Interview Page 3

       MARTIN: In chapter two, I talk about the thrill of a freelance walk in the spirit with God, about seeing new things every day, new vistas. I use Abraham as an example of that kind of walk. God called Abraham from his homeland and he followed God, not knowing exactly where he was going. What an exciting life! Then I dive ahead 5000 years and talk about the trans-America bicycle trip my wife and I took in 1984, when we wandered the country together for three and a half months on our bicycles. We strengthened our marriage and found a deeper relationship with God on that trip. So there is a direct link between Abrahamís walk and our walk. And Iím betting that millions of readers have had exciting adventures of their own, and are raring for just such a spiritual adventure. Theyíre just looking for encouragement. They want examples of people who have stepped out and thrived. They want to make sure itís okay with God to feel so free. Isnít that weird? People donít trust freedom and joy.

      ERICA: The cover of the book certainly conveys joy.

      MARTIN: Itís the joy thatís experienced by having a freelance walk with God. So many people try to put God in a box. They say, "This is the way God is, and you better worship our version of Him or else." According to scripture, God does not even dwell in man-made temples, let alone cardboard boxes.

      ERICA: Is that you in the picture?

      MARTIN: Yep. Thatís me when I was three years old. We lovingly refer to it as "The Leaping Zender." The idea Iím trying to convey with that image, besides joy, is that it takes the mind and heart of a child to grasp the things of God. The mind of a child in the body of a man. Theologians want to make God so complicated and mysterious. But Heís not that way. The complications arise in undoing the false teachings foisted on the people by the clergy.

      ERICA: Speaking of the clergy, thereís a nun at the bottom of the picture, looking up at you.

      MARTIN: There is? How did she get in there?

      ERICA: Very funny. You talk about your Catholic upbringing in the book.

      MARTIN: Yes, in chapter one. When I sat down to write the book, I thought, people need to know me before I talk to them about God.

Erica loves the cover!

 They need to know about my own fears, about where Iíve come from spiritually. I wrote the book determined to be open and honest about my life. Maybe I sometimes take that too far. People have told me to edit things out of the book that Iím just not going to edit. Iím not some polished pastor coming at people from a pulpit. Iíd hate to come across like that. Itís not me. Why should I edit the blood out of my book? Itís what makes my book different. Iím a normal guy who is seeking God right along with the reader. I fall down and get up just like everyone else. I bleed.

      ERICA: But youíre still an authority on the Scriptures.

      MARTIN: I think I can be honest with people and still maintain my integrity there.

      ERICA: Letís talk about chapter six.

      MARTIN: Thanks for not asking about chapter five! As shocking as chapter four may be, chapters five and six are even more so. I donít want to even touch upon chapter five here, because itís too hot. People can only swallow that chapter when theyíve arrived there from chapter one. If I say anything about chapter five now, it would be too easy to get taken out of context. But I will say this about chapter six: itís the showpiece of the book. A real show-stopper.

      ERICA: The so-called "cult" chapter.

      MARTIN: Right. I like that chapter because itís so objective. The Christian religion is going to have to shift into damage control mode when that baby gets out.

      ERICA: Give it to us in a nutshell.

      MARTIN: Bob Larson wrote a book called Larsonís New Book of Cults.*

      ERICA: Heís pretty big in the news now. 

      MARTIN: Yes. Heís the so-called Christian expert on cults and demonology. Heís the guy whoís running all over the country casting demons out of people. If you ask meÖwellÖI better not say that. Anyway, he wrote this book called Larsonís New Book of Cults. In the book, he lists nineteen points that characterize a cult. But guess what?

      ERICA: Every point applies to the Christian religion.

      MARTIN: You got it!  It is so wild. You have to see it to believe it. I know what  people are going to say about my book. The Christian leaders are going to say, "Donít listen to that Zender guy, because heís a cult leader." Iím already anticipating  that. Itís the way it always is. When people donít like what  youíre saying but  they canít disprove it, or they just  flat-out  donít like you,  they

* Copyright 1982 by Bob Larson

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