Book Review: Jesus is Better Than You Imagined By Jonathan Merritt

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Jesus-Better-You-ImaginedOne of the things I always try to do when doing a review is to be brutally honest. There is a temptation to be extra kind on reviews because often the books were sent free of charge and, of course, we like people to like us and send us more free stuff and they might not do that if we give them a bad review. Regardless of that, I have always tried to tell you when something was alright, when it was worth buying and when it was worth avoiding.

After about a million books about Jesus by scholars who have devoted their life’s work to the subject I wondered how good this book was going to be. I had read A Faith of Their Own and reviewed it here on the blog a while back and thought it was a pretty good book but I wasn’t sure that I was going to get any better insight from this book than from books like Jesus and the Gospels or the Jesus Manifesto.

This book fits a whole different niche than any of those and I am not entirely certain that I can think of another book that does what this book does. This is not a book that goes cover to cover exegeting scripture to show us a side of Jesus we just hadn’t caught. Instead, this book is more like a memoir that is written through some intensely personal struggles to show through experience that a relationship with God and connection with His church has had a profound impact on Jonathan’s life and it can on yours too. Jonathan outlines some of the struggles he has had with some very personal issues in his life. I admire his courage and his willingness to process how this affected his view of others, himself and God. In this book he wrestles with identity, with shame and guilt, and with the God and Christians who loved him through these things. I appreciated Jonathan’s vulnerability and willingness to share tough stories in the hope that they could make an impact on others who are going through similar things.

The way he unpacks this is helpful in a couple of ways:

  1. It helps us view others who we may have an issue with in a godly manner.
  2. It helps us get in touch with our own issues
  3. It emphasizes the need to be more expectant of God showing up in our lives in unexpected ways.
  4. It teaches us some perspective that can allow us to notice those God moments more readily

If you are struggling with some issues in your life and wonder how God is going to help you overcome those things, this would be an excellent read. If you have people in your life that are struggling through things and you have had a hard time being loving to them through it, this would be a great read. If you are personally wondering where God is and how to connect with him, this is the book for you.

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