By Jeff Goins, Editor
Recently, Wrecked’s editor Jeff Goins sat down with author Geoffrey Wood over coffee to discuss his latest book The God Cookie. Here are some of the answers to those questions.
What inspired you to write the God Cookie?
“My sheep will hear my voice.” I believe those words mean something and I’m very interested in what they mean today. I wrestle with this issue myself and discuss it quite a bit with others – do we mean a booming voice from the heavens; what’s the difference between conscience and that still small voice; how would we recognize God’s voice over the other internal dialogue that happens every second of every day; and if you really thought God had told you something specific, would you do it? That’s the genesis of the narrative.
Is any of it nonfiction?
No. Of course, all of it’s fiction, none of it’s fiction. As a writer, you take bits and pieces of real experiences and move them around, stretch them out, flip them over. But, no, I would never read my fiction (or anyone else’s) as autobiography.
I’ve heard The God Cookie compared to Paul Young’s The Shack how does that make you feel? How is it similar to, as well as different from, The Shack?
That book has had tremendous success, so thanks for the comparison. When I talk to people for whom The Shack has been meaningful, they all seem to say that the book helped them to widen their concept of God and how He works in their lives. That, to me, is the true success of Mr. Young’s book, much more than the number of copies sold. And that’s what I hope (and pray) for, that as I let go of my part (the writing) that God’s Spirit will then use the book in His way and for His loving ends. When you hear that kind of feedback, it’s surely the best and most humbling. I received an e-mail yesterday from a friend of a friend who’d read my book and for whom God used the message in the second fortune cookie precisely to meet her need at that exact moment in her life. That’s the coolest because it’s so clearly out of my control. There’s nothing to do but smile and give glory.
You broach the subject of God speaking to people in this book. How has God spoken to you in your life? Was it ever through a cookie? If so, what flavor?
I chose the fortune cookie because I think we’ve all had that moment —“boy, I hope this cookie tells me something decent this time” or “how did the cookie know?” I don’t really schedule too much of my life around what cookies tell me, but I thought it an interesting “what if?” Who says God can’t use a cookie? For me, usually, the internal dialogue that crashes around inside my head non-stop will be interrupted by another voice-a much calmer voice, more patient and loving than I am-and speak something so surprising, so not-my-way-of-thinking that it throws a wrench in the usual cacophony. That’s the voice I believe is prompted by God, and when you follow out what it says, it’s amazingly wonderful.
Why is it important for followers of Christ to know that they can hear from God?
Well, first of all, because Christ said we would and could, that His Spirit would teach us in all things. I know this can be theologically scary to some folks, even dangerous, but Jesus said a lot of dangerous things that have to be believed or discarded. I choose to believe. And, in my experience, I find it’s amazing how every moment of every day can be a lesson in following. We preach about relationship with God all the time, well, relationships involve conversation. That’s why I wrote the book, to get people asking this question and seeking that conversation.
What do you hope someone gains from reading this book?
To add to my last answer, the plot of the book is meant to be the shape of how God works, as I understand from my limited experience. By shape I mean something bigger and indefinable, but something you can learn to sense and feel. In my experience, God usually gives you a small part to play, something ordinary but surprising and often seemingly absurd. But if you trust like the child He asked us to be, you find you’re following in the path of a Great Artist, and you get to be a part. Often you don’t get to see what part, because as humans, we’d only get self-conscious and screw things up. But sometimes, maybe after its over, He’ll give you a glimpse of the larger picture and it’s like climbing to the top of a mountain and looking down on a beautiful valley. And it’s humbling and surprising and wonderful. That’s the shape I tried to bend the plot for Parrish, the main character, in hopes that people could experience it vicariously and thereby recognize it in their own lives. Perhaps, help them be ready for it, or even seek it out.
For those who may be having trouble hearing from God, what advice would you offer them?
Pray without ceasing. But cease talking. Listen. Set aside time to do nothing but sit in your Father’s arms with no agenda and listen. That sounds really open ended, I know, but if you try it, with the Father I know, I would trust you completely in His hands.
Are you working on any other writing projects currently?
Always simmering, bubbling, writing, thinking.
Where can people connect with you?
I have a website, that is absurdly under construction, but I hope to do more and better with it in the upcoming months.
A few silly questions (and a few silly answers….)
What is your favorite type of cookie?
Snickerdoodle (because of the name)
If God liked cookies, what would be his favorite and why?
I don’t know, but I’ll ask Him.
Do you think Jesus ate cookies, since, you know, he was Jewish and enjoyed unleavened bread?
I believe the invention of the cookie dates to the philosopher/mathematician Sir Isaac Newton and something about him sitting beneath a fig tree….
Jeff graduated from Illinois College, a small liberal arts school, with a degree in Spanish and Religion. He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife Ashley. He works for Adventures in Missions, edits this silly little magazine, and loves to do new things. Check out his blog: Pilgrimage of the Heart.