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Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke

This book was actually loaned to me by a student. We’d sat down for SSR (Silent Sustained Reading) time and he pulled out this book. The cover looked familiar. I don’t know what it was, but I had to read this book. I asked to borrow it when he’d finished.

I’m not going to say this book was wonderful, nor that it changed my life. It did bring up a lot of points that hit home with me. Here are the three points that had me nodding “yes” the entire time I was reading:

1. We’ve sugar-coated what it means to be Christian by sugar-coating the Bible. Noah’s Arc is featured heavily in nursery themes with cartoon-ish barnyard animals and rainbows after the storm. But the Bible depicts something gruesome and terrifying. Something akin to Edgar Allen Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.

2. Jesus went to the cross knowing that I would turn out to be a sceptic who tries hard to believe, but can’t seem to wrap my mind around the concept. He died a barbarous death so that I could live.

3. The word church comes from the Greek ekklesia, meaning a people who gather. That’s what the Church should be – a people coming together to spread God’s grace, rather that’s within a brick and mortar building or scattered throughout the world. The Church should not be known as dusty hymnals, uncomfortable pews, locked doors, and extravagant stained glass and murals. The Church is simply a gathering of people sharing the same faith.

The last point hit very close to home for me. I’ve always struggled with the concept of Church as we (or at least people in my area know it) – a way to show off that we have the best alter, or the largest congregation, or the most events.

So, was this book life changing? No. Did it make me feel like I wasn’t alone? Yes. Did it make me feel like I wasn’t a terrible Christian for believing differently than my fellow worshippers? DEFINITELY.


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