Friday, June 11, 2010

Imaginary Jesus: A Review

Imaginary Jesus is a gem of a book. Above it is described as something similar to Vonnegut, but It felt a lot more like Christopher Moore's "Lamb", just not as edgy!

As a matter of fact, if I had to come up with a complaint against this book it would be that I wish it had been more edgy. However, I also didn't thing "The Shack" was that edgy either, but we saw the ruckus that that stirred up.

Either way, this is simply a good tale. Matt has a good sense of humor and tales a tale of a tale! He catches the reader off-guard from the first scene. Yes I knew that Jesus was going to be punched in the face, but you'll never guess by whom the punch was thrown. I won't spoil it here, but for that alone one should pick up the book!

However, amidst Matt's fun road-trip through the variety of Jesus' we make up, we find something deep yet so simple: WE ALL MAKE UP OUR OWN JESUS(ES)! we find the Jesus that fits our beliefs and our own experiences, knowledge and circumstances.

What I love about this is that for Matt there is no "sacred cows". He has his own particular imaginary Jesus, but also throws in every thinkable stereotype one can imagine. Yes he presents the typical (and that is the key word in appreciating this book) conservative/evangelical Jesus, along with the political Jesus. But before you can get upset with him for picking on YOUR Jesus, he will throw in the liberal hippie Jesus and the emergent Jesus. (and these may be your Jesus, if so put that sentence in reverse).

And that is the point of the book. It doesn't matter where you are on the spectrum, what denomination you lean towards, what your political agendas are... we ALL have an imaginary Jesus. Thus the point of the book: when we stop seeking the REAL Jesus, then we automatically SETTLE for an imaginary one. And that's not because Christ is changing, it's simply because we always are.

A very simple, yet beautiful and challenging point. And what a fun way Matt has of making his point. Using humor and outlandish situations, he disarms his reader into considering what imaginary construct she or he is settling for.

This book gets a MUST READ from me. I love what Matt has done here, and I hope that people will take the meaning of this book seriously while not taking the story or themselves too seriously at the same time!

LINKS: – A well-done book trailer – Matt’s blog

A review for


  1. Justin, thanks so much for your review. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I enjoyed someone saying they wished it had been edgier! You're the first!


  2. Hey Matt,
    Thanks for your feedback. Your book is great. It is in my "lend to other people" pile not that I've finished with it (as opposed to the "find a nice place on my shelf pile" and the "take to the used bookstore pile". This will be a book that I suggest to many people.

    Your sense of humor is great. It is nice to and refreshing to have a humorous book in the Christian section of the bookstore. It's like people are afraid to mix humor with religion. Thus the "can't joke around imaginary Jesus":)

    I can't wait to see what else you will give us down the road. You are def. on my "authors to watch" list.

    best to you matt!

  3. that "not that I've finished with it" was supposed to be "now that I've finished with it". Big difference!