To the readers of I AM THE WAY.


Dear Readers, I am thrilled to introduce my book, "I Am The Way," a humble attempt to explore the intersections between Biblical and Taoist philosophies.

The book admits that merging the thinking of these two traditions has limitations because of their differences. However, it also highlights the significant similarities in values that make the endeavour worthwhile.

Christianity focuses on a personal connection with a relational God and the soul's salvation through faith in Jesus.

Taoism, rooted in ancient Chinese wisdom, emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao, often translated as "The Way." This philosophy encourages simplicity, humility, and interconnectedness with the natural order.

While Christianity and Taoism differ, they share common ground on questions of virtue, conduct, humility, life, love, morality, and spirituality. To help you navigate these differences and limitations, I have included an appendix in the book. In this section, you will find a standard translation of the 81 chapters of the Tao Te Ching.



In respect of The Tao, I use the capitalized term, The Way, interchangeably with The Way of the Lord or The Way of God. I ask you to remember that reimagining text written in a non-deistic tradition into text compatible with a deistic practice can be challenging.

Comparing the chapters of the Tao Te Ching with their counterparts in "I Am The Way" will reveal similarities and significant differences. It is helpful to compare the two renditions, even though no one translation will provide a direct likeness.

Writing this book involved extensive research and the synthesis of wisdom from various translations and texts. I consulted over 15 translations, academic analyses, and popular commentaries on the Tao Te Ching.

I then researched the Bible for similar themes, discussed them with advisors, and used my training and experience to formulate a path that honors both traditions while staying true to their essence, cadence, and style.

Essentially, "I Am The Way" explores the common ground between Christianity and Taoism, allowing you to take the best and leave the rest. It respects the love for Jesus Christ while breaking free from exclusivity and critical belief systems. It also honors the Tao by making its wisdom accessible to a broader audience.

I encourage readers to approach this book with an open heart and an open mind. Embrace what resonates with you, find what is valuable and helpful, and grant grace for the rest. While these traditions may differ, they share a deep concern for virtue, compassion, and the betterment of the human Spirit.

Thank you for embarking on this journey of spiritual exploration with me. May you find inspiration, insight, and wisdom within these pages.


With gratitude and warm regards,






Bob Martin






I Am The Way: Bridging Wisdom Across Traditions


Welcome, dear reader, to a journey of discovery and transformation. Holding this book in your hands, you embark on a quest that has taken me through the landscapes of faith, philosophy, and personal revelation. 'I Am The Way' is not just a title—it's a promise, an invitation, and a testament to the interconnectedness of the human Spirit and the wisdom that has guided us through the ages.

The genesis of this work stems from a profound realization—a realization that the teachings of ancient Eastern wisdom traditions and the wisdom encapsulated in the Christian faith share more than a few parallels. I was driven by a question that echoed in my heart: What if we could synthesize the boundless love exemplified by Jesus with the profound life-enriching practices taught by Eastern Masters? This question became my compass, pointing me towards the crossroads of faith and philosophy, where 'I Am The Way' took shape.

At its core, Christianity imparts the message of embracing the Love of Jesus as the path to enlightenment and salvation. Eastern Masters have long taught that cultivating Love, Compassion, and Wisdom opens the doors to discovering 'The Way.' It's a harmonious convergence of teachings, separated by time and geography, yet echoing the same resonant truth. 'I Am The Way' seeks to unearth these ancient truths and weave them into a narrative that resonates with modern Christians seeking a deeper connection to their faith.

The Tao Te Ching, attributed to the sage Lao Tzu, is a revered text from ancient China that has illuminated the paths of wisdom seekers for centuries. The designation' Ching" refers to a classic book. Te is often translated as virtue, and Tao points to The Way. So, The Tao Te Ching is the Classic book of The Way of Virtue. Its teachings, centered on harmony, balance, and inner peace, have transcended time and cultural boundaries. 

However, as profound as its insights are, its language and concepts will seem foreign to those rooted in Christian traditions. This is where 'I Am The Way' comes into play—a bridge between two worlds, a linguistic and spiritual conduit that translates the Tao's wisdom into the familiar terms of Christianity.

I aim to foster a dialogue between Eastern philosophy and Western Christian thought throughout these pages. I draw parallels between the two, emphasizing the universal themes of love, grace, compassion, and the divine presence. By reinterpreting key concepts of the Tao Te Ching through the lens of Christian theology, I hope to offer readers a fresh perspective—one that encourages them to explore their relationship with God, humanity, and the world around them.

My journey in crafting 'I Am The Way' was not only an academic exercise. I delved into the depths of my spirituality and embarked on a lifelong quest for understanding. From my experiences as a football player, prosecutor, defense attorney, social worker, therapist, mindfulness teacher, and happiness coach, The chapters of my life unfolded in unexpected ways, leading me from atheism to seeking, from Buddhism to Christianity, from the courtroom to the meditation mat, and from scepticism to unwavering faith. Each phase of my life contributed to the tapestry of wisdom woven into this book.

Life's twists and turns led me to delve into the teachings of Eastern masters, immersing myself in the wisdom of Taoism and Buddhism. The Tao Te Ching, a profound text, connected with my evolving spiritual journey during this phase. The Tao's elegant simplicity and insights into harmony, balance, and inner peace captivated me. I embarked on a transformative period of study and contemplation under the guidance of Taoist masters.

Meeting my wife was a turning point that led me to desire to create a "Rosetta Stone" that would enable us to discuss our cosmologies despite our differing backgrounds. My wife, a Southern Baptist Bible literalist, came from a different religious experience. Our union was a fusion of two contrasting cosmologies, each rich with its teachings and interpretations of life's purpose.

Early on, my wife's genuine sadness that I wouldn't be joining her in Heaven and my playful response about her not being reincarnated with me highlighted the intriguing crossroads where our beliefs converged and diverged. Our deep love for each other compelled me to explore how to bridge our spiritual worlds and facilitate meaningful discussions about our differing perspectives.

My wife's role as a sounding board, someone who could validate the effectiveness of my approach even from her conservative Christian perspective, was pivotal. Her positive responses to my interpretations of the Tao Te Ching and Christian teachings reaffirmed the book's potential to speak to a broad audience. As we discussed each chapter, I could see that bridging these two profound spiritual philosophies touched her deeply, demonstrating the universality of the book's message.

Throughout this journey, divine love guided me—the same love Jesus exemplified that permeates the teachings of the Eastern masters. This love, I believe, is the common thread that unites all seekers, regardless of their spiritual paths. It underlies our existence, inspiring us to fathom, empathize, and relate.

As you delve into these pages, you'll accompany me through my experiences of doubt and discovery, trauma and healing, love and loss. I hope you see echoes of your journey within these narratives, connecting with the universal threads of human experience that bind us all.

"I Am The Way: Finding the Truth and the Life Through a Biblical Interpretation of the Tao" is an endeavour to address the spiritual hunger that many feel in today's ever-changing world. It responds to the desire to connect with the Divine beyond strict doctrines, embracing the vastness of the human heart. 
This book is not a manifesto but an exploration, an offering, and an opportunity.



You may wonder, why now? As the tides of change usher in a new era of interconnectedness through globalization, the internet, and interfaith dialogue, people seek novel ways to nourish their spiritual hunger. This book responds to that call, presenting a perspective that resonates with the openness of heart and mind that characterizes this evolving landscape.

Throughout this journey, I've encountered personal transformations and witnessed the impact of these teachings on others. Stories of connection, understanding, and healing emerged, confirming that the hunger for spiritual nourishment remains unabated. 'I Am The Way' intends to strike a chord with those who seek, question, or explore spirituality, guiding them towards a more satisfying, meaningful, and serene existence.

So, I invite you to immerse yourself in these pages, explore the passages that resonate with your Spirit, and engage in the dialogue this book inspires. Together, let us walk the bridge that spans the wisdom of ancient traditions and the realities of our modern lives. Let us discover a new way, a harmonious convergence of East and West, of timeless wisdom and contemporary understanding. Welcome to 'I Am The Way.' The journey begins here.

In Unity and Love,

Bob Martin

The Legend of Lao Tzu and the Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching

In the heart of ancient China, amidst the tapestry of history and myth, emerges a figure shrouded in mystery and wisdom - Lao Tzu. Born around 600 B.C., his name means "Old Master," a fitting title for a man who would leave an indelible mark on the world through his teachings captured in the "Tao Te Ching."

Lao Tzu's life is veiled in the mists of time, and some consider him a legend rather than a concrete historical figure. Yet, his legacy endures, a testament to the depth of his insights into the nature of existence and the human condition.

As the legend goes, Lao Tzu, disheartened by the turbulence of the world, embarked on a journey. He aimed to find solace in a quiet sanctuary where he could reflect on the mysteries of life. As he left his home, a city guard recognized his wisdom and pleaded with him to leave behind his teachings for posterity.

Heeding the guard's request, Lao Tzu penned down his thoughts, offering guidance for those seeking a harmonious way of living. The central pillar of his philosophy was the "Tao," often translated as "The Way." The Tao embodies the Universe's natural order, the essence that underlies all existence. It's the serene flow of rivers, the growth of trees, the ebb and flow of life – a harmony that invites us to align with the rhythms of the cosmos.
Within the pages of the "Tao Te Ching," Lao Tzu unveiled a treasury of profound insights. He advocated for humility, kindness, and compassion. He encouraged simplicity, urging people to find contentment in the present moment rather than chasing endless desires. His teachings resonated with Wu Wei, the idea of "effortless action," where one aligns with the natural course of events instead of resisting or forcing.

Lao Tzu's wisdom extended to understanding duality – the interplay of opposites. He posited that light and darkness, strength and weakness, are interconnected facets of the same reality. One can attain balance and harmony by embracing both sides, transcending the limitations of mere judgments.
One particularly captivating teaching is that true power is found in yielding rather than asserting control. In a world that often glorifies domination, Lao Tzu advocated for strength in vulnerability, for it's in yielding that we find our true essence and forge connections with the world around us.

As he concluded his writings, Lao Tzu handed the small yet profound book, the "Tao Te Ching," to the guard and disappeared into the mountains, leaving a legacy that would endure through millennia.
The "Tao Te Ching" remains a beacon of wisdom, its ripples felt across the ages. Its teachings have inspired countless seekers, philosophers, and thinkers throughout history. Lao Tzu's insights have transcended borders and cultures, resonating with the universal longing for understanding and harmony.

The legend of Lao Tzu and the "Tao Te Ching" resonates with us today, a poignant reminder of the enduring pursuit of balance, wisdom, and peace. It urges us to approach life with humility and kindness, embrace our strengths and weaknesses, and flow with the currents of existence rather than resist them.

Just as Lao Tzu ventured into the unknown, guided by inner wisdom, we too can navigate the complexities of life by drawing upon the teachings of the "Tao Te Ching." For in its pages lies a profound truth – that within the mysteries of existence exists a path to enlightenment and harmony that weaves through the tapestry of time and beckons us to find our own way.



To my eighth-grade English teacher, Dennis F. Geesey, 1938-1997
and to all teachers who plant seeds and often don’t get to see them bloom.

To Dennis Geesey, who saw beyond the classroom's frame,
Where words took flight, and dreams found their aim,
In the fertile minds of youth, you sowed the seed,
A belief in words, in dreams, in what could be freed.

You told us tales of prose and verse, encouraged us to write, to rehearse,
With each pen stroke, you nurtured our art, with your guidance, we found a start.

You saw in me a spark of light, a potential hidden from plain sight,
You said I could make the mundane sublime, turn alleys into boulevards, in my own time.

To teachers like you, who plant the seeds, In the hearts and minds of eager, young breeds,
Your legacy blooms in each word we pen, For you, Mr. Geesey, I dedicate this, then.

In your honor, we continue to write, To turn alleys into avenues of light,
For you believed in us, now let it be known, Your lessons and love in our hearts have grown.



In Gratitude to the Divine Unity.

In humble reverence and deep gratitude, I acknowledge the divine presence that transcends all boundaries and manifests itself in the 10,000 forms.I offer my heartfelt thanks to the God of love and compassion, the source of grace and wisdom, whose light shines in the teachings of Jesus Christ. I also extend my appreciation to the Tao, the eternal Way, and the harmonious natural order it represents. I find guidance in its simplicity and wisdom.I am indebted to the spiritual teachers and guides from Christian and Taoist traditions who have illuminated my path and shared their profound insights.

Of special note is Master Hua Ching Ni, who first introduced me to the Tao.
My gratitude extends to the community of seekers who have joined us on this journey, offering their support, encouragement, and diverse perspectives. I celebrate the unity in the diversity of faiths and philosophies, knowing that we find common ground in our shared quest for wisdom and enlightenment.
May the wisdom of the Christ and the Tao guide us in every step of our lives, and may we continue to discover the profound interconnectedness of all things.

Of special mention and great thanks go to my Publisher, Angela Lampe, whose faith in me and this project brought it to the public. Her support and gentle guidance molded "I Am The Way" into a presentation I could not imagine. Heartfelt gratitude to my wife, Connie, who is a Bodhisattva, a Saint whose values and theology gave rise to the inspiration for this book. The ECC Hombres, a small group of men I meet with every Monday morning, The Reverend Richard McBride, Ralph Waller, The Rev. Dr. Daniel H. Kuhn, Jr., The Rev. Dr. Jacob Luther Mauney, The Rev. Dr. Ray Pollard, Luigi Orlando, and The Reverend Bud Fisher, who bore my mood swings and steadfastly gave support, encouragement, wisdom, and most of all, kept me grounded. 
Thanks also to The Reverend Kirstin C. Boswell, Elon University's Chaplain, and the faculty and staff at The Numen Lumen Spiritual Center, who have inspired my interfaith journey.

My good friend and fellow curmudgeon, artist, and Renaissance man, Albert Kauslick, created the illustration of Jesus and Lao Tzu joining paths. He has been my mirror, collaborator, buddy, and BFF for as long as memory serves me. Thank you.

Since joining the Elon Community Church, I have attended The Seekers Class, one of the Adult Sunday schools. It is a group where any question is allowed, and I have been free to express my Eastern thinking even as my understanding of Western theology has deepened. It has been the rails upon which my train of thought has traveled.

A gracious thank you also to Ning Marella, Mark Steven Rizarri, and Leah Mae Fernandez, who have tirelessly managed my social media and grown my platform so that my message can reach more eyes. Their assistance has taken a huge weight off my shoulders and allowed me the time to finish this project.

There are so many others: all my guest authors whom I asked for contributions, my Beta readers, friends, and family. They are too numerous to name them all, but I send my heartfelt thanks.

With a heart full of gratitude, I offer this devotional as a testament to the shared journey of Christians, Taoists, and all spiritual traditions. May it inspire and nourish the souls of all who read it.


Bridging Wisdom

Across Traditions

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