ATLANTA (AP) -- If there is anyone who knows how to endure adversity, it would be Kirk Franklin.
The Grammy-winning gospel artist has weathered a difficult childhood, a promiscuous lifestyle in his youth, and overcome media scrutiny for his addiction of porn at the height of his gospel fame. Through it all, he says each obstacle made him wiser, teaching him how to prevail during life's formidable tests.
Now the 41-year-old wants to take what he's learned from his misfortunes and help others avoid the same pitfalls with his new paperback book, "The Blueprint: A Plan for Living Above Life's Storms." It was released earlier this month.
In a recent interview, Franklin — who also released his 12th album, "Hello Fear," in late March — talked about how he practices what he preaches in his household, how he confronts fear when it lurks, and pairing up with comedian-radio host Steve Harvey for their Gospel Comedy Tour, which ends on May 21.
The Associated Press: What do you want people to learn from you and the book?
Franklin: I am a jacked up guy (it's) by God's grace that I'm still here. I have no high school diploma, no college education, didn't have a dad, didn't have a blueprint. But by God's grace, I'm a happily married man of 15 years, four children, a ministry that some seem to like, do songs that people like to listen to, do weddings, high school proms.
AP: To you, what is the biggest misconception about gospel singers?
Franklin: Christianity is a journey. ... Sometimes when we see them as gospel artists or preachers, we automatically assume that all is together and well. And it's not. That's why for me, it's more important for me to tell on myself than for you to have a conversation with me about being exposed.
AP: You relate your tumultuous past to some of the characters from the Bible. How do you compare to them?
Franklin: You see these great men and women who were flawed people, flawed human beings. If the Bible, God's word, we as Christians believe that is God's blueprint for our lives, if we see these stories of flawed and failed human beings that God finds redemption (in) and uses them for his own personal glory, then why would I carry an image that is not the same? It just seems to be contradictory for me to be great, and for them to be bad. But their greatness is through God.
AP: On "Hello Fear," a song from your new CD, you talk about how to defeat it. How do you personally overcome fear?
Franklin: I looked at the scriptures in the back of the Bible about fear. I have those scriptures on my phone. I had to transform myself from the inside out, rather than sitting on someone's couch or taking somebody's pill. Instead of taking that pill, I'll take the gospel pill.
AP: How do you apply what you wrote in you book to how your run your household?
Franklin: I talk to my oldest son about keeping his life sexuality pure. It's just keeping it gully with him, letting him know that being a Christian doesn't make him immune from the fact we live in a world of Beyonces, J. Los and Halle Berrys. A condom may protect you from 99 percent of STDs, but a condom can't protect you from soul ties.
AP: Many know Steve Harvey for his risque jokes. How has it been working with him during the Gospel Comedy Tour?
Franklin: I'm proud to see his process as a famous comedian, who was known to be rough and tough. He's had his own personal encounter in his walk with Christ. That's a beautiful thing. We've been friends for 16 years, so I've had a chance to see it.
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