Full disclosure on this conversation—I’ve known Ben since
the mid ‘80s, and worked for him for a number of years, and we co-authored Common Grounds. So, no pretense about this
being an interview by an ‘objective’ journalist. This is a conversation between friends. We talked about Ben’s new book, Out
of Control, written with his usual co-author, Dr. Sam Adams.
GL: In the first chapter you depict some hectic ways of living that are
typical of many Americans today. I actually felt a bit of exhaustion as I
merely read your descriptions of
hectic life, which should probably signal how truly exhausting this is in real
What specifically inspired you to
write this book? Did a light go on and you thought, “My life is insane. Something’s got to change. And I’m probably not
the only one”?
Yes, something like that. Personally, I was dancing on the edge of
burn-out about five years ago. I didn’t
have a break-down or anything like that, but God was convicting me about the
hectic pace I was keeping. I needed to
slow down and gain some control of the chaotic frenzy that was my life. In the midst of my personal quest two key things
was invited to participate on a PBS Panel and met an orthodox Jewish Rabbi who
made quite an impression on me. By the way, Glenn, he’s the second Jewish Rabbi
that God has used to radically change my life. Backstage we had a fascinating conversation
about his beliefs and personal practice of Sabbath in his family. Now if I had any notion that I was busy …this
Rabbi has seven children. But that
conversation really furthered my thinking about the way we live our lives in contrast
to the pattern that God set out for us to follow.
personal process became a book following another conversation between our
publisher, Brian Hampton at Thomas Nelson, my co-author Sam Adams, and
myself. We’ve done a number of books
with them and they asked Sam and I what we saw as the greatest needs in the
culture. Sam is a clinical psychologist
and I am a pastor so we were comparing trends and common struggles we both
see. There were many common issues we
discussed such as pornography and other issues affecting marriages and
relationships. But we agreed that the
most pervasive problem is this notion that our culture is “out of
control.” People are going fast and
furious and their lives are so fragmented that it is having serious
ramifications. And they didn’t know what
to do about it. So that day, the idea
for a book addressing this epidemic was born.
GL: Yes, this is definitely
a problem in our society. The difference is, you and Sam have hope, and I
confess that from time to time I literally feel hopeless before the monster of
the “fast and furious” fragmentation.
My thought process goes like this: I need to change. I can’t afford
NOT to change. But I can’t afford to change, either. I’m trapped. I’m drowning.
Either way, I’m going to let down and disappoint people I care a lot about.
I realize you can’t say in a few words what it took you a whole
book to write, but perhaps you can hint at some of your response to this
Specifically, what hope can you offer to someone like me, who from
time to time feels caught, feels trapped, feels unable to get off the treadmill
and yet unable to sustain ‘life” on the treadmill any longer?