While reading “My Imaginary Jesus,” by Matt Mikalatos, I had a dream where a Jesus cult tried to convert me. Instead of Magic 8-Ball Jesus or a Mr. Omniscience Jesus or even a Legalistic Jesus, they all wore black and red hoods with small emblems near the base of their neck. The point being that all of us have imaginary Jesuses.
“The Secret Society of Imaginary Jesuses,” Peter said. “An obscure collection of imaginary people who gather to discuss their own importance. Like the Jesus Seminar. Only Imaginary.”
The book stars Matt Mikalatos as he and Jesus are having lunch at a communist cafe. The Apostle Peter shocks us all by barging in and then beating up Jesus, and chasing him down the street. Thus, follows the adventures of Matt, Pete, and a talking Donkey as they try to chase down Matt’s imaginary Jesus to rid Matt of his fanciful notions of Jesus. The adventure had me laughing so hard I nearly couldn’t read parts of it aloud to my husband.
I particularly loved how Matt explained Mormonism in such a fun and informative way that I believe for any Mormon questioning his or her beliefs this book would provide a great deal of insight to them without being offensive. Some people write about their past experiences in Mormonism with bitterness thereby causing a questioning Mormon to get defensive. Matt uses humor and insight to bring such important information as the plagiarism of parts of the King James Version Bible and the differences between what a Mormon believes of Jesus and what a Christian believes. It also points out in a hilarious way how each Christian imagines Jesus differently.
In Chapter 30, Matt starts to anger me and my defenses begin to rise as he thinks he sees the real Jesus. We only find out through the atheist character that it was just another imaginary Jesus. I began laughing and exclaimed aloud to my husband, “He tricked me!”
My Jesus aligns with the Bible, but sometimes I imagine Him exactly how I want him instead of how the Bible describes Him. The bible describes him as a holy, all-powerful God. The kind of God who stormed the temple and the kind of God who went to the cross to save a people He loved. It’s not the kind of God with lovely, salon-perfect brown hair and shimmering blue eyes as many like to portray Him. He’s not Hippie Jesus either as liberals like to see Him (although Hippie and Political Jesus are in there, too). It’s interesting how Matt brings to light what we want to see in Jesus.
It’s like taking pieces of the Bible we love and fitting them together, instead of reading it as a whole and in context, understanding the harder truths and fitting our lives around that. We’ve lowered the bar in our society and debased Jesus. We bring Him down to our level instead of meeting Him at His level to justify sin.
I would recommend this book for any Christian, atheist, or questioning Mormon. You walk away from this book with a smile and a little shame for trying to follow your imaginary Jesus instead of the real thing. I doubt any of us would recognize the real thing because we are too caught up in the world, in political correctness and the Christian culture. There are so many books out there that explore Jesus. Billy Graham said it best in the book I reviewed that it’s okay to read books about Jesus, but never neglect His Word—the Bible. That authority is what we should base our faith upon. We need to look at the God who became man to save a world from sin that didn’t deserve His love.
This book deserves five stars for telling the truth in love.
Book given by publisher and CSFF Blog Tour to review.