Book: The Sword of Six Worlds by Matt Mikalatos

Click to check out Sword of Six Worlds on Amazon!
Click to check out Sword of Six Worlds on Amazon!

The first time I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I was probably 10 years old. I just remember enjoying the story, marveling at the magical world of Narnia. As I grew up, I heard that The Chronicles of Narnia were spiritual allegories, and as I reflected on the plot of the book, I could see what they meant. I didn’t actually reread that first book until college, and the story’s blatant theology caught me off guard (J. R. R. Tolkien famously called the books ‘crude allegory’).

In retrospect, I’m glad college-me was more spiritually perceptive than 10-year-old me.

I would’ve loved the chance to read Narnia with my parents, for them to help me see the biblical themes. I can imagine that such a book would be a useful tool for parents today looking for a fun book to help their kids talk about Jesus and theology at their level.

Enter Matt Mikalatos’ new book The Sword of Six Worlds: a tremendous book and wonderful resource.Continue reading

Book – Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos

This book is outstanding. We need more totally silly, totally serious theology like Matt gives us. Not everyone will enjoy the monster metaphor, but if that’s your cup of tea, then you need this book. It’ll make you take a hard look at the monstrous aspects of your own soul. And you’ll ache for the same transformation Matt and his band of monsters discover.

Continue reading

Book Review: Imaginary Jesus

Given my current blog series and the EPIC series we’re doing (Encounters with Jesus), I couldn’t have come across this book at a more opportune time!

I promise you will like this book.  Just go get it!Imaginary Jesus opens with the author, Matt Mikalatos, at his favorite Portland vegan restaurant with none other than Jesus.  They’re chatting about life when a big, smelly guy named Pete walks in, introduces himself and asks Jesus, “What do you want with my friend Matt here?”

Apparently Jesus’ answer isn’t good enough because Pete punches him square in the face and then chases him out of the restaurant.

Matt quickly discovers that Pete is none other than the Apostle Peter and “Jesus” isn’t really Jesus at all, but an Imaginary Jesus.  And if Matt wants to meet the real Jesus, he has to find and face down his Imaginary Jesus.  Along the way, he meets a whole host of imaginary Jesuses, from Men’s Retreat Jesus (whom he must pacify using Braveheart quotes), Magic 8 Ball Jesus (who only gives a few vague, stock-answers to every question) and Political Power Jesus (who gets into a fight with Hippie, Peacenik Jesus).

And as hilarious as Matt’s adventure is, it’s also choke-full of biting critiques of American Christianity at its best and worst.  Matt’s critiques never come across as cruel because he consistently lampoons himself before anyone else, and always with clever, self-effacing humor.

Besides, who hasn’t wanted to see King James Jesus negotiate a hostage situation?

If you’ve tried to follow Jesus for any length of time, then you need to read this book.  At its heart, it’s all about how often and easily we trade the real Jesus – the Jesus we meet in the Gospels – for someone who agrees with us, who won’t challenge us.*

Imaginary Jesus is no joke, and I guarantee you’ll read it more than once and pass it on to friends.  You’ll want to tell them all about your favorite moments.  Mine is the inner-tube race down the side of a mountain between Calvinist Jesus, Armenian Jesus and Open-Theist Jesus (though Matt is shrewd enough not to label them that).

Bottom line: A great summer read that gets you thinking while you’re laughing – it’s narrative theology at its best!

*I’m ashamed to admit that Matt got me several times with some of the Jesuses he encountered.  I was so pleased with what this or that Jesus said I was certain he had to be the real deal.  Curses!