“When the purpose behind the work of God is lost on his people, their hearts become hardened and fearful.” These words from the conclusion to Bob Fabey’s NotMyJesus encapsulate what seems to be the entire point of his project. What the reader should encounter from this book is one that challenges every idea and conception of the identity of who Jesus was and is. Along the way, Fabey includes enough wit to make an already short book seem even shorter.
NotMyJesus can be divided into three distinct sections:
I. Who does the world at large think Jesus is?
II. Who is Jesus really?
III. If we claim to follow Jesus, what does that really mean and how should we live?
Each one of these sections contains a healthy bit of cultural affirmation and critique -what we seem to be getting right and wrong. In the first part, as Fabey brings out different stereotypes (“Christmas Baby Jesus”, “Northern European Jesus”, “Santa Claus Jesus”, etc.), he points out the parts of each of them that are moreorless right, but that by ignoring the bigger picture and focusing on one attribute, we certainly have an incomplete picture. Fabey doesn’t call for an “either/or” approach, but more of a “yes/and” one.
As Fabey uses the Bible to analyze who Jesus really is, one thought kept coming to my mind: “Neither liberal Christians or Christian fundamentalists will be happy reading this book.” Fabey points out -and I am not doing proper justice to this section, so read the book for yourself- that while Jesus did call people out for sin and he did judge them, he was also loving of them and accepting. Fundamentalists will be upset by a lack of “let them burn” rhetoric, and liberal Christians will be frustrated by the fact that there is an emphasis on Jesus’s judgmental mission.
At the end though, and this is how I want to end this review, it all boils down to love. Fabey breaks apart the second half of Romans 12, as well as the words translated as “love” in the Bible, to present an approach to living which only in a very distorted image, matches how many people who call themselves Christian actually live. This book is a quick read, and I recommend it as a devotional read or a book to consider using for a small group.
I received my copy of this book for free in exchange for reading and reviewing it. The opinions expressed are mine only, and I was not obligated to write a positive review.