Takeaway: A reminder that we are not God. We need to submit to God and not try to get our idea of God to submit to us.
Books that help us correct our false ideas about God are everywhere. There are so many because we have a sinful nature that tries to recreate God in our image.
Imaginary Jesus uses humor and a fictional memoir filled with false Jesus characters and the main character has to find the right one.
The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love With the God Jesus Knows by James Bryan Smith uses our understanding of the relationship between the Son and the Father to correct our understanding of God.
A variety of takes on a similar theme can either be boring or repetitive or it can be targeted; looking for the specific issues that reader is dealing with.
Jarrett Stevens was a hipster before hipsters were cool. (I mean this as a high compliment, and not at all in a negative way.) I have not actually met him. But I have followed him for a while on twitter. I have watched as he and his wife have started a church in Chicago. He was leaving my church in Atlanta to start the church in Chicago fairly soon after I moved from Chicago to Atlanta.
The hipster ethic is throughout this book. Almost every other page is a graphic or an aside. Which makes reading it very quick. I had finished almost the entire book waiting on the tarmac behind a long line of planes waiting to take off.
The book is divided into to two parts. The first half shows us false narratives of God (Lawman, Old and Senile, Slot Machine, the All You Can Eat Buffett, Our Parents Writ Large) and then the better narratives of God, using Jesus’ parables.
This was a decent book. It used a common formula (this is what is wrong, here is what is right) and was funny and helpful as it tried to reach out to a new audience with ideas that are not original (a correct concept of God cannot be considered original).
I do not think this book is for everyone. He likes cultural references and it already is starting to feel a bit dated only six years after it was published. But if you happen to find it on a used book shelf, it is worth the quick read. Honestly, if there is one thing that we need to continually remind ourselves, it is that we are not God. This book is a reminder that we need to submit to God and not try to get God to submit to us.
Note: This book is already out of print. I think it is a good example that decent books go out of print and that electronic methods of publishing (kindle and audible.com) can keep this book on the shelf forever. I do wish publisher would wake up and realize that if a book is no longer available in paper, they should recognize that keeping it alive in digital editions means dropping the price so that people will experiment. This is a very short book. It’s length is appropriate to the content. But its Kindle price is not. It should be priced at $2.99 or less and not $9.99. At that price it will probably sell almost no copies. At $0.99 it would probably sell fairly well. At the point when a book is out of print, some sales are better than no sales. Thirty or 40% of $0.99 is more than zero percent of $9.99.