Interview with Jason B. Ladd

I’m wrapping up with the
week with Jason B. Ladd. He’s chatting
with me about his Christian living apologetics book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the
Christian Worldview.
Jason B. Ladd is an award-winning
author, US Marine, and Iraq War veteran. He has flown as an instructor pilot in
both the F/A-18 and the F-16. He and his wife, Karry, have six children.
Welcome, Jason. Please tell us about your current
One of the Few is Christian apologetics wrapped in story. It’s the story of my life
and how I went from apathetic atheist to impassioned follower of Christ. As an
indie author, I was allowed to color outside the lines a bit. Some of the
stories read like a novel. Some of the apologetics has an academic feel. And
the vignettes about Marine Corps and fighter pilot training read like a memoir.
It was pretty ambitious—maybe too ambitious. But it accomplished its purpose—to
preserve the story of my faith journey for my family and for any other seekers
out there.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was doing a lot of study
on the Christin faith. I was really into apologetics, and at some point, I
think I just needed an outlet. I wasn’t a Christian growing up, so when I came
to the conclusion that what the Christian faith was true, I didn’t take it for
granted. I believe anything worth believing is worth sharing. So I started
Excerpt from One
of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview
It was 10 years since our
first kiss on the seawall in Iwakuni, and we would celebrate our fourth wedding
anniversary in June. This was one of our first serious conversations about
death. When she asked this question one night in our one-bedroom San Diego
condo, I was politely dismissive.
“I don’t know.
Nothing? Blackness?”
Sitting upright in bed, I
set down what I was reading to ponder her question. It might have been a copy
of Scientific American. I liked the precision and discovery of science—the
rationality of it all. An exchange like this would normally be brief and
inconsequential. But something was different that night. Her approach combining
concern and patience was by the Book.
“You really believe
that?” she gently responded.
Her eyes longed for a
husband who would take her Christian faith seriously. I sensed
disappointment—even a bit of pity—as she shifted back onto her pillow. She was
raised in a Christian family, but I didn’t grow up going to church. With those
four words, she made me feel something unusual. It was a feeling she would
never intentionally arouse but resulted from my unpreparedness to answer her
simple question. I felt…stupid.
I could not tell her what
I believed because I had never given it any serious consideration. I thought
religion was the opiate of the masses and the cause of most world conflicts. I
figured religion was for little old ladies with hymnals and people too dumb to
realize Darwin killed God. Virgins don’t have babies, and dead people stay
That night, I realized
that I had no justification for my presuppositions other than “someone once
said” or “that’s what I was taught in school.” Surely, our country’s public
school system must afford equal time to all possible models for understanding
the creation of the universe and the appearance of first life, right? If this
God stuff is not even allowed to be taught in public school, doesn’t that mean
it is heinously flawed and ridiculously naive? That is how I thought back then.
For some reason, instead
of the obligatory thirty seconds normally given to these seemingly unanswerable
questions, I pondered the fate of my soul. Up to that point, my views were
passively atheistic and naturalistic, and the word “soul” would have meant some
unknowable thing religious people talk about. I thought of our first-born son,
then 15-months-old, and his baby sister who was due in the summer. What would I
teach them when they ask what happens after death? “Blackness” was an
unsatisfying answer resulting from twenty-six years of spiritual apathy.
I came to a disconcerting
realization: I was unprepared to give my children meaningful answers to life’s
important questions. This was not my first misgiving of being a father
unqualified for the job. There was already a gnawing notion that although I was
already a dad, I lacked something fathers should have. The unidentified
shortcoming haunted me, as if a Ghost of Future Failure was walking along side,
waiting for the tragedy I could neither avoid nor endure. Maybe I haven’t read
enough books. I was a good reader but lacked a passion for literature.
My intuition was
eventually validated, but the missing ingredient was not the quantity of
reading; it was the subject. The day I began asking questions about spiritual
things marked the end of an era of apathy, cowardice, and fear.
You really believe that? A
single question changed my life forever. It stopped my rising tide of
fighter-pilot machismo in its tracks, and I realized that professional trophies
cannot shine in a home darkened by the spiritual ineptitude of their champion.
I didn’t lack an education. I didn’t lack drive or courage. I was willing to
face danger despite the unsettling fear that comes from a worldview whose only
guarantee is death. What I lacked, I could not receive from ordinary books or
the ordinary people who wrote them.
I lacked wisdom. And to
get it, I would have to find God. Strike that; He would have to find me.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’ve written about moving
our family to Alaska. It’s a much lighter read and promises to give the reader
a few laughs. I have a few other ideas in the works, too. In the process of
developing (a service that helps authors decide which book
promotions sites are effective), I developed some techniques to effectively get
book reviews. I’m considering sharing this knowledge in an e-book or an
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I would have to say when I
was about half way through writing the book. I was also writing for my blog
FIGHTER FAITH at the time to continue developing my writing skills. But writing
One of the Few was when I really developed the habit. As far as I’m concerned,
if you’re doing the work, you’re a writer.
I’m past the point in life
of looking for permission to claim certain titles. It’s like in the fighter
pilot community. When you start flight school, they issue you a leather jacket.
But you’re not supposed to wear it. You haven’t really earned it yet. And after
jet training, you still don’t really wear the jacket—you haven’t been to combat
yet. One day you just start wearing the jacket. The same goes with wearing the
title or “writer.”
Do you write full-time? If
so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how
do you find time to write?
I have a day job as a
government contractor in the Defense industry. It’s a pretty cool job, and I
like it. But I like writing, too. I literally have a cabin in the woods in
Alaska. I’m in it a lot. There’s a wood burning stove.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to stand. I like
ergonometric setups. I’d prefer to look up at a screen. It’s nice for your
shoulders, arms, and hands to be in a natural position when at the keyboard. I
know—I’m geeking out;
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At one point, a
veterinarian. At another point, an actor. I think you have to know your purpose
before you can find your place. Developing a Christian worldview helped
Anything additional you want to share with the
Thanks for listening, and
if you know anyone searching for answers to the big questions in life, this
book might be a good place to start.

Thanks for being here today, Jason. All the best with
your writing!

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