Book Review – Imaginary Jesus

Imaginary Jesus is a helter-skelter, “not-quite-fiction” ride through the imagination of Matt Mikalatos as he attempts to humorously point out how we in 21st century American evangelicalism often create our own ideas of what or who Jesus is.  From “King James Jesus,” “Magic 8-ball Jesus” and “Testosterone Jesus” to “Free Will Jesus,” “New Age Jesus” and “Meticulous Jesus,” Mikalatos paints an absurdly funny narrative of someone trying to find out just who the REAL Jesus is.  Accompanied by the Apostle Peter and a talking donkey (who I’m convinced is included only so King James Jesus can hurl the threat “Thine ass is mine!”), Mikalatos’ journey gets personal in a few places where he talks about his own struggles of faith and his questions to the many Jesuses about his goodness and power.

Imaginary Jesus is one of those books that makes you laugh, makes you think and often makes you wonder “Where in the world is this going?”  I laughed quite frequently at Mikalatos’ many variations of “Jesus.”  The word pictures he creates will draw you into the story and make you feel like you are a part of the action.  The book doesn’t take itself too seriously, but that is perhaps its one major downfall.  There are some serious questions of the goodness of God and faith in Jesus that are raised, but they are surrounded by the high-speed chase scenes (Mikalatos chasing fake Jesuses then fake Jesuses chasing Mikalatos), hijinx and silliness.  When his experience with the real Jesus finally comes into view and offers answers, I got a feeling of mental whiplash at the sudden change in tone, only to reverse back to the silliness later.

In my experience, I’ve found that, in general, authors should not read their own books.   While they might be great authors, they make lousy readers.  Matt Mikalatos is one author who certainly does not fit into that generalization.  He narrates the audio version of his book available from ChristianAudio (who provided me a copy of this book to review – thanks!) and shows that he has the ability not only to be a good story writer but also an excellent story teller.

Overall, Imaginary Jesus is more of a diversionary read than anything else, but it’s definitely a fun read.


One Response

  1. […] any other “sci-fi/fantasy” book for that matter.  But having read Matt Mikalatos’ first book Imaginary Jesus and knowing how completely off the wall that one was, I knew I had to give Night of the Living Dead […]

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