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Monday, June 7, 2010

"Your Own Personal Jesus": A Review for Viral Bloggers

Matt Mikalatos makes a provocative, and frequently hilarious debut with Imaginary Jesus. A welcome breath of unconventional air, the narrative begins with Matt's "imaginary" Jesus coming to fisticuffs with the apostle, Peter. Jesus absconds, and further mayhem ensues as Matt and Pete take to the Portland streets in hot pursuit.

The book creatively indicts all of us who call ourselves Christ's followers, pointing to our inveterate tendency to remake Jesus in our own image, using him as a convenient badge to our identity, or as a helpful sidekick. It is fitting that Mikalatos treats this practice with a great deal of severity. This accounts for the author's habit of rapidly shifting from slapstick to ideas of great gravity. The results can sometimes be disorienting, or even a bit unfocused.

The prose is highly accessible and bereft of any ornamentation. The book moves too fast to lavish the reader in details. Mikalatos does display a rather deft grasp of Portland culture, and the pretension of hipsters in general. At any rate, laughter will abound as you navigate the story.

Why read Imaginary Jesus? Stated most baldly, the book is an invitation to dispense with your own imagination, and to come into the real presence of God, a noble purpose indeed.

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