Would the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? | Stolen Jesus Book Review
Several years ago I received an email from someone I loved. It wasn’t the kind of email we like to receive, though. It was an email that left me devastated. One cutting me at the very core of everything I stood for.
This person was angry and hurting because of a personal life situation, so all that bitterness found its way directed at me. And because the person knew me well, they knew exactly what to say to hurt me the most.
“If everyone really knew you, they would hate you. You are the kind of person that darkens the church doors you walk through.”
I still flinch now as I write those words.
I remember it was a really dark season for us. Our daughter had recently come home and the brokenness was ravaging our hearts and lives as a family. I could only barely stay afloat and this person was angry at me. As I read the words, my hands began to shake. The tears turned to sobs I couldn’t control even though I desperately wanted to protect my children riding in the backseat from all the drama. And in that moment I wrestled with the feeling that God may just have broke His promise to stay with me through it all.
The email hurt as deeply as it did because with every beat of my heart I long to live a life representing Jesus well. I try to love well and live authentically. I don’t have it all together and I’m far from perfect. But, I’m crazy thankful for the way Jesus loves me and the way He has reached into my messes over and over again to redeem my life. And because of my love and gratitude for Him, I want to represent Him well and point others to the hope available in Him.
Not turn them away from Him.
Or represent Him as someone He is not.[bctt tweet=”Somehow as Christians we often represent the Jesus we love very much as someone or something He is not #realJesus #stolenJesus @jamiamerine @Harvest_House” username=”lori_schumaker”]
I know that is one of the reasons I was so intrigued by Jami Amerine’s new book, Stolen Jesus: An Unconventional Search for the Real Savior. (One reason, of course, was that I love the humor and depth with which Jami writes.)
Even the toughest of us form our thoughts and beliefs around what we hear and see in our world. We try to weed out the lies and hold onto the truth, yet we are often unsuccessful.
And the real Jesus is not an exception to this situation.
The real Jesus is stolen again and again.
And He is portrayed as someone or something He is not.
As a child born to a Mom of Mormon faith and a father who was anti-religion altogether, Jami’s perspective is unique. After being banned from the Mormon church as a child, she spent the rest of her life trying to reconcile Fifth-Grade Jesus, Catholic Jesus, and Americanized Jesus (just to name a few!)
Jami walked years and years of living in chains and bearing burdens of the false Jesus passed onto her from the world. But her journey lead her to the eventual understanding of the Real Jesus.
A Jesus who paid it all. One of bewildering grace who leaves us only wanting to receive His love and love back.[bctt tweet=”The Real Jesus is One who paid it all.One of bewildering grace leaving us wanting to receive His love and love back deeply #StolenJesus ” username=”lori_schumaker”]
As I read Stolen Jesus, I found myself laughing one moment and chewing on deep theology the next. I pondered both what I believe for myself and how I represent for others. Do I fully embrace the Real Jesus or deep down do I hold onto some false beliefs about Him? Do I hold onto fears because somewhere deep inside me I wonder if He is a wrathful God? What about grace? Do I fully embrace and receive it? And do I really believe I’m redeemed? Worthy? Adored?
What about the Jesus I show others? Do I love well? Do I put aside my judgment and love out of the depths of His never-ending well? How about my tongue? Do I restrain it, using it to lift up and point to Him rather than cause division? Am I a witness to sacrifice because of love? And do I admit failure and mistakes in humility?
[bctt tweet=”How does your view of Jesus affect the way you live for yourself and the way you represent Him to others? #StolenJesus #hope @JamiAmerine @Harvest_House” username=”lori_schumaker”]
Friends, I couldn’t recommend Stolen Jesus more. It’s the kind of book you could read without stopping to do life. The humor keeps you going and the real-life stories draw you in. And then, in the midst of all that, you grapple with your own views of Jesus while walking away more convicted to embrace the Real Jesus and shine HIM into the lives of those in your everyday life.
What You Can Find Here
The content you find here is designed to challenge you to live your best life. No stagnancy. A life that looks different. One that shines a little brighter with the hope, love, joy, and purpose we find in a life cultivated by Christ! It will push you out of your comfort zone and it will make you uncomfortably aware of the areas in which you need to grow.
And best of all, you will know you are not in it alone. Not only am I here growing and learning right alongside you, but thousands of others are, too.
Hi Lori! I also read and reviewed Jami’s book, and it’s one of my top three favorites from 2017. I love the humor mixed with raw honesty, and she really made me think about how I view Jesus. I too have received emails that stung. I’ve learned that some people fire off online, and I don’t want to do that. Even though those email lessons hurt, I’ve grown from them. Blessings to you, friend.
This sounds like such a good book, Lori. And thanks for sharing your story as well. So sorry you had to walk through that hard season, but thankful for who you’ve become because of it!
While I have seen the book, I have not read it but …. would love to 🙂 My prayer this morning is that I would represent Jesus well to those around me.
Lori, thank you for sharing this book with us. It sounds like a challenging and life changing read. And I’m sorry, too, for the words that hurt you so deeply. What I know about you is the exact opposite. You have given so much hope to other women and shine a light for Him everywhere you go. You welcomed me into this community with open arms and your words are a reflection of who He is and help us keep our focus in just the right place – on Jesus! Thank you, Lori, for being you and sharing yourself so openly here to encourage and help others!
Thank you Lori, for this hard, honest look at our Jesus, who He is, and how we represent Him. Timely and much needed book! Also, so grateful to have this month’s “Adoption Stories” featured here on you blog. Humbled to find our series here this morning!
How painful to receive such a disturbing email. 🙁 I remember when someone said some hateful things to me regarding my faith that cut me to the core as well. This book sounds like a real winner. I’ll add it to my to-read list! Thanks for sharing, Lori.
Sounds like an amazing book that I’d love to read and share with my girls!
Lori, I am so thankful you are sharing about this book! It is on my list and makes me so excited and want to read it even more. I grew up in church and jumped around a bit, fighting with perfection, theology, and doubts — and am learning about relationship with a loving God over the “do not’s” and “having it all together” — learning to trust he loves me more than my finite brain can comprehend! (hugs) and thank you for gently sharing a part of your story. It means a lot.
Lori- thanks for this book suggestion! I have read Jami’s posts and she is so funny and honest!
I HAVE to get this book!
This sounds like an incredible book, Lori! Thanks for sharing about it, as well as hosting the linkup! I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful, my friend!
I have hear words like you did, I still know the sting. I pray for the Lord to remove that from you and pour the Holy Spirit in that wound. Jesus does love us even the person with the cutting remarks but they may never realize it. ( Please don’t enter me in the giveaway, I have the book. )
This would be interesting.
Hi Lori…good to visit after a long while. Hope you are well.
Stolen Jesus. Stolen Father. Stolen gospel.
Sad how so much of the faith once delivered to the saints has been stolen, watered down and altered.
We are called to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow in the Savior’s steps, but it’s all been religionized (I know, it’s not a real word).
We’re called to put off Adam and put on Christ and then live out from that new, re-created life, but we hold to a bunch of rules, regulations and man-made “steps” to this or that.
Is it any wonder that the “church” is so weak and anemic? Or that people are departing from the “church” in droves?