An interview with the Sydney Morning Herald's David Marr

Sitting in a hotel room the day after the TV interview with Andrew Denton interview and David Marr, the multi-award winning journalist, investigator, and author walks in. His genius is as intimidating in real life as it is on paper. 

"One day," he says, frustrated before we'd even met, "I'm going to teach you what a narrative is." 

He never did, and neither did Hillsong. But he did write a brilliant piece describing the reasons WHY I wrote the book. So many people had been interested for so long. It was an honour to be interviewed and critiqued on the spot by him, and to have the intentions of the gold diggers noted so clearly so early on. 


From  "Hillsong - the church with no answers" 

By the miracle of YouTube, we can take a helicopter ride over Sydney any time we like with Pastor Brian Houston as he lays out Hillsong's Vision 2007. In a voice that has coaxed fortunes from the faithful, he talks prosperity, vision, growth and God's strategy as the helicopter swoops down on the "beautiful piece of property" Hillsong bought last year in inner-city Rosebery for $28 million. 

"I think the finances are where we're going to have to have the greatest faith." 

His confidence is absolute that the mortgage will soon be paid. To a sceptical outsider, Houston looks oddly like Spike Milligan with cans on his ears and a microphone to his mouth as he looks down on the suburbs where Hillsong's "state-of-the-art worship centres" are booming already or will soon be delivering the goods for Christ. He shrugs off ridicule. The nation's most triumphant preacher lives in a world without doubt and without dissent. 

"Jesus said a house divided against itself cannot stand," Houston reminds the thousands who have viewed this film clip and left adoring messages behind. ("Please come to Sweden! We need 'fire' here!!!!!!!!!") Authority is a big deal at Hillsong. You don't mess with Brian or his wife, Bobbie. "The great strength of our church has always been our unity. A single vision is critical to where we're going." 

So Tanya Levin is a problem. She asks questions. She wants explanations. She challenges the vision of Hillsong's leadership. In short, she's trouble. 

Two years into writing People in Glass Houses, her insider's account of Hillsong, she was finally - and literally - shown the door. "There is no debate within Hillsong," she says. "That's fundamentalism. It's not open to free thought and question, not at all." 

The church wasn't answering her emails about the book. Houston had ignored her calls. She defied orders not to turn up at the Castle Hill "campus", until the night came when two security guards carried her from the church and "a very tall, handsome Maori man of about 24" called Dion walked her to her car. 

"I cried at Dion," she writes. "I told him about my dad, and faithfulness and loyalty … whatever kind of Hollywood angel he was dressed as that night, there would come a time when he would outlive the usefulness to the Firm. And then he would lose that simple genuine look he stared at me with. I told him to go home and read his Bible and go ask the preachers why it doesn't match what they say. He listened like one does to the ravings of a lunatic and I made him listen because that's his job."