Your book has an unusual title, How to Quit Church Without Quitting God. How did you come up with that?

      MARTIN: By meditating for hours in the shower! Seriously, the title was very difficult. It was hard finding a title that says precisely what the book is about without causing misunderstanding. I wanted to say something against the religious systembecause I think the system deserves itbut without people thinking I was an atheist or, you know, some crazy revolutionary.

      ERICA: So you still wanted to have God in the title.

      MARTIN: I had to have God in the title, because the book is a godly book.

      ERICA: People associate quitting church with backsliding, or beginning a life of crime.

      MARTIN: That’s the problem. According to the popular belief, people who quit church are on the slippery road to hell. I don’t believe that. I give people more credit than that.

      ERICA: There is a spiritual trend in this country, a trend away from institutions and toward a freelance form of worship. What do you think is the cause of it?

      MARTIN: First of all, I’m glad you said it was a spiritual trend, because it is. The people who are leaving, or thinking about leaving, are not godless people. They’re spiritual seekers who are 


Erica asks just the right questions

Erica   Shoemaker is  a  journalism  major  at Ashland
University and works as a staff writer for The Norwalk



Martin Zender

fed up with the religious treadmill. They want to know the true God, but they’re not getting Him in the institution. Instead, they’re having to worry about who will be ushering next Sunday, or what the song line-up will be, or how they’ll raise money for the new gymnasium. They’re saying to themselves, "We’re looking for God here, but everybody else seems to be playing games, or only wanting to look spiritual."

      ERICA: I know many people who feel the tug of God, but they’re afraid to abandon the system because it comforts them. For every person who has left, there must be hundreds who are afraid to take that step.

      MARTIN: Or more. People are afraid that if they leave the institution they’ll be leaving God, or turning their backs on Jesus Christ. Because that’s what they’re told, basically. My book is here to tell them that God and Christ are not part of the system. Jesus Christ is not a member of the Christian religion. So people can quit church without quitting God, because God is not in the system.

      ERICA: (Laughing) I thought you said you weren’t a revolutionary!

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