God.com -- By James Alexander Langteaux
- Matthew Turner Music and Entertainment Editor
- 2001 10 Apr
The cover of the book has a warning label on it. I am a born skeptic, and part of me thought the "caution sticker" was incredibly cheesy. The title was even a little out there. God.com? Was this a book about God on the Internet? Perhaps, it was another story about an individual's addiction to online pornography or a savvy new book on how to meet the person of your dreams online. I quickly learned that God.com, by James Alexander Langteaux, was a book about intimacy, connection and naked honesty.
From the opening paragraphs, I became certain that James is no ordinary author. He's hyper, his words bounce instead of flow, and his personality is mirrored in every phrase. James is not quiet about his struggle with Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.); in fact, it's very much a part of his style. His struggles, his victories and even his secrets are shared with subtle, almost humorous, intentions.
Mr. Langteaux is certainly not silent about what he feels. In this book, he opens his personal diary and lets us read over his shoulder. I found myself moving through a series of emotions. I cried. I laughed. I blushed. I even felt extremely uncomfortable. I know one thing is sure: James Langteaux is a brave individual.
God.com brings to the surface all of the Christian attributes that we tend to take for granted. Honesty, reckless love and belief are words that James mentions many times. Are we honest about our struggles? Do we love the way Jesus intended? Do we really believe? These are questions that I had to answer in my own life upon reading this book. I had the chance to speak with James about his own struggles, the state of the Church's ability to love and so much more. Jesus has given James a message, and I am ecstatic about introducing you to not only his book, but also this daring young man.
Matthew: James, why did you name the book God.com?
James: I didn't really have a book idea, yet the Vice President of Multnomah Publishing wanted me to present him a proposal for a book about how I hear from God. I got on the plane with no book idea, I went to sleep, and God woke me up, and He said, "Call it God.com. Become interactive with the God of the universe. Log on to His page and your software will dramatically change, wherever you go." After that, the rest just seemed to flow from me.
Matthew: What I love about this book is that so much of you as a person comes through. I feel like I know you just by your writing style. How in the world did you get your publisher to let you share so much of your personality in this book?
James: Everyone warned me that I was probably not going to like working with an editor; in fact, the first editor assigned to me didn't get my writing style. So, they re-assigned me an editor and then the book just exploded.
Matthew: In the beginning chapters, you mention the word "belief" many times. You stress the importance of believing. What is your response to the individual who says, "I believe, but when temptation arises, I can't tap into that strength?"
James: I don't think that many people get this, but most Christians don't really believe, Matthew. They've joined a club. And, when we join a club, we have no power. We're just members with a system that has some rules that make us feel comfortable. It's like the fence at the playground. We can point our fingers when one of the kids gets outside the fence. We become judgmental and vicious, but we really don't believe. Because, Jesus said, "Greater works than these will you do in My name, when you believe." So either He was lying or we are. I have been powerless for a very long time, and I've gotten into a lot of trouble while saying that I believed, and inside I'm still wrestling. When I really tap into believing and laying myself at Jesus' feet and admitting that I am a screwed-up mess and only You can bring about a resurrection, and I will believe Your word On the way to work this morning I was reminded of the verse that says, "He who the Son sets free, He is free indeed." I have to believe these words, I can't just be part of a club. When I start to believe it and it becomes a part of my tapestry, my fiber, a part of my being, I can see Jesus becoming alive in me.
Matthew: So is this what the idea of dying to yourself means to you?
James: Yes, because, I want to do all the wrong things most of the time. I am drawn to every dark thing. I am addicted to adrenaline. So the dark side has always been very appealing to me. I am powerless because I have been fascinated by everything that is out there. So, for me to die, I have to just admit to you and to everybody else that I can't do this. I am prone to making the biggest mistakes all the time. But I find that I become free when I die and say, "Jesus, I am a mess, I am powerless, I am weak, You have to live in me "
Matthew: In the book you talk about God telling you to go to Richmond - no questions asked. You got up the next morning and left. You spent the next two weeks having quality time with Jesus. What do you say to the person who says, "I don't have two weeks that I can sacrifice in order to spend one-on-one time with Christ ... I've got 15 minutes?
James: Then I would say that we're in big trouble. It's the whole thing when Jesus said, "Come on and follow me." He didn't do a bargain. The rich young ruler didn't say "Oh, I'm sorry, Jesus, but I have other things going on." And we so often have this attitude and expectation of working a deal with Christ. I'm not trying to sound harsh, but I am quickly finding out that Jesus isn't a negotiator. He pretty much just speaks the truth, and we line up or He is on His way. When He tells us something you can trust Him. This is what believing means. I think when God calls you to something and you recklessly let go and believe, He then allows the circumstances to line up.
Matthew: What made you want to share so much about yourself in this book?
James: I didn't want to share my personal life. But I tend to be that way. I tell everybody everything, all of the time. I have become very vulnerable, and I don't do it for exploitative purposes, it's just my personality. Writing about my shortcomings, my stupid errors - this is just real natural to do.
Matthew: James, you spend a lot of time in this book re-emphasizing God's love for us. So many books are out there, reminding us of God's love. Do you think that the Church is failing at the teaching of God's love?
James: I won't even say the church is. I think we all are failing. I think we have gotten so much press pointing fingers and being judgmental. I'll walk down the street in some city and I'll see Christians, and they're always screaming and holding signs that say, "you are going to burn, you harlot." But, I'm thinking, we all know that, I know that I am all of those things, but what I don't know is that God is loving and forgiving and He is full of grace. I think we have mis-communicated God.
Matthew: You talk about reckless love. Can we learn to love? Is it something that comes naturally with our personality, or is it something that is teachable?
James: I believe that love does not come naturally in any of us. I believe we are self-centered, self-promoting and always have a me-oriented goal in mind. I think we are very dangerous creatures, and I think love is very unnatural, but it is at the core of being a Christian. Love is self-sacrificial. It's putting yourself and your needs at the bottom, in order to feel what someone else is feeling. When we start to love and let God's mercy flow through, that's when miracles happen. When we move out of our comfort zone and let love change us, we change, and then the world changes.
Matthew: How honest do we need to be?
James: I believe honesty will be our salvation. I believe that honesty is the only thing that will welcome a dying, lost and hurting world that needs to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
To buy James' book God.com click here