Dr. Jerry L. Martin, author of the true story and reporter of his communication with God, and host Scott Langdon discuss three letters from readers responding to God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher.
Quintin shares an incredible story of a mysterious stranger and an empathetic interaction. Jesse shares a vivid moment of condemnation and takes the first steps toward peace. Darlene shares how she simply asks God to sit with her and enjoy a moment together.
These unique letters of relatable experiences are within the theme of fear and touch on listening to divine nudges, overcoming fear, and understanding each other's journey and pain.
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!
-Share your story or experience with God-
BUY THE BOOK- God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher
LISTEN TO RELEVANT EPISODES- [What's On Your Mind] Articulating A Relationship With God | Does God Exist | Encountering Divine Silence | Spiritual Judgment
WATCH- Is God Trying to Get Your Attention?
READ-Joan of Arc and the Challenge of Spiritual Discernment
#whatsonyourmind, #godanautobiography, #experiencegod
God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher, is written by Dr. Jerry L. Martin, an agnostic philosopher who heard the voice of God and recorded their conversations.
The podcast began with the Dramatic Adaptation of the book and now has several series:
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 120.
Scott Langdon [00:01:06] Welcome to episode 120 of God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. I'm Scott Langdon, and today is our 13th edition of What's On Your Mind. In this episode, Jerry and I talk about three emails we received from folks who wrote in to tell us about their encounters with God. Every email we receive is such a joy for Jerry and me because we love to read and talk about how God seems to constantly show up to remind us how we are of particular concern to God. As is the case with almost every email we receive. Quinton, Jesse and Darlene each express so beautifully in their own ways how God seems to show up in their lives, whether as a divine stranger or as a gentle nudge from within. I hope you enjoy the episode.
Scott Langdon [00:02:00] Welcome back, my friends, to another edition of What's On Your Mind. This is where Jerry and I read some emails and discuss them, emails that have come in to us from listeners of the podcast, from readers of the book. And by the way, if you are interested in sharing your experience of God or if you have a question about anything we do here at the podcast, email us directly at email@example.com. Jerry I'm really excited to talk about these three emails today.
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:02:29] Well, I thought they were amazing because we were already planning to talk about the first two, Quintin and Jesse, I believe, who happened to both talk about fear. And then subsequently, just recently we heard from Darlene, with whom we've corresponded in the past. So she's someone I feel I know personally, even though I've never met her. And Darlene is talking about fear, but in a very different way. And I thought well, what a deliverance that Darlene writes in addressing the same topic. And I think in a very helpful way. But these are all very helpful. I just think these even the struggles, most of all the struggles people go through are illuminating for us all.
Scott Langdon [00:03:17] They are because everyone has their own experience, their experience in the world, in their own unique way. And in one sense, we are-- we feel a connection to one another when we empathize with someone else. So when someone is telling us their story and we think things like, "Yeah, I've had that feeling," or "Yeah, I've had that experience," obviously we haven't had their experience, but we've had an experience in our lives that's similar enough that we can relate to them. And in that very same way, I think God relates to each one of us individually. You know, God's saying-- the personhood of God I feel that talked to you is saying, "Your unique experience and your unique struggles and your unique triumphs and all the things that make you you they are yours uniquely. And at the same time, I'm right there in the mix with you." And sometimes God tells us that through other people- delivers that kind of message to us, through other people. And that's what's happening with these emails today, I think.
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:04:32] Yes, I think so. Yeah.God is talking-- Well, it's always the case, you know, that I feel when people write in to God: An Autobiography, that this is also God sharing something with us is calling something to our attention and that role of empathy. The person may feel alone. That's how you feel in your struggles often you feel quite alone, but you're never alone. And even if you have a strong belief in a personal God, as I have because of my experiences, we really need other people to know that we're not alone. We also need, you know, in the flesh, human beings to understand what we're going through and to view it as just a learning experience in life, however painful it might be. And they understand the pain. We understand each other's pain and we understand each other's journey and insights that come out of that journey.
Scott Langdon [00:05:33] To go back to what we talk about in this book, which is sort of the essential point of where to begin which is listen, and we add, you know, pay attention, you know, listen and pay attention, can we be listening and paying attention to strangers who might be offering a guidance or a comfort or whatever it is that God is trying to communicate to us through this other individual who is the hands and the face unto the world of God to us?
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:06:05] And it can be quite surprising.
Scott Langdon [00:06:08] Yeah. We're not ever really sure where we might encounter that kind of experience. Quintin writes in an email to us, and it's coming off an experience that is very, very fresh to him as he writes to us. Quintin says this "My experience happened a couple hours ago, I’m still shaking.. I was at a party and there was some abuse going on between two of my friends. I tried to stop it but it didn’t work. I go outside and wait outside to make sure everything is okay. I hear a bang and go investigate, just to be told by the guy’s father to leave. As I’m leaving I see a guy walking down the sidewalk. This is around 2-2:30 am keep in mind. I was gonna ask him if I could use his phone cause mine died. I decided not to but then I felt the urge to do it. I ask him if he has a phone I could use. His first response was “why?” I tell him, so I can call my mom, and instead of saying yes or no, he starts talking to me about why I’m upset and need to call her. Fast forward 30 or so minutes, this guy I just met has managed to make me feel comfortable enough to tell him about some of my problems. Keep in mind, I don’t even like talking to therapists, yet this guy I just met was able to get me to talk about my problems and open up. Before we go separate ways he recommends a song called “Camouflage” by Stan Ridgway. As I’m reading the lyrics I realized just how much they related to how I just felt and how he was so kind to me. He then vanished. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 10+ years and have never seen him in my life. I’ve never been so emotional over a song in my life!" That was Quintin.
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:08:02] Yeah. Isn't that remarkable? And I have a lot more to say now because when I look at it, the response I gave him at the time was pretty short and yet it's a very rich spiritual experience that he had. But I just comment: “A remarkable experience! God communicates with us in many ways. Sometimes it is in something a friend — or, in this case, a stranger — says. Sometimes it is like being visited by an angel. These are moments to take in fully, and let them radiate over our lives, and be thankful for.” And the point of my last comment was that sometimes people think of these things as a moment, you know, an episode, it comes and goes, there is this stranger. But no, this is an experience that has deep meaning in it. And you should probe that meaning- Quintin should, and we all can now, and let it radio, let it inform the rest of our lives, let it give tone, meaning, sense, direction to the rest of our lives. And so that's the point of that. But I was struck, you know, here it turned out that fear was a big theme. And I started seeing fear in places I hadn't even quite noticed it at first. Okay. There's some abuse going on, some altercation or whatever between friends. He hears a bang and this sounds kind of dangerous and, you know, he tries to stop it, but can't, and then has to leave. So that's a kind of fearful moment. And then when he goes out and asks the guy to use his phone, even that is a slightly fearful moment. Who is this stranger? But felt the urge to do it. But this is interesting: "I decided not to." I guess he was holding back. Maybe- whoa, who is this guy? I don't know him from Adam. "I decided not to. But then I felt the urge to do it." And that may well be one of these things we call divine nudges. And he's alert to it somehow. Oh. Maybe I should and feels the urge to do it and he does it. And you might say that's overcoming whatever the element of fear or discomfort was at the beginning is now overcome. And I find this back and forth interesting. You know, this strange, mysterious stranger asked why. Normally you say yes or no. The stranger asks why? Why is a very profound question, you know. I often find when I pray for guidance, shall I do such and such, often the first response in prayer is God asking me, "Why do you want to do it? Why?" And it's very important to get clear about one's motivations and intentions. And maybe you don't have a very good reason, but, you know, it's kind of a wrong reason. But this stranger, asks the significant question of why and I tell him so, I call my mom and say instead of saying yes or no, he starts talking to me about why I'm upset. Well, talk about empathy, Scott. This is an enormously empathic moment where the stranger sees this guy is upset. Let me ask why. You know, let me ask why he's upset and they start talking. And again, fear comes up because he says, "I just managed to-- I just met the guy, but yet he managed to make me feel comfortable enough." Well, what's the alternative to comfortable is something like fearful, edgy, you know, on edge. I can't reveal my secrets to this person, but he feels comfortable here unlike even more therapeutic settings where you're invited to relax and share. But this guy overcomes that fear, and gets him to, as he says, talk about my problems and open up.
Scott Langdon [00:12:22] Fear for me when I really look at it and have done these past few years that we've worked on this project, it has taken me in a-- the exploration of my fears and what those are, where they come from and how they come and go, quite frankly. Fear is not something that is with me all the time. There are joy and sadness sometimes and excitement and, you know, all the plethora of emotions that we are beautifully given to enjoy, you know? But fear seems to be a thing that, more than any of the other emotions, wants us to identify with it. Make you, almost that you-- you are the fear. That fear wants to take us over. And when fear seems to take us over, what it does for me is it isolates me. It starts making me think I am alone and I am shrinking. Or, you know, I can never handle any of this. And the fear is like just another blanket pile on top of another blanket on top of another blanket of just, you know, I am separate, I am isolated. And what God is always trying to communicate, it seems, is you are not those blankets. You are what's underneath that which is free and easy and joyful and peaceful. That is the essential nature of who you are. And so there are always these reminders about why I shouldn't be fearful. So and if I'm paying attention to those things, they are available to me. So I am going to walk with my dog and I hear the birds and I breathe the air and I throw the ball in the, chuck it, for my dog, and Watson goes, runs after it. And I am-- I look at that and I think that is a joyful way to live and I am happy and I realize in that moment that I'm not fearful. And I recognize in that moment that I'm happy there's anything you can call it a nudge there to where God's saying, "See this? You're not fearful in this moment, are you?" Well, no. So fear is not you. Well, that's right. It comes and goes. What is the essential nature of you? It's us right here together. God is saying it is us in it together. And so we can't always get that notion from going inward. Sometimes we get it from seeing outward. An outward vision sometimes sees strangers if we are open to seeing them. And if fear is on top of us like a blanket and obscuring our vision, a stranger that comes up and says, you know, "Can I use your phone?" And that stranger says, "Why?" You go, "Never mind." And you look for someone else. But when that stranger says to Quintin, "Why?" Quintin, who doesn't want to talk to a therapist, who doesn't want to talk to people, who doesn't like to open up, feels that, as you have mentioned, tension toward the divine here.
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:15:37] Yeah, it's kind of remarkable. Quintin is a person who has his what I sometimes call spiritual sensors on. I mean, like the beginning of the story doesn't have to do with spirituality at all. You know, it's an event that's happened, and it happens often in the lives, especially of young people that you get in a fracas, you know, especially at 2 a.m..
Scott Langdon [00:16:01] Right. Yeah.
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:16:04] And don't know what to do about it. But one is struck, at least I'm struck, by his paying attention to the urge to talk to the stranger in spite of the stranger being a stranger. And then starts telling, you know, his story, why he's upset. And then they talk for a long time. They talk for a half hour and then the stranger tells him about this song. Did you know about the song "Camouflaged" by Stan Ridgway?
Scott Langdon [00:16:40] I'd never heard it. No, no, I don't know it either.
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:16:43] He went and read the lyrics, and so I looked them up. You know, you find these things on the internet and I won't read them all, it's a full long song. It's one of these songs that used to be very popular, and I'm glad to see they're still around, where the song tells the story. And in this it's a guy fighting in the jungles in Vietnam, I take it, and the enemy is gathering, coming in closer and closer. And he hears a twig snap. "I grab my empty gun," so he's out of ammunition. So he just has to hope. And so he's scared hearing the twig, the snap in the jungle. And so he looks around thinking, as he says, "I counted down my fate." Like, you know, it's over. Let's just do a countdown to the last moment. But he looks around it's a big Marine. A giant with a pair of friendly eyes appeared there at my shoulder and said, "Wait. And then he came in close beside me. He said, Don't worry, son, I'm here. If they want to fight now, they'll have two to dodge." So that's that issue we were talking about in fearfulness you feel lonely but part of the reality of God is that God, that you're never alone. That God is always there with you. And I'm not much on miracles and thinks God will smite the Amalekites or somebody, but nevertheless, it's a big difference between fighting your battles alone and having, let's say, an influential partner, a partner who can offer help. And the main thing is that partner is totally on our side. I mean, this is a combat situation.I there's some prayer reported in the book where God is with the soldier and he says, "I'm with the soldier on the other side, too." Because that's part of the reality of it. "And we fought all night side by side. I wondered how the bullets missed this man. They seemed to go right through him as if he weren't there." And then that's the puzzle of the invisible God who seems to not be there. And the refrain is when the stranger gives his name, "The boys just call me camouflage." Well, that's the perfect name for the hidden God. God is hidden, you know, is around, but it doesn't look like God. It just looks like the jungle.
Scott Langdon [00:19:38] Right.
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:19:39] But. But God is there in camouflage. Always. And then the refrain is, "Woo hoo hoo! Camouflage. Things are never quite the way they seem. There's more. Hoo hoo hoo. Camouflage. This was an awfully big Marine." God is the biggest partner you can have and amazing that somehow the stranger recommends that song.
Scott Langdon [00:21:11] Jesse is the writer of our second email this week, and his story goes all the way back to when he was 13 and he has this experience: “I was 13. I had prayed every night that the Lord would save my soul. … That night was no different as I started to say my prayer but, as soon as the word “soul” came out of my mouth, the Lord God Almighty who hung the moon and stars overshadowed me with his Spirit. It was the most fear I have ever felt in my life. I did not have to go to my mother or father. I knew who it was. He did not save me that night but condemned me. I knew that night I was lost and, if I died, I would lift my eyes in hell. I remember going to the bathroom and staring at myself in the mirror, knowing something had changed. My heart was pounding out of my chest. The feeling that had hit me I cannot describe, other than a fire I had never experienced and a rushing of every nerve on my body. I knew I was in trouble but did not exactly know what to do. ... That Sunday I was brought to my church as always. I was nervous and could not get comfortable. At the end of the service, the preacher opened the Church for membership by letter or experience of Grace. The church began to sing and the Lord returned onto me. I took one step towards the aisle … and, in that first step, the Lord saved my never-dying soul. … I had the greatest peace I have ever felt. I thought surely I would never have another problem in this world. … I have surely had many troubles since then in this world, but have never had that fear and trembling I felt that night. The Lord has blessed me to feel him many times after. Not in an audible voice but with his voice which speaks to the soul. When I pray in earnest and groanings of my heart, he lets me know he has heard me. … God bless you to feel what I have.” That was Jesse.
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:23:14] Yeah. Seems-- that's a wonderful, wonderful communication and experience, set of experiences, to share. I must have been traveling or something because it seems that I did not respond to Jesse. I tried to respond to all of them, but I guess occasionally I'll miss one. And looking at it now, you know, it's really worth responding to, especially on this topic of fear, because that's where he begins. Jesse begins with this "Most fear I've ever felt." And felt, what was the nature of this fear? Well, he felt condemned. And "I was in trouble," he says, and didn't know what to do. But he's feeling under a great condemnation, divine condemnation. So "I went to church as usual, and I was nervous." Again, the fear still with him and could not get comfortable. And then they call for people to come forward, I guess, to be saved or to join the church. And "I took one step towards the aisle, and then that first step, the Lord saved my never dying soul." Isn't that a wonderful phrase? You know, the people they write and they're just writing out of their hearts and they're often so eloquent, you know, so poetic. Even my never dying soul... "In that first step the Lord saved my never dying soul. What's the opposite of fear? Peace. I have the greatest peace I have ever felt." And then a wonderful expression again, "The Lord has blessed me to feel Him many times after." So He feels the divine presence. "Not in an audible voice. But with his voice, which speaks to the soul." Again, a beautiful expression, a voice that speaks to the soul. And I think people with you might say, an intimate or close relationship with God or who were aware of their relationship with God often feel it that way. My experience of an audible voice is rare and not any better than any other form of contact with the divine. It helped me write a book and that's what God wanted me to do. But other than that, it's no, it's not superior to any other form of communicating. And the most common is something like the voice that speaks to the soul. And it speaks. And somehow, if you're attuned in to God you just know that it has spoken. You don't have to hear it in words. And you may formulate the words in your mind. Or it may be without words at all, but just a sense of direction or an affirmation of correctness or a warning, because it can be that, too. But He also lets me know, as he prays, "He lets me know He has heard me." And so that's nice, too. So that's a wonderful story of fear and having the God moment that moves beyond fear and into peace.
Scott Langdon [00:26:39] Yeah. I think of this kind of idea of the negative forces. Maybe we could call them the resistance of the world. We talk about that. The guilty resistance. I think God uses those words in terms of what the world can seem to be giving us. I think about it like a moving sidewalk in an airport, let's say, and I think maybe I've mentioned this before, but it to me is a really clear analogy. If you're going through the airport, you know, you get on these sort of escalator, but it's not escalating, obviously. Right? It's moving as the sidewalk. You can stand there on the right side and just be moving along in this direction. Some folks want to move by you on the left and walk by. I don't know why you're in such a hurry, but that's fine. But the point is, you can turn around on those moving sidewalks and start walking against that movement. But what do you encounter? And you could totally do that. You're not really going to get anywhere in the end and you're going to get resistance. People are moving this way and you might trip and get your shoelace caught in something. All these different troubles. And I feel like perhaps in this situation, God is coming to Jesse and, you know, saying if not something specific, maybe pointing to, you know, a way of moving in your life that is counter to my way, which the Tao, the way how all these religions have a way of talking about that, the way of God. When you're moving in the opposite way, when you're walking against the moving sidewalk, which you're free to do, it's going to eventually be really tough for you and it's going to be trouble and it's going to be problematic. And perhaps somebody coming along, going the way that you should be going on the moving sidewalks says to you, "Hey, maybe you should turn around. Hey, are you tired of falling down from going against the grain? Can I pick you up and help and move you?" And to those of us who are you know, those of us, I mean, who if you're moving in the direction of the sidewalk and someone's coming toward you going the wrong way, you can choose to either ignore them and sort of that's not my business or feel that divine nudge to say, "Hey, do you want to turn around? You know, can I use your cell phone? Why"? Like, maybe that's you. Maybe you're the one who is the divine stranger. So sometimes it can be either way, but it' when is that divine nudge? Sometimes it's for us. And sometimes we need to be the instrument to give it to someone else.
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:29:16] That's hard to discern. And one of the keys here is that Jesse doesn't hear God speaking to Jesse's soul at the beginning.
Scott Langdon [00:29:30] Right.
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:29:31] You know, part of the problem with this kind of fear prescription, maybe it's necessary in some cases, people have to hit bottom, but in normal life, you might say short of that the fear voice, the fear element can keep you from hearing the divine voice. So it's not until somehow it comes to him that he's, no, he's not condemned to hell, because he thinks he's going to wake up the next morning in hell, literally. But no, that's not the case. It comes to him, however, in this moment that he's not condemned forever, that he is okay. And from then on, he can hear God. I mean, he experiences this. Now God is talking to me, but God is probably talking to him all along. But how do you hear it if you've got a bunch of flak, you know, in the air like be in the middle of a battle or riot or something. He can't hear it. But after he gets the peace that he gets from, "Oh, I am okay, I'm not condemned to hell." Then he- Ah! God is present with me. And it's a whole new life.
Scott Langdon [00:30:51] And I'm also struck by the very specific thing he says about when he goes to church the next time. And he is, you know, feels called to go up front. He says "As soon as I took the first step. I knew," right? It's I don't know how it happens for different people in different ways. Or maybe it even doesn't. But maybe-- he didn't say that he was sitting there and got this feeling. He got a feeling, and then he took a step. And when he took the step, then it was like, yes, I get it. Now that I'm God is with me all the time. And he said, in that moment, "I felt like I would never have another trouble in the world." But his next sentence says, "Now I have had troubles," but I don't feel, you know, essentially I don't feel alone anymore. I am not afraid. I wish people would, you know, could see that aspect of it.
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:31:48] Yes. Yes. And he hopes that for everyone.
Scott Langdon [00:31:51] I think so many times, we feel like if things are going poorly with us, then we must be doing something wrong. Sort of the Job mentality. Jobs' friends. So things are going rough for you, that means God is against you. God has turned God's back on you. And so if you start doing things right again, God will come back. But I think that Jesse has come to the conclusion that God would like us to come to you, which is that's not the case. I'm not leaving ever in trouble or anything. You need to take your step, but you will understand as soon as you do that I'm always with you in every step.
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:32:28] Well, this is where it's in that context that I find Darlene's message so fascinating. She wrote to the website www.godanautobiography.com because she'd been reading chapter eight of the book which was posted on the website and writes-- I had to look it up again what's happening in chapter eight because she quotes a line in chapter eight. "I am told in prayer to live my life totally through God." And this was fairly early in the prayers. And I thought, Oh, no, that doesn't sound like fun. You know, I do a lot of things and this sounds like all the recreation, everything enjoyable was going to go out. I'm just going to be like a monk or something. God replies to me, And here's the actual quote from God to Jerry, "This is not a renunciation. It is an affirmation, a growing in a certain direction, in a certain domain." And Darlene picks up on that.
Scott Langdon [00:33:41] Yeah, she does. She writes this back and she says this. Darlene writes: "I so love the “this is not renunciation” part! In one of our group meetings I remember saying that I like to invite God to do things with me. Not just asking for something from him. I just ask him to spend time with me. After that I say thank you and I hope he enjoyed our time like I did. I know I speak simplistically, but that is deliberate for me to reflect my honesty and genuineness. Even then, when I explain my bond with God, and some people find it hard to relate to. I try to tell people to just be themselves. Talk. Just talk. That is prayer as well. I think more people might experience God if they did not have the fear that has brainwashed us all by various religions. It is hard to pray or talk to God if people are afraid. ... I believe people need to lose the fear so they can give, get, and understand the love. Love Darlene.
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:34:50] Isn't that wonderful? And I did reply to Darlene, of course, but it's just a wonderful communication. And so I replied, “Thank you for your wonderful comment, which is full of wisdom. Yes, just spend time with God. Say thank you and hope God enjoys he time you spend together. With God, there is no point in pretending or trying to hide anything. Elaborate rituals and official prayers are fine, when those help people connect to God, but you are right – just talking is prayer as well. Just let God know how it is with you. And just take in the divine presence. And pray attention to whatever you may sense of God’s response, even if it is faint. “I am a God who whispers,” as I was told in prayer. Scott and I will discuss your thoughts on the next “What’s On Our Minds.” Bless you!” That's what we're doing here, Scott. We are discussing Darlene's comment and this is-- isn't it wonderful? She says she talks simplistically but simplistic. You know, I'm often feel being a professor at a lot of my friends are professors, including the religious ones that we all you know-- just talk is prayer. What a wonderful formulation. You know, if you're too intellectual, you don't know how to say anything in three words. But here it's said and it said straight. And that's correct. You don't need an elaboration or something. She speaks, quote, simplistically, but I'm often rather put off that a lot of the language of theologians, especially as they're playing the vast organ of the Christian rhetorical tradition I encountered, mainly among traditions. And I don't know if the others do that, too. But the- so many of them were kind of abstractions and often they're kind of in Latin and, you know, mysterium tremendum and all this kind of thing. And I thought, wait, wait, wait, we're just here, here in the world. And it's an ordinary world. It's the world we all inhabit. And God is here, too. And you can just talk to God and you can kind of trust that if you're talking with sincerity, God's listening, God's paying attention. And that's, I guess, kind of hard for people. They want it dressed up in some fancy language. Well, the simple language that's accurate is the most truthful language.
Scott Langdon [00:37:35] Mm hmm. Yeah, very much so. I loved Darlene's simplicity of asking God to just spend-- would you like to spend time with me? Think about what that's like. I mean, when somebody, especially someone you love, says, "Hey, would you like to spend time together?" And you and God have this experience where you have lunch with God at one point and you make it? You make a point in the book of describing that situation. And you say, you also say, you know, I don't do it all the time. But that day we did. And it was just peaceful. It was great. It was just a lovely little time. And, you know, if you're not particularly religious, maybe you could relate to this in a different way, which would be, you know, just taking the time to be in the present moment. You know, you could talk about it in that kind of language. I think about, you know, all of the thoughts about what I did in the past and what I want to do in the future and what I got to get done before five and this, that and the other thing. And God is always with me in all of those endeavors. And it seems almost that God is more present when I just stop for a moment and breathe and look around and recognize, you know, ah, here we are in this moment. And Darlene's way of doing that is inviting God to sit with her for a while or, you know, just inviting God. And the idea of taking the time to ask, taking the time to invite, and you can say well if God is always with you, God isn't separate. Why would we invite God? It's the motion, it's the practice. It's the exercise of opening your heart to someone else that you invite to have a meal with you that you invite to be in your personal space. To have that kind of energy with God is just a-- it's a focus shift more than God's somewhere else now coming here. It's an acknowledgment of what the scene now is.
Dr. Jerry l. Martin [00:39:44] Yeah, God's present. And then what she's recommending is, well, then acknowledge that the way you had a relative who's always around, but you say one day, let's just sit together, maybe talk, maybe just sit, because that's an action too. And married couples who are getting along often do that kind of thing because there's a lot of communication that is somehow present even without a lot of talk. But or it can be, as Darlene says, it can be just talking. Let's just sit a bit and chat so it doesn't have to be earnest praying or, you know, I've got to turn my soul inside out to reach God. God's here. All you have to do is just the way you would with a comfortable friend. You just say what's on your mind. This is what's going on with me. That's what's going on with me at the moment. Here's what I'm thinking about at this very minute. You know, it may not be a general preoccupation or anything, but at this moment, I'm having this memory or I'm having a speculative thought or I'm remembering a joke, you know, or it can be anything but just whatever you're going through or is on your mind at that moment. You just say it the way you do with a good friend. And it's hard for people to imagine that the great Lord of the universe is interested. But they sell God short when they say that as if God had a limited capacity, or was one of those servers who gets overloaded or something. No. God has enormous capacity and interest. And so trust that when you tell something to God, whatever it might be, just talking ideally that oh God would be interested in hearing that the way a parent often does with their kids or something, or husband with a wife. Okay, she's telling me how her day is or what's on her mind now, or whether she's feeling good or bad or impish or whatever it might be. Yeah, we just relish that. We relish that God does too.
Scott Langdon [00:42:10] 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.