into the depths of the Nothing with the capital N the No-thing, I realized that there is literally no thing that will satisfy. You can go back to King Solomon. He talks about that. No, everything is vanities and in virtually every religious tradition you have this realization that there is no thing that satisfies. And so in that No-thing, the Nothing that we talk about, it just it's just that same thing again when we're talking about everything is temporary, that I'm not going to find salvation and happiness and glory and all that in a thing and thoughts are things. So every time I think there's a thing that's going to satisfy, I have to let that go as temporary. And that's what I found in the depths of the Nothing- that God and I- God helps me probe that. When I look at that and go, well, what about this? And I have this sense of knowing that God is, "That is a thing that doesn't satisfy. Let it go." And I have a peace. And I come from that place of that awareness where I feel like God and I are in communion.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:35:24] Yeah. That's fascinating, Scott. That's one of the most fundamental human experiences and the Buddhist explore this deeply. Part of it is how you can, you know, I'm a philosopher, how you conceptualize life and the world and so forth? And there are a lot of limitations to thinking of the world is a bunch of things. And therefore the goal is to get, as you write in a book that you've published, to get to a certain place. Place is a kind of thing, you know? Right? You get to that place, then you'll be happy or something like that. But most of the wisest thinkers, East and West, say happiness itself is not a final state, it's a process, it's something in the living. And it's-- and an awful lot of the irony is they were always people like Aristotle say, and a lot of the religions say pursuit of pleasure. Well, it ends up kind of dry. You know, you get jaded, it gets old. You don't want to do that same pleasure over and over and you want to move on. You get restless, you want to move on. And one way to characterize that mistake is you think, oh, this pleasure is like this thing that if I can grab onto that and of course people really reapply it and the wealth and publicity in the newspaper, you know, fame, and that kind of thing, applause from the from being popular with their crowd and the applause, the applause and being the center of attention, all of those things are-- end up being very superficial, actually. As much as we enjoy them.
Scott Langdon Yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin Nothing wrong with enjoying the good things of life, but they're not the goal and they're not certainly not the end. And the feeling that I've gotten here, I've arrived. It's if we can put Finnis on the screen.
Scott Langdon [00:37:28] The last time we had an episode of What's On Your Mind, and we talked about Barbara's email. She did respond to your response, and we thought that was really terrific. And we went through that and read through that. And Alex does the same thing. He listened and read your response to him. And as I'm looking at the dates here, it took him a couple of weeks and then he did respond and he says this-- which I think is an absolute miracle. I'll say this up front. I just I see it as a miracle and I think it's brilliant. He says:
Letter From Alex Dr. Martin, thank you for the reply. I have to confess that your reply deeply moved me – I did not expect you to publish it. As I thought about my reply, I instantly had too much to say. So instead I will say that I apologize for being so harsh – to both you and to Him. Secondly I would say that I would love to do the most I can to spread your message – His message. You really are his New Elijah. Forgive me for my brashness; I tell this to you as much as I tell it to Him. You are in my prayers, as is the success of this stupendous book.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:38:43] Isn't that extraordinary?
Scott Langdon [00:38:46] It's extraordinary. It is. And I see this as him calling out to God, and I hear God through the instrument of Jerry Martin responding. And then I imagine, Alex, with this open heart that I know he has, having your response be God's response to him. That's how I feel about things that really hit me. Whether it's a religious thing or it's a secular song or something that somebody else says, and it just captures my attention. If I'm out wanting to take pictures and I see this moment and it's like, take a picture of this, and I and I do it. It's not about, oh, I'm a great photographer. It's about that moment in time. I heard that and I looked at it and I noticed it. And I feel like Alex was drawn to hear your response. Read your response. Hear your response. Take it in, and it transformed him. And that to me is God at work.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:39:53] Yeah, yeah, yeah. And it's very hard to remember that one of the ways God speaks to us is through one another.
Scott Langdon That's right.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin I was given the special role of a bearer of a kind of set of revelations. But we all have that role.
Scott Langdon Yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin You know, to speak as honestly and caring as we can to our neighbor, to a friend in trouble, a friend in need, a friend not in need. Maybe a need, but doesn't know he or she is in need. But that's something we can do for one another. And if we try to live a life of attunement with the divine ourselves, then we're going to become good instruments. You know, as if-- I always think of Eastern writing with the paintbrush, which is kind of done with the brush, you know, you get these wonderful figures of calligraphy.
Scott Langdon Calligraphy.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin We are a better brush for God to use if we ourselves are attuned and then we, you know, let ourselves be used and listen to others because whatever element of the divine is coming through them. One of the people I-- he interviewed me early on in one of the first interviews I ever had about the book, but as I got to know him, and I got interested, he became a minister. A minister is supposed to have a call, not just a this job description fits me. But they're supposed to have a kind of divine call. And I ask how his came to him. Because do they hear voices, for example? The same week, in one week, three different people said in response to something he had said or done, "Oh, you should become a minister." He had a way of expressing, you know, the truth of a passage in the Bible or something, or a moral truth or a sensitivity. Three people said, "You should become a minister." And so he thought, "Oh, I think God is telling me something here through these people's reaction."
Scott Langdon [00:42:04] And being attuned to that response. I like hearing that. You know, being able to pick up on- I heard that several times. Hmm. What does that mean? You know, is there something there to that? I've been thinking about that a lot. I'm going to you know, we're closing Rocky, the musical at the Walnut Street Theater on Sunday. And I don't have anything else in terms of my theatrical work for the rest of the year. And, you know, a couple of Christmas concerts here and there things but nothing of long term. And I'm taking this time to really sort of evaluate what I want to do project wise in 2023. And along with this, working on continuing to work on the podcast, what other things are interesting to me do I want to work on? And having this new sort of feeling and understanding of how God and I work together? I say, "What do you want me to do?" And this is what continues to come back up. You know, this project has been in your mind a couple of different times. And so what about this? And then I you know, because I have a difficulty, you know, with my bipolar disorder, I have had a difficulty in the past with grandiose ideas getting out of the chute real quick with all the ideas, but then having trouble following through. So that's a struggle that I continually work on and know that it's there. And so I also check in with friends, like with my wife to say, "Is this an idea that's realistic and sounds good or is this a momentary deal?" And she helps me stay in check and stuff like that. And so each one, but each one of those moments is God saying, "Hey, check in with your wife. Hey, why don't you call your best friend and talk with him on the phone, see what he says?" All of those nudges I feel are God, not like, "Oh, as soon as I get this together, God will come back and God and I'll do great things." The speediest steps, the smallest baby steps are always I feel now, God prodding me. Talk to your wife. Talk to your friend. Talk to Jerry. Whatever.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:44:09] Yeah. You know, one of the things people really need to do is to-- I don't know what metaphor I need-- to lower the expectations of what God's guidance is like.
Scott Langdon Yeah.
Dr. Jerry L. Martin And I guess, and I warned from the beginning, just I hear the voice and there's a lot of people, "Oh, I want to hear a voice." No. Don't look in that direction, God gave me a voice because He wanted me to write a book. Okay, fine. But you have to just pay attention. As we always say, we're told, and God: An Autobiography, God whispers. But a lot of times it isn't even like a whisper. And this is part of Alex's frustration way up front, that he wants some manifestation. But, you know, the more I thought about Alex, the more I thought, sounds like he's divinely attuned already. His very search for truth is a divine mission. And I feel often people, you know, just being good to your dog and being good to your wife and neighbor and and and, you know, a family Christmas and whatever Thanksgiving dinner these may be just what you should be doing. It doesn't have to be some special input that you recognize. Oh, here is a divine guidance in some direction or other. Just try to keep yourself in general, attuned, open to a sense of the divine. You know, keep your heart open, keep your mind open and just live your life. As I say, you can just be following the conventional morality or conventional idea of good deeds, being a good husband, a good neighbor, good parent, a good whatever. A good worker at your business. That may be plenty. That may be just what God wants you to be doing. So you don't need to agonize over it. Just rest be, and you might say be at peace with God, and just be in peace with God.
Scott Langdon [00:46:30] 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 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.