Thursday, March 1

My Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos

Have you ever wanted to talk with Jesus?  Like, sitting down with him for lunch and having a casual face to face conversation?  That’s what Matt Mikalatos does at the beginning of My Imaginary Jesus, a sort-of true story.  Only this guy Matt’s having chili with isn’t Jesus.  He’s an Imaginary Jesus, but Matt isn’t aware of this until the apostle Peter joins them and punches Jesus – the imaginary one.

Matt then goes on a journey with Peter (Pete) and they join up with Daisy, a talking donkey who is going to help Matt on his journey to discover the real Jesus.  Along the way they meet Testosterone Jesus, Magic 8 Ball Jesus, Free Will Jesus, Political Jesus, Catholic Jesus, Protestant Jesus, some Mormons, and a bunch more imaginary Jesus’s.  I was expecting a book similar to Philip Yancey’s, The Jesus I Never Knew.  What I got was…completely different from anything I can ever remember reading.

I think it was supposed to be funny, but don’t quote me on that. 

I also think it was supposed to be insightful.  And there were actually a few areas where it was.  A couple of chapters dealt with Matt’s interactions with some Mormon missionaries.  I found those interesting, insightful, and they provided a welcome relief from the imaginary Jesus mayhem, though the Mormon chapters also felt a bit random in their inclusion.  There were also a few times where Matt visited an Atheist Bible study, and these sections also tended to be interesting.  The people he interacted with actually felt real, and like the interaction with the Mormons, they felt like something that did actually happen (the true part of the ‘sort-of’ true story).  I also felt these areas felt the most focused.  The rest seemed to be a blur of…imaginary Jesus’s.

Overall, the rest of the book was too bizarre for me.  A quote on the cover compares it to Monty Python meeting C.S. Lewis, and I think both comparisons are a huge stretch.  The humor fell flat for me, and I felt like Matt was spending too much time trying to figure out the different sorts of Jesus’s to truly interact with the point of the book.  Everyone has an idea of who Jesus is, and some versions of Jesus do have elements of truth in them, which the book rightfully points out, but not all present the full picture.  The idea behind the book is great, but the presentation was weak, oddly paced, and at times unfocused.

That said, if you liked Matt’s Night of the Living Dead Christian (which I haven’t read), you may like this book, though I’m not sure how similar they were.

1.5/5 stars

I received this book free from Tyndale. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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