If you grew up in the church, you probably know the name Bill Myers. Bill’s been a creator of Christian media for decades, fiction and non-fiction, for children and adults. You might know him from the video series McGee and Me or the book series Wally McDoogle. Maybe you know him from his novels for adults like Eli or The Judas Gospel. His latest book is Rendezvous with God.
The Interview | Bill Myers
This excerpt has been lightly edited for content and clarity. Listen to the full episode above or search “Life is Story” wherever you get your podcasts.
Josh Olds: Before we talk about some of the details in the book, can you kind of give us your elevator pitch for this novel? What is this book about?
Bill Myers: Rendezvous with God is about a reclusive professor whose life is turned upside down when his impulsive 14-year-old niece decides to live with him. He’s not very good with women, and not very good with teenagers. But to make matters worse—that’s really just the gift wrapping on the story—he keeps, against his will, getting sucked back into time and has these off the record conversations with Jesus Christ. A lot of times complaining about what’s happening in his life, but a lot of times seeing the Gospel narrative unfolding before his eyes, and then having Jesus tell him some of the deepest things behind it.
That’s really my agenda: Get Jesus out of religion and put him back into a real, personal relationship, which is what he cries out for. – Bill Myers
Josh Olds: Now, I would say that this is sort of a crazy concept, but I don’t know that it’s such a crazy concept for you, because this kind of interweaving of biblical narratives—you’ve done this before. I can think of like, Eli, Devoted Heart, and The Judas Gospel. Why do you feel like you come back to these types of stories over and over again?
Bill Myers: I am so frustrated of the varnish that we’ve coated Jesus up with. Let me back up for a second to say I’ve written Bible commentaries, so it’s not like I’m anti-Bible by any means. I’ve written—well, I don’t know, half a dozen maybe—but we hide behind the Gospel narrative and put this insulation between Jesus and today by saying, “Well, yeah, that was the historical Jesus.”
I’m always looking for ways of making him relevant, making him personal for today. In fact, my friend Frank Peretti said that when he read the book, he felt that Jesus was talking directly to him. So that’s really my agenda: Get Jesus out of religion and put him back into a real, personal relationship, which is what he cries out for.
The Book | Rendezvous with God
A reclusive college professor’s life is turned upside down by his impulsive, runaway niece who decides she’s going to live with him. To make matters worse, he begins slipping back in time to watch various Gospel narratives unfold that include off-the-record discussions with Jesus Christ. Soon he realizes his conversations tie directly into the drama, pain, and bitter-sweet comedy of his own life.
The Author | Bill Myers
As author/screenwriter/director his work has won over 60 national and international awards, including the C.S. Lewis Honor Award. His DVDs and books have sold 8 million copies. His children’s DVD and book series, McGee and Me, has sold 4.5 million copies, has won 40 Gold and Platinum awards, and has been aired on ABC as well as in 80 countries. His My Life As… book series has sold 2.1 million copies. He has written, directed, and done voice work for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey radio series and is the voice of Jesus in Zondervan’s NIV Audio Bible. As an author, several of his children’s book series and adult novels have made the bestseller list.
He is also managing partner of Amaris Media, International – a motion picture and media company currently developing several projects for both children and adults. The motion picture, The Wager, starring Randy Travis and based on Myers’ novel by the same name, was released in 2009.