If you’re reading this, you probably know that I’m pretty open-minded and that I love to read about and discuss viewpoints with which I (sometimes vehemently) disagree. And I often recommend books that fit this description, so I don’t want anyone to think that my failure to recommend this book has anything to do with my feelings about Mike’s point of view (I know, I spoiled the ending. Read on anyway, please.)
I have two major problems with The Jesus of Suburbia. The first is that Mike argues that one cannot truly love, know, and “come to” Jesus unless one is the modern American equivalent of a leper or Roman tax collector. He is dead wrong. I have the privilege of knowing several people who have never come close to that, and they are some of the truest disciples of Jesus I have ever encountered. I consider it an insult to them and to myself (although I admit I am by no means that mature in my faith). It strikes me as the most craven form of judgement, precisely the opposite of the teachings of Jesus. I’ll move on now, before I start writing nasty things.
The second major complaint (I have lots of little ones, but since I promise to keep things short, I’m just sharing the big two) is a characteristic of many books of this type, which is to claim to know what God wants. Mike says over and over (with the Bible passages for support) that we can never truly know or understand God. But he also writes repeatedly about what God wants us to do, also quoting from the Bible. He speaks with such authority, which just really drives me nuts. Which is it, Mike? I personally would not presume to preach to others about what God wants anyone else to do. Of course, there is a lot of guidance in the Bible, but not enough, in my opinion, to support he kinds of details and assertions in The Jesus of Suburbia.
The Holy Spirit guides us all differently. That’s the beauty of faith. Now go find something else to read.