Although I have not yet finished my review copy of Imaginary Jesus by fellow Western Seminary student Matt Mikalatos I do want to recommend it. Why? Because from what I have read thus far it is a fantastic mixture of hilarious-to-the-point-of-ridiculous comedy with theological astuteness.
Mikalatos puts himself in a narrative, based here in Portland, OR, where he discovers that the “Jesus” he has befriended is not the real Jesus at all. This leads to a series of Jesuses that must be exposed as false. Inherent in this concept is the desire of the author to show us all that we have a vision of “Jesus” that often does not match who Jesus really is.
Publisher’s Weekly describes it this way:
The Apostle Peter punches Jesus in the face, then chases him out of a coffee shop. And that’s just chapter 0. In this quirky tale the publisher describes as “not-quite-true,” former missionary and comic book store clerk Mikalatos disguises his critique of Christian life in an action-based quest to find the real Jesus. It’s A Christmas Carol meets Oz, but instead of ghosts and tin men, it’s a talking donkey, a motorcycle rider, and Mikalatos himself. The cast of characters drags the reader through the streets of Seattle and ancient Judea to introduce a host of fake Jesuses: Magic 8 Ball Jesus, Harley Jesus, even Liberal Social Services Jesus. They’re constructs of the human mind. “People invent a Jesus for one specific reason and then discard him when they don’t need him anymore,” says one of the Jesuses (the one with an expensive suit). Peter teaches Mikalatos that he must quiet falsehoods and mold a deeper relationship with the living, historical Jesus. Mixing questions of suffering and free will with “a nexus of weirdness,” Mikalatos throws Christian fiction into the world of Comic-Con and Star Wars. His silly quest is startling, contemporary, meaningful, and occasionally exhausting when the reader is puzzled. It begs for a comic book counterpart. (Apr.)
You can pre-order it on Amazon.com here.