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Friday, March 16, 2012

The Jesus We Missed

One of the reasons I started my blog was to inform and educate Christians that we can boldly approach God through a real and raw conversation. It’s also one of the main reason I love reading The Message version of the bible. Because I write in that style, I also enjoy books that can capture my attention with an authentic approach to understanding Jesus. Unfortunately, this was not the case in reading, “The Jesus We Missed,” by Patrick Henry Reardon.

I often found myself wound up in circles of words that never seemed to fit properly or make much sense to my commoner ear. I’m not implying I’m ignorant by any means. I have a 3.94 GPA at one the top colleges in the country; however, I like reading words that flow and have a rhythm, so to speak. Not much about this book “caught” my attention and kept it for very long. In fact, I had to force myself to pick it up most of the time.

Reardon is obviously intelligent and highly knowledgeable of the topic, but I felt lost on many occasions by the need to refer to people, places and things in extreme legalistic terminology. Throughout most of the book I felt like I was reading a legal document rather than a book about the human side of our Savior. That’s not to say that the book itself is awful, it’s just poorly written for the average Joe Smith looking for an easily explainable and educational read about Jesus.

The book reads like a lawyer giving a long-winded opening statement for an overdue parking ticket. It’s tedious, boring, and probably unnecessary in the scheme of things. As the reader, you feel like a jury member bogged down by case numbers, exhibits that are self-explanatory, and roundabout mentions of the case itself. You have to look really hard to find the “human side” of Christ anywhere in this book.

The name of the book seems incredibly misleading, as it insists that we may have missed something about Jesus that needs examining. However, most of the scriptures Reardon picks apart have already been cross examined a thousand times at a million churches around the world. So trust me, you’re not missing much if you miss out on reading this book.

There were moments of hope, though. At one point I thought the book would have sparks of humor intertwined with ancient history when Reardon wrote this about Joseph:
“Joseph was not a person given to anxiety…We find Joseph in five scenes in the gospel of Matthew, and every single time he is sound asleep (Matthew 1:20-24, 2:12, 13, 19, 22). Whatever troubles Joseph endured, they did not include insomnia.” (pg. 5)
I got a kick out that, and felt that because this was at the beginning of the book I would find more jewels like this throughout the rest of the book, but 100 pages later, I found nothing to keep keep my interest, more or less, lighten the heavy load.

On the other hand, I did find the historical references enlightening, as it’s always critical to understand the times of Christ in order to truly grasp the context of the scriptures. So I did appreciate that aspect of the book, but that, too, seemed far and few in between.

I don’t think Reardon has enlightened us with anything we’ve missed. If anything, this book might be better for someone who truly doesn’t know Christ at all, because most believers already understand—or at best, should understand—everything Reardon has tried to convey in this book.

The Jesus We Missed: The Surprising Truth About the Humanity of Christ
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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