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
ERICA: The cover of the book certainly conveys
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
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
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
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
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
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