Very little about that Jesus is worth it, says Will Willimon. Yet there is another Jesus, the mysterious preacher from Nazareth who continues to invite men and women to claim the true meaning of their lives by giving their lives away in service to God and others. This Jesus continues to fascinate and compel us, in spite of all the attempts to domesticate his message and put distance between us and the call to follow. In his radical teachings, his self-sacrificial death, and his liberating life beyond death, this Jesus teaches and shows us the true meaning and purpose of our own lives.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2010-09-13
- Reviewer: Staff
A United Methodist bishop and prolific author, Willimon (Pastor: The Theological Practice of Ordained Ministry) makes dual use of the title question, offering nuanced arguments for following Jesus (some of which subtly counter popular contemporaries who preach pragmatic Christianity) and interrogating Jesus about his personal spiritual struggles. Addressing numerous gospel accounts from Jesus' ministry, particularly the miracles, parables, and resurrection, chapters explore interpretations of Jesus both familiar (story teller, preacher, savior) and provocative (vagabond, magician, home wrecker). Willimon offers his "own meager testimony," throughout, acknowledging his discomfort with challenges Jesus makes to religious leaders such as himself, while at the same time claiming his vocation as preacher and writer, called to "help Jesus get hold of you--with nothing but words." Conversational, boxed "Asides to Jesus" provide tongue-in-cheek humor and opportunities for reflection--for example, "I confess that I'm guilty of thinking that God is somewhat like me, only nicer"--while citations following each chapter under the heading "You Can Look it Up" challenge the reader to personally engage the discussed texts. This is accessible wisdom from a seasoned theologian. (Oct.)