Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review: My Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos

My Imaginary Jesus: the Spiritual Adventures of One Man Searching for the Real God, by Matt Mikalatos, is one of those books that is kind of hard to put into a genre. Perhaps best described as an allegory, this book reads like a fiction book, has enough social commentary in it to make everyone squirm at something, and brings up some deeper spiritual and biblical truths to the same degree as many theology books. The plot is something along the lines of a Christian guy has been duped into following the wrong Jesus and Saint Peter (who I pictured through the whole book as looking like Hagris from the Harry Potter movies) chase down all the false Jesus' running around until they can encounter the real one. But this isn't a book you read for the plot line.

I'm not a huge fan of fiction in general, but this had enough theology and thinking in it to keep me engaged from beginning to end (which for me, happened in one long six hour reading session while sitting in a swing on the front porch). There is enough adventure and character development in it to make it an interesting enough story and truths that get pulled out from this are about as biblical as they come.

Personally, I would LOVE to see this book made into a movie. I would show this movie a hundred times over to different groups, from youth groups to new believers to the lifers who have their butt print engraved in the pew at some white building with a cross and a steeple. I think the conversation created by this would be incredible for groups of Christians to engage in all walks of life. And I say that enthusiastically because I'm not sure the "real Jesus" portrayed at the end of the book is even the Jesus that actually is.

That is the one problem I have with the book, though. The whole plot leads to this point where we meet the real Jesus, but what makes us think that the author's version of Jesus is the real Jesus? I think he's pretty stinking close and the author was vague enough to leave a lot of details about the real Jesus up in the air, but I just finished this book with this slight off flavored aftertaste. Why should we believe that the final Jesus is the real Jesus? By that same token, though, that is what makes the book so valuable as a discussion piece. I would love to sit in on every discussion of this book ever discussed because I think it would bring up questions and ideas and doubts about the King of Kings that people would not discuss otherwise.

Overall, I give this good a favorable recommendation, especially if it is going to be used in a discussion group of some sort.

I was given a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in return for my honest review.

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