Tell us a bit about your family. I grew up in a conservative Christian family. Very fundamentalist…believing literally in Noah’s Ark, and so on. It was a very wholesome atmosphere for a child, and I’m quite grateful for my upbringing, but as you grow older, your beliefs often tend to evolve. In my circumstance, my Christian beliefs turned liberal…a conservative belief system which preaches that all outsiders are going to hell did not fit well with my experience in the real world.
What is your favorite quality about yourself? I used to have such wonderful qualities! Patience, tolerance, trust. Aren’t people supposed to grow more in grace as they age? I find I just have to work harder.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself? Scholarship leads to knowledge, and knowledge leads to self-confidence, and self-confidence can lead to pretentiousness, which comes across as something even worse — snobbishness. So, if you have this tendency, don’t read my book, for it will increase your knowledge! Ha.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? Since mine is a book about John’s Gospel, forgive me for quoting that book of the Bible. Here is a favorite, in beautiful King James English:
“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? I’ve actually written four books. Two are about poker, and two about religion. A strange mix, right? But anyway, religion required far more research (the books are historical-critical expositions of Christian scripture: John’s Gospel and Revelation) and I think their publication is my most memorable accomplishment.
What is your favorite color? Hmmm. A few Bibles have the letters of Jesus printed in red. I guess at least at the moment I’m reading, my favorite color is red.
What is your favorite food? If you put it in front of me, I’m going to eat it.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? I have travelled to nearly every state in the United Stated, but not much outside the country. My favorite place, until I find a better one, is the Sea of Galilee near Jerusalem. The aura of the first century is easier to find there than any place else in the Holy Land.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing? It very much influenced my writing. Having grown up in a conservative church setting, I was taught about the lake of fire, and the coming Armageddon when Christ would return to earth and slaughter 200 million people, and, how Christians would be raptured away from a world about to be destroyed. I attended a lecture once on the End Times, and it spurred me to write about the other side of the coin … what Revelation is really about, who John was writing to, and what he was experiencing in his lifetime back in the first century.
When and why did you begin writing? I have always enjoyed writing, but never took it seriously. Raising a family leaves little time. So, while I once wrote a novel (it’s very raw and long forgotten) and a couple of short stories, I never polished them to be published. My two earliest published books—about Poker, not religion—were not nearly as complex and intensive as the research and writing that goes into historical fiction. My last two books took years, and hours daily. So, I guess I just grew more and more into a published writer as time became available.
What happens if we pull John’s Gospel out from the shadow of the other three, and grant John a mind of his own? What will he have to say? Why does this gospel deviate so drastically from the theology of the others? Could this really be the reminiscing of an original apostle, sixty years after the death of Jesus? Were Christians finally being made privy to the direct teachings and miracles of the Son of God?
Listen in as John finally dictates his version of the Jesus story to a Gentile scribe and a disheartened fellow Jew.
In this astonishing and controversial verse-by-verse examination of the Fourth Gospel, you’ll learn to appreciate John’s contribution to Christianity in a surprising new way. I guarantee, you’ve never read John’s Gospel like this before!
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Genre – Religion / Christianity
Rating – G
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