Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough by Jefferson Bethke

Title: Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing Better, and Being Good Enough

Author: Jefferson Bethke

Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.

Date Published: October 7, 2013

Genre: All Ages, Christianity, Faith, Religion, Spirituality

Pages: 240 (paperback)

Age Range: It's really for all ages. The Author just mentions some things about his past that he isn't proud of.


Abandon dead, dry, rule-keeping and embrace the promise of being truly known and deeply loved.

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 may make some readers angry.

I read the first chapter of this book and was stunned. I was immediately blown away by the beauty of this man's words. He's so honest and blunt about his past to guide and prove a point to his readers. I can only imagine the amount of courage it took to write such a book.

There were so many things that made me stop and think. It took me so long to read this book because after I'd read a few paragraphs, I'd have to put it down and think about its message. This is a book you can read again and again and again; yet walk away every time and understand something new that you hadn't noticed the last time. I know this won't be the only time I read this book.

Jefferson made me think about and realize things I never thought or realized before! It was like opening my eyes after a long sleep. Chapter 9 (section: "What we were created as and created for") made me see what I hadn't seen before. Every chapter was eye-opening and interesting and personal and heartfelt. The whole book was inspirational.

Chapter 8 probably had the biggest impact on me because I've been having a difficult time lately. The whole book really helped me on a personal level, but as far as faith goes, Chapter 8 probably had the biggest effect on me. There are certain things I will be seeing with new eyes.

I'm not entirely sure how to rate this book because it was just....It was indescribable, and this book will be different to everyone that reads it because I think everyone will get something different out of reading it. But personally, it made me see things on a whole new level and think about things in a different way. I would really recommend picking up this book, or even watching a few of Jefferson Bethke's YouTube videos (here's the link: Jefferson Bathke Channel).

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