I recently had a pretty deep conversation with my nephew about God. I’ve always had a perspective on religious things that he’s respected. He’s a senior in high school, and has a lot of stuff to figure out right now.
His struggle was reconciling the God of the Bible with the Christian friends he knew at school. He couldn’t imagine following Jesus if he was anything like some of these other Christians he knew. It’s crazy how different people seem to follow (or better yet, reflect) a different Jesus.
Which Jesus do you follow?
I never really thought about it this way, but apparently how you answer this question will determine how you live your life as a Christian.
That means if we want to be real, authentic Christians, then we first need to understand who Jesus really was. And unfortunately, he wasn’t the guy who most of popular Christianity makes him out to be.
That’s exactly what Hugh Halter wrestles with in his book Sacrilege: Finding Life in the Unorthodox Ways of Jesus. And whether you agree with his perspective or not, it’s worthwhile to be asking yourself the questions Halter is asking.
One of the best things about this book is how Halter isn’t just throwing out some popular-ish, controversial perspectives just so he sounds cool. The dude is living it. Even from the introduction of the book, his stories provide insight into Christian life that should shake us all to the core. There is a raw honesty in there that I love to see in Christian writing these days. I don’t want anything sugar-coated. Give it to me straight Hugh…
Halter is a church planter, pastor, consultant, and missionary. His experience has not only exposed him to some of the cultural realities the church faces today, but has also forced him to take a long, hard look at his own beliefs and religious practices. This self-examination has resulted in this work that challenges us only because it first challenged him.
When I think all of this through, it makes a lot of sense to me. When I wrote The Unlikely Missionary, I never thought that the title alone would speak volumes about my relationship with Jesus. It’s actually one of my favorite things about him. He’s the Messiah that nobody expected. That’s why the Pharisees were so outraged by his claim to be the Promised One. He wasn’t what anyone thought he would be. He was the Unlikely Messiah. And his ways were revolutionary. So be it.
Note: This review was written for the Patheos Book Club on Sacrilege.