I want to thank Matt Mikalatos and the fine folks at Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a copy – not a review copy, just a copy. While this is not a review copy, they are going to get one anyway.
I flirted with reading this on Friday night, tired of my theology and ethics book, and wanting to see what some silly, fiction book at to say. Really? Name your book ‘Imaginary Jesus’ and you think you will be able to tell me anything serious? Tush ye, as Tyndale’s serpent said. By Saturday night, I had my wife reading it out loud to me – I love listening to her read – and we were laughing, especially at the King James Jesus. (Just where was the NLT Jesus?) And today? I snuck away, giving up precious nap time to finish the book.
The premise is simple, but I will not tell you about it. The ending unexpectedly heart wrenching, but I will not tell you about it. The writing style, light, heavy, gripping, and powerful. You are there, in the story with Matt, and you will come face to face with your own Imaginary Jesus – I promise you that, but I will not tell you mine. Mine, I didn’t appreciate meeting, and I don’t appreciate Matt making me meet him, or having to throw him away.
The tag line reads ‘A not-quite-true-story’ but there is more truth in this short work than many achieve in volumes. It is not packed with theological precepts, but it hits you squarely where those things are. This book must be given out to those who are engaged and engaging pop culture while trying to either fight the manufactured Jesuses or manufacturing them on their own. It is tough, and some of the language is difficult to deal with because Matt is writing the story, telling the story and living the story, but the story is one each of us has.
This book should not be compared to the Shack. Whereas that book smacked of an Imaginary Jesus, God and theology, this book while purportedly fiction, is real and speaks about at real Jesus.
It is humorous, and touching, and insightful, and, again, needed.
Go. Buy two copies of this book. One for you. One for someone else.