Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos

My Imaginary Jesus

Matt Mikalatos

Tyndale Publishing

Matt Mikalatos has a good friend.... his name is Jesus. Jesus goes with him everywhere, interacts with him, and they have a lot in common. But an encounter with a man named Pete opens Matt's eyes to the fact that his Jesus is an imaginary Jesus. An imaginary Jesus? Yes, a Jesus of Matt's own creation. This discovery plunges Matt into a search for the real Jesus. Along the way he travels to another location and time, meets a talking donkey, and rides with the Motorcycle man....

Matt Mikalatos writes a entertaining story about his search for the real Jesus amongst a throng of imaginary Jesus'... from Magic 8 Ball Jesus, to Baptist Jesus, through Legalistic Jesus. He runs through a list of the various types of imaginary Jesus' that he has created or others have created. Matt addresses the issue of how we tend to create Jesus in our own image or to fit our own needs and neglect to follow the true Jesus of scripture.

One poignant scene shows Matt in ancient Israel seeing Jesus speak in the synagogue, and this Jesus didn't look like the images that society has created of Him. Where we picture a beautiful handsome Jesus, Matt shows us a physically unattractive Jesus but a compelling strong Jesus. This is a well done scene.

In the book, Matt not only uses himself as the main character, but he gives us a peek into his own life and it's struggles. Examples such as a miscarriage and a healing. I think people can identify with Matt, which is a strength of this book.

I did have one problem with the story, and that was the introduction of a prayer labyrinth. I have a problem with using a new age technique, adapting it to the Christian faith and using it to find Jesus or any other truth. Prayer labyrinths, while growing in popularity, are not Christian in nature and their new age roots ought to cause anyone to pause. Jesus gave us examples of prayer... I think if they were sufficient for Him, the creator of the universe, they should be sufficient for us. I hope that we are not creating a new imaginary Jesus with this.
Overall, Matt does a good job introducing us to our imaginary Jesus'... for humans create many of them. We need to examine if the Jesus that we follow lines up with scripture.... this is a relevant topic for any generation, but I'm disappointed by the inclusion or use of the labyrinth and the seeking of experiences as a way of determining whether we have met the true Jesus or have just created another very convincing imaginary Jesus.

This Book was provided throught the Tyndale Bloggers program.  The reivew was not requicred to be positive and is my own opinion.

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