I soon realized, however, that the statements made by, and about, this uncharacteristic Jesus were not meant to be forthright axioms accepted by Mikalatos. Duh, I thought to myself, this book is about an imaginary Jesus not the real Jesus. By page seven it became abundantly clear that I had approached the book entirely wrong. Not only had Mikalatos enraptured me in the story line he had accomplished, what often seems to be, an insuperable task: to evoke with his writing an audible guffaw which not only surprised me but also surprised my wife who was sitting on the couch across the living room.
As I continued to read my pencil only marked sentences that made me laugh -- so I could find them quickly later when I wanted to share them with friends. Aside from his jocund style which carries through the book Mikalatos manages to establish a somber tone to address some not-easy-to-answer questions such as the providence of God, the difficulty of prayer that seems to go unanswered and the problem of evil (Epicurus' riddle) which seems to be inextricably connected to the problem of pain.
He imaginatively introduces different Jesus characters, (such as Political Jesus, Testosterone Jesus, Let's Make A Deal Jesus etc) to represent misconstrued concepts people have about Jesus. The premise is that each of us tend to extrapolate from the Gospels a body of beliefs about Jesus which are carried by our own prejudices. But these "cater-to-my-life" notions which compose my own personal Jesus are not truths about real Jesus.
The entire book is an amalgamation of mishaps and strange occurrences as Matt is led by the Apostle Peter, and a donkey named Daisy, to confront his imaginary Jesus and to find the real one. On their journey they run into a number of these imaginary Jesus' who all vie for Matt's acceptance. But Matt will not stop until he finds Jesus Christ.
Kierkegaard once said that modern man has equipped himself with a new weapon to ward off truth: boredom. But Mikalatos makes good use of humor and indirection in order to get his point across; you will not be bored when you read this book -- and it's chuck full of theological issues. If you have someone who is initially resistant to such books lend him this one. Before he knows it he will be enchanted into examining his own views about the person Jesus.
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I received this book from the publishing company and was not required to write a positive review. All the opinions expressed are my own.