Jefferson Bethke has a compelling story of overcoming a painful childhood of poverty and a broken home, and this gives him a unique perspective on the grace of God and the work of Jesus in his life and the lives of others.
It’s this perspective that has catapulted him into the national conversation regarding religion and spirituality, allowing his message to connect at a heart level with an audience ranging from atheists to nationally recognized religious leaders.
Visit the author’s website.
Jefferson Bethke burst into the cultural conversation in 2012 with a passionate, provocative poem titled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” The 4-minute video literally became an overnight sensation, with 7 million YouTube views in its first 48 hours (and 23+ million in a year). The message blew up on social-media, triggering an avalanche of responses running the gamut from encouraged to enraged.
In Jesus > Religion, Bethke unpacks similar contrasts that he drew in the poem—highlighting the difference between teeth gritting and grace, law and love, performance and peace, despair and hope. With refreshing candor he delves into the motivation behind his message, beginning with the unvarnished tale of his own plunge from the pinnacle of a works-based, fake-smile existence that sapped his strength and led him down a path of destructive behavior.
Bethke is quick to acknowledge that he’s not a pastor or theologian, but simply a regular, twenty-something who cried out for a life greater than the one for which he had settled. Along his journey, Bethke discovered the real Jesus, who beckoned him beyond the props of false religion..
WARNING: THIS BOOK MIGHT MAKE YOU MAD!!!
When I was offered the chance to read and review JESUS>RELIGION, I had never heard of Jefferson Bethke. I had never watched his YouTube videos.
One thing I did know and believe is that Jesus is greater than religion, but I was curious to read Bethke’s take on this somewhat controversial issue. I was impressed! I was challenged! I was mad!
I was impressed– that this book puts a voice to everything we know to be true in God’s Word, but aren’t necessary living out. Things we sometimes ignore or twist to fit our own personal form of faith. Things we stand up for….but only to make ourselves feel better. I was impressed that Bethke did not hold back on who Jesus really is & what it really means to be a Christian.
I was challenged– this book really called me out on several things. It made me really re-examine my heart about things like…
Being a two-face AKA hypocrite
Thinking the things I do in the name of Jesus, make me a “good person”.
Here’s an example of a portion of the book that challenged me…
“We talk about tithing, but the single mom next door can’t pay her rent.
We make sure we have our quiet times every morning, but could care less about actually conversing with Jesus.
We’ve never said the f- word out loud, but we have never prayed for our local homeless community either”
OUCH! Is this challenging you as much as is it me???
I was mad– at myself, at religion, at the idea that sometimes I think I know all the answers…I’ve done all the right things and that I’m a-okay in my book! I was mad that Christianity has gotten a bad rap because of do-gooders who feel like it’s their job to look down their nose at other people with “worse” sins than their own. I was mad that, sadly, many churches have become unwelcoming to dirty filthy sinners.
Guess what? I’m a dirty, filthy, sinner…that’s right. JoJo is a dirty, filthy, sinner. I’m no better than you. You’re no better than me.
CAUTION: THIS BOOK MIGHT CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!!
JESUS>RELIGION might change you life…. I really hope it does! But it may not. You may read this book and get mad for completely different reasons. You may feel that Jonathan is a little too honest, a little too open, a little too explicit. You may read it and think “that’s too deep, I’m not ready for that yet”.
But, if you are tired of keeping up the “act”. Tired of constantly “performing” to earn favor. If you are ready to fess up that you’ve messed up, that we all have. If you’re ready to experience the grace of God and see that grace extend to people you know.
Heed the invitation Jonathan writes about…
“Relax, you don’t have to have it all figured out. All you need to do is come to Him (Jesus)… He just wants dependency, He just wants you…”
*****5/5 STARS HIGHLY RECOMMEND*****
List Price: $16.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Nelson Books (October 7, 2013)
WATCH THE VIDEO…