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Home > People > Interviews > Alone with a Jihadist: A Biblical Response to Holy War by Aaron D. Taylor

Alone with a Jihadist: A Biblical Response to Holy War by Aaron D. Taylor

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Aaron D. Taylor was raised in a Midwestern charismatic church with the belief that Christians had a duty to take up arms in defense of their government and the ideals of freedom. He supported our actions in Iraq and asserted that only one political party was the appropriate home for true believers of God. After a meeting in London with Khalid, a militant jihadist, Taylor came away with a deep questioning of the ideals that, up to that moment, formed a cornerstone for his theology. In Alone with a Jihadist, Aaron Taylor shares his personal revelation that Christians are not to be supporters of military or other violent solutions to the world’s problems.

Thank you Aaron for taking the time to answer some questions for us!  To start, please tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is called "Alone with A Jihadist: A Biblical Response To Holy War."  It is my first non self-published title.  The book describes my spiritual journey from that of a neo-conservative/Christian Zionist to that of a Christian that now embraces non-violence as an important part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ironically my conversion to pre-Constantine pacifist Christianity came about as the result of a meeting with a militant jihadist.

Do you also do speaking engagements, or seminars?

Yes.  I’ve shared some of my controversial views in churches.  I’m also planning a “Meet the Author” event at the Earth House in Downtown Indianapolis on September 17th.  I also teach an Oral Bible story workshop to pastors and missionaries in many different countries around the world. 

How has your education, profession or background helped you in your writing career? Or conversely, how has you writing success helped you in your profession?

When I attended Christ for the Nations Bible School’s School of Missions program, I learned a lot about other religions, cultures, and worldviews.  That has helped me immensely in writing Alone with a Jihadist.  My years of traveling the world and engaging people with other faith backgrounds besides my own has given me a broader worldview than the average American, especially when it comes to understanding how people in other countries view the American lifestyle and U.S. foreign policy.

What kind of other works (books, scripts, poems etc.) have you had published?

In 2005, I self-published a book called “The Angels are Watching: How God Uses Your Life to Teach the Angels.”  It is available at Xulon.com  The next year I wrote a book called “The Road Back Home: An Introduction to the Christian Faith”  I’ve used this book to give to pastors in third world countries to help them explain the Christian faith to seekers and non-believers.  I’ve also been working hard lately in writing timely articles for high traffic blogs like “God’s Politics” and “Search Warp” as well as Christian magazines and newspapers. 

Is there any aspect to your profession that gets you in touch with your readers directly?

Yes.  I publish a blog at aarondtaylor.blogspot.com  I often interact with my readers when they comment on my blog.

What will your next project be?

I’m thinking about writing a book dealing with race issues from an evangelical perspective.  I intend to bridge the culture gap between white evangelicalism and black evangelicalism.  I believe that white evangelicals need to listen to black evangelicals and understand their pain, rather than taking their racial cues from men like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck.

Who inspires you on a personal or business level?

The men that inspire me the most are all great preachers.  Men like Billy Graham, T. L. Osborn, K.P. Yohannan, Reinhard Bonnke, and Brother Andrew.  As far as  authors go, my favorites are Greg Boyd, John Howard Yoder, and Philip Yancey. 

What type of work is the most rewarding or satisfying for you?

The work that satisfies me the most is encouraging Christians around the world that suffer persecution and marginalization because of their faith.

What can you recommend for writers who are just getting started and are trying to make a name for themselves?

Start a blog. Blast articles all over the web. Contribute to as many publications as you can. And, by all means, get as much radio and television exposure as you can.  In short, you can never get enough media exposure.  Lastly, be more committed to your message than to making a profit.  Make sure  you are writing for the right reasons.

How did you get started as a writer?

I got started in high school when I wrote for my high school newspaper.  Then as a missionary I had to write newsletters and e-zines every month to let people know about what I was doing.  After a while, people started to tell me that they loved my writing.  That’s what gave me the idea to pursue publishing. 

Which is your favorite book/work published?

For pure spiritual refreshment, I thoroughly enjoyed Philip Yancey’s “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” and Brennan Manning’s “Ragamuffin Gospel.” 

What does a typical work day look like for you?

When I’m home, it’s running around and doing errands in town with my wife, and then spending the rest of the day communicating with people via e-mail and writing articles online.  When I’m away, there really is no typical schedule.  In my work, I travel a lot.  Most of the time I am either teaching a seminar in another country or I am promoting my book here in the States.

Have you ever had a mentor, or someone who sparked your passion for writing?

I’ve had mentors that have helped me in my personal ministry and have helped me understand the Bible, but, as far as I know, I’ve not had a mentor that sparked my passion for writing.  My current mentors for marketing and publishing are Pam Perry, my publicist, and Dr. Aaron D. Lewis, my publisher.  If it wasn’t for Dr. Lewis’s encouragement, I may not have finished this book.

Who is your favorite writer/author?

For fiction, that would be Fyodor Dostoevsky.  For non-fiction, that would be either Greg Boyd, Philip Yancey, or John Howard Yoder. 

Finally, a most important question: what was the last song you sang out loud when you were by yourself? 

I’m not sure, but I think it was “She thinks my tractor’s sexy.”

Thank you Aaron! We wish you great success with your current and future projects!

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