The approach I took in this book is unique because I want to do much more than impart some information. I want people to see in new ways, I want people to think differently. The method of this book is as important as the message.
This book, actually my first, contains, and is built around an extended parable. I’m not sure if this qualifies as fiction, but it is a fictional story. My mind works in parables, and I have a few ideas for fiction type stories, but it is hard for me to not follow these up with teaching.
What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
I come from a non-religious background, in fact for years I was an argumentative atheist. My approach is at least partly based on a core value that religious language can water down significant, life changing truth.
I spent 16 years as a professional counselor and still get a great thrill from seeing people break through the barriers in their lives. When my parents divorced, while I was fourteen years old, I decided to do whatever it took to not fall into the same traps that they had been in. This was really the beginning of my journey.
I really see every person as unique and created to carry a particular attribute of God’s Nature. This is a significant part of my motivation in wanting to help people. I believe God designed the human race to represent His Nature on the earth.
Tell us about your family.
I have been married to Jackee for 25 years, and we have four kids, one of whom got married this summer. I have a son with a handicap, two daughters and another son, and of course now a son-in-law. They are great humans each with their own unique personality and approach to life. I admire my children for the journeys they are on. They are all very creative in their own ways.
My family began and grew in Abilene, TX before I dragged them all on this adventure to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I think they have forgiven me now.
Have you written other nonfiction books?
Do you have any other books in the works right now?
What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
I love music. I have played the guitar since I was young, and still find it very relaxing. I love being outdoors, and I love to travel to interesting places.
Why did you write the featured book?
For years, I have explored the communication of the message Jesus shared. I feel that overall, believers do a mediocre to poor job of communicating the gospel to non-believers. This is often true because they themselves don’t have a meaningful understanding of the message. My desire is to make the power of Jesus’ message clear to those without any church background. I have seen that in doing this it becomes more clear to those who are in the church. Jesus did not come to motivate the lazy and scold the misbehaving, He came to reclaim and restore His sons and daughters. This is a powerful message.
Please give us a peek inside the book.
The Journey Begins
Why Did He Go?
I can still see her face as she answered my question. The stress on her countenance faded into a faraway look as if she were in a trance. It seemed as though she had suddenly left on a vacation without moving from the chair in front of me. The lines around her eyes softened and the look of fear and frustration momentarily melted. Having mentally arrived at her new destination, she was ready to answer me.
I had been working as a juvenile probation officer for a few years. This, like many other meetings, took place in a moment of crisis. The strands of life this single mother had been holding together were unraveling fast and she viewed me as another agent of fear in her life. What would happen to her son? Would she lose him to long term detention or any one of multiple placement options? Like so many other parents, she came to my office swimming in a sea of competing emotions.
She had come to pick up her son who had stolen her car and run away from home. After a frantic period of waiting and searching, he had been located several states away – Florida, if I remember correctly. Out of gas and out of resources, he had left a trail of forged credit card receipts. After many attempts to fill up and drive-off, the boy had finally been picked up, claimed by his mom and returned to our small West Texas town. Now she was sitting in the sterile office, wondering what this probation officer was going to do and trying to figure out her next step. We had established the basic information about his age, family background and the nature of their relationship, but I was still curious – why Florida? Was her son running to family, friends, or even a girlfriend who had moved out of state? So I asked the question:
“Ma’am,” I said, “why did he choose Florida? Is there someone there he knew?”
This was the question that had prompted the shift in her body language. Her eyes narrowed and looked as if she were scanning the horizon in my diminutive office. Her imagination departed on the journey, although part of her remained behind to answer me. “Why Florida?” she repeated, “I wasn’t sure either until I went to pick him up. But the further I drove and the further Texas fell behind me, the more I began to understand.” She paused, eyes still distant, “We don’t know anyone there, and I am not even sure if he knew exactly where he was hoping to get to … but having driven the same way, I know exactly why he went.” She seemed to have reached that faraway destination as she summed up her explanation in a single word, laden with emotional significance to her. As she uttered the word, it seemed weighty enough to reach beyond her and her son to include all of us.
“Freedom,” she answered. “He went for freedom. The further I traveled, it was as if I was leaving behind every care and every difficulty. The more I drove, the more I considered joining him, because life just seemed easier in front of me than it did behind me.”
Like her son, she had a picture of freedom in her mind. This picture, however inaccurate, would point her heart towards the pursuit of freedom. His picture had been so skewed that his greatest bid for release had actually resulted in the loss of all his freedoms.
Our brief conversation had already revealed that her life had been long and difficult. Many painful experiences had clouded her past and led up to this one. This day was another landmark – one more harsh and frightening experience. Even loving her son had become painful. And now here she was, putting one foot in front of the other with a hollow look in her eyes, and the only positive feelings she had were evoked by imagining a different life from the one she was living.
Yet, in the midst of all that weight, she had latched onto a universal dream. She knew something within her was crying out for something more. Yet that thing, whatever it was, seemed out of reach. No wonder life looked better in front of her than it did behind her. She ached for freedom.
Don’t we all?
What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
This book is particularly designed to help people use their mind in new ways. I literally want people to think differently about their lives and about the message of Jesus.
It seemed clear to me that when Jesus came to a town radical changes happened in people and in some cases in whole cities. I want people to have a chance for real and meaningful change. Beyond the common tr- harder approach to Christianity, I want people to understand how to connect to the power behind the message.
Where on the Internet can the readers find you?
Thank you, Bob, for spending this time with us.
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