Although I’ve written more than 30 books and have done a live, daily radio show for more than 10 years, for the very first time, I’m doing the audio reading for one of my own books. It’s quite a fascinating (and exciting) experience. Can I take you behind the scenes and share some of that experience with you?
The book I’m narrating is Donald Trump Is Not My Savior: An Evangelical Leader Speaks His Mind About the Man He Elected As President, and reading it out loud has several unique contours to it.
But before I get into that, let me share with you the general experience of simply reading your own words out loud.
Until recently, when I’ve written a video script, I simply memorized it piece by piece, allowing me to share naturally and from the heart without using a teleprompter. And when I’m doing radio or preaching or teaching, I do this with very limited notes (or no notes at all).
So, reading page after page of my own words while trying to capture the spirit of the writing is something new for me – and it’s not easily done. I had to sit with my wife Nancy and try some samples until it sounded like I was sitting with you, talking face to face to you as my live, one on one audience. Hopefully, this will come across in the reading!
Doing this means you’re reading every word out loud, with expression and, where appropriate, with passion. Perhaps there’s some humor or irony or sarcasm or seriousness. Is it being felt and conveyed?
I have a new appreciation for gifted readers, especially those narrating novels with different characters. Some are really well done.
In this book, when I’m quoting Trump, there’s one style; when quoting Ann Coulter, another style; when quoting Ted Cruz (or someone else), still another style.
Thankfully, the quotes don’t follow one after another, so I don’t have to be as gifted as one these fiction readers. Still, it’s fun and challenging at the same time.
But here’s what is unique about narrating my new book. It has taken me on a three-year journey of Trump-focused writings, bringing back to mind just how I felt at a given time about the news relating to Donald Trump. To read this out loud is often quite intense!
You see, after the opening chapter, which asks some very important questions about evangelicals and Trump, I then reprint about 90 Trump-related which I wrote over a three-year period, from August 2015 to August 2018.
Because the articles are printed in chronological order, they serve as a running commentary on major events over the last thirty-six months, many of which we have largely forgotten.
Not only so, but when we remember back to our feelings from the past (specifically, when it comes to Trump), we often color things based on how we feel today.
Well, reading these articles out loud takes me back (and takes you back as well) to those very times in the past, from the primaries to the presidential campaign to the ups and downs of the Trump presidency.
For me, it’s been an eye-opener and, at times, even shocking. There’s so much I forgot about, including some really major news. But with our rapid, “here today, gone tomorrow” society, it’s easy to lose track.
And while I remember how difficult it was for me to see Trump as president during the primaries – although I often said I hoped I was wrong about him – reading the articles afresh reminded me of why I had such negative feelings. It also reminded me of the impact that evangelical Christians have had on Trump. While he might not fully be the man we’d like him to be, I do not believe he’s the man he was before.
This becomes clear as you take the journey with me through time across the pages of the book.
But there’s more.
Over these years of writing about Donald Trump and the world that surrounds him, I believe the Lord has given me some really good insights and allowed me to make some genuinely helpful observations. If this is true, He alone gets the credit.
The problem is that even a really good article gets major circulation for just a few days, even if millions of people read it. After that, we’re on to something new.
For me, writing four or five articles per week, there’s the joy of contributing something fresh almost every day. But there’s also the realization that an article is different than a book, especially in our instant age. It’s more easily out of sight, out of mind. You read the article today. You forget about it tomorrow.
But doing the audio narration for Donald Trump Is Not My Savior, I’ve encountered these articles afresh, and I’ve been greatly encouraged.
Some of them had been viewed and shared tens of thousands of times (or more). Some of them elicited great appreciation from you, the readers. In many cases you told me, “You’re writing exactly what I’m feeling!”
Now, they’re all together in one book, preserved for the long-term and available for the moment.
Then, sandwiched on either side is the brand-new material freshly written for the book, an opening chapter that asks, “Evangelicals and Donald Trump: A Match Made in Heaven or a Marriage with Hell?” Then, a closing chapter that offers seven responses to the question: “Evangelicals and the Elections: Where Do We Go from Here?”
So, doing the narration for the book, I’m finding myself saying things like, “That’s right! I remember!” Or, “Wow. That was a really good point. Thank You, Lord! I’m so glad we’re able to get that message out again.”
I hope you’ll feel the same!
The book releases on October 23 (with the audio version to follow in the weeks after that, God willing). Please do let me know if you enjoy it – you can read it cover to cover or you can skip around too, since there are ninety small chapters to choose from. (Just be sure to read the first chapter before jumping around!)
If the book is a blessing to you, tell a friend and then post a short review on Amazon. (These days, you can even post a video review on social media. That’s great too.)
You’ll also see that the book is ideal to give to a friend who has a hard time understanding how anyone could vote for Trump. It’s also great to give to someone who agrees with Trump’s policies but has a hard time voting for him (and his party) because of his personality. This book should help them too!
And for the super-enthusiastic, pro-Trump readers, I believe the book will help put the Trump presidency into a larger spiritual perspective: this influential and controversial man is our president, not our Savior.
Thanks for allowing me to share my narration experiences with you. May the Lord use this book for His holy and eternal purposes!