Monday, March 05, 2012

Book Review: My Imaginary Jesus

Back in 1952 J B Phillips published what is now considered a classic little book Your God Is Too Small. In it, Phillips critiqued a number of "gods" - "Resident Policeman", "Grand Old Man", "Meek and Mild", "Managing Director" - and shows how these conceptions of God are inadequate in meeting the needs of people.

Matt Mikalatos has done a similar job for contemporary Christians in a suitably contemporary style in his delightful book My Imaginary Jesus. Matt loves Jesus a lot. He's got a lot in common with Jesus. But one day he discovers that the person he thought was Jesus is not the real Jesus. The Jesus he has come to know is an imaginary Jesus! He decides he's going to go in search of the real Jesus and the result is a wonderfully satirical, very amusing, and very provocative look at the Jesuses that people construct in their own image.

When I started the book, the first few pages didn't do much for me. But when Matt starts meeting various Jesus impostors, guided by Pete the Apostle and a talking donkey called Daisy, things really start to warm up. Mikalatos clearly has a great sense of humour and he has captured some of the superficial, inane, distorted, and egocentric wish-fulfilments that have been presented as the real Jesus in modern Christian culture. For example, there's Political Jesus, New Age Jesus, Testosterone Jesus, Healing Jesus, Magic 8 Ball Jesus, and Perpetually Angry Jesus. We meet each of these Jesuses as individual characters. That's all I'll tell you... you'll need to read the book to see how it all turns out.

My Imaginary Jesus is an absolute pleasure to read. So go read it and see if you meet your Jesus somewhere as you journey with Matt (and Daisy). It's a great, accessible way to think about who Jesus is/was and the way in which we distort Jesus to fit our own needs rather than be confronted with the story of Jesus as found in the gospels.

Full book details: Matt Mikilatos. 2012. My Imaginary Jesus: The Spiritual Adventures of One Man Searching for the Real God. BarnaBooks. Publication date: March 16 2012.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review bloggers program. 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 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. Steve, I'm so glad you enjoyed My Imaginary Jesus. Thanks for taking the time to write a review and for sharing it here!

  2. It sounds like an awesome book! I'll be sure to look it up! Could you also briefly check out my blog too, by clicking my profile? Thanks. :D