After I picked my jaw up off the ground, and with astonishment, told my husband, “Jesus got punched in the face!”, I kept reading. I wish I could tell you that’s the most incredible thing that happens in the story, but it’s only the beginning. Pretty tame, actually.
But before you write this book off as an irreverent (it sometimes is), silly (that, too), pointless (definitely not) read, consider what the author, Matt Mikalatos, is trying to unearth.
His premise is that we often, unintentionally, create a Jesus of our own liking, rather than take time to get to know the real Jesus. And I’ll tell you right now, the Jesuses we meet in this novel (Magic 8 Ball Jesus is one of my favorites) are uncomfortably convicting, and I’ve had to ask myself if I really know Jesus or if I’ve created him in my own image.
It’s been months since I read this book, but I think about the lessons I learned from it often. This statement, in particular, sticks with me:
“If you never confront the imaginary Jesus, he’ll keep popping up, perverting what you know about the real Jesus. You need to look him in the face, recognize that he’s fake, and renounce him.”
Intrigued? Check out the first chapter here.
Overall, I’d call this a fun-yet-challenging book. Mikalatos accurately pegs the numerous fake Jesuses we create to avoid facing the Maker-Savior-Messiah-Way, Truth and Life Jesus of the Bible and does it in a clever, mostly non-threatening way. I never felt shamed by the fake Jesuses I create but called to confront falsehood and seek truth.
I consider this a must-read for Christians today.
And although the following song is not connected to the book, the two remind me of each other. Besides, it’s a great song by Downhere.
Dare to discover the imaginary Jesuses in your life. You won’t regret it.
“Imaginary Jesus” is one of dozens of books on Tyndale’s Summer Reading Program list. You can earn free books and be eligible for prizes for reading books on their list throughout the summer. It’s free to sign up! Check it out here. As a side note, if you decide to sign up before next Wednesday, June 22, let me know either by commenting, Facebook message or e-mail. I could win a spot on the Tyndale Blog if I refer the most people to the program! Happy reading!