CSFF Blog Tour – Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos, Day 1

I’m actually scheduled to participate in two different blog tours today, both for books I loved. As a result, I’ll be double posting on Wednesday, which is fine since I shorted you a post last week. At any rate, for those looking for posts about Wayfarer by R. J. Anderson in conjunction with the Children’s Book Blog Tour, you’ll find those starting Wednesday.

Today I want to introduce Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos (Tyndale). I suppose the best approach is to start with first things first—the cover, and more specifically, the title.

I’ll be honest, when Matt first emailed me about CSFF touring his book I was … hesitant, to say the least. I mean, Imaginary Jesus? I know I’m not the only one to react this way. Once CSFF settled on featuring this book, one tour member emailed me and in parenthesis after the book title said it was hard even to type the words.

The fact is, those of us who know and love Jesus don’t want a book touting Him as imaginary. But I know Matt from CSFF, and I also know a bit about Tyndale House who published the book under the Barna imprint. Certainly this title could not mean the book was about Jesus being imaginary!

Later, when I received the promotional blurb for the book, I had additional concerns. Here’s the opening: “An hilarious, fast-paced, not-quite-fictional story that’s unlike anything you’ve ever read before.”

A hilarious story about Jesus?

OK, my hesitation grew.

But it’s Matt’s book, Tyndale’s book.

And reviews were in—good reviews from Josh McDowell and my Bible professor from Westmont College, Robert Gundry (Tremper Longman), from Publisher’s Weekly and CBA Retailers. I even read a piece about it in Writer’s Digest in the Debut Author section. Clearly this was a book the CSFF administrative team needed to consider.

How glad I am that we not only considered it but chose to feature it on the tour.

Here are my overarching thoughts:

  • Imaginary Jesus is laugh-out-loud funny, without being sacrilegious—no easy feat.
  • The book is one of the truest stories I’ve read, though it is completely made up.
  • Imaginary Jesus, because of its title, might either be controversial among or ignored by Christians. The latter would be sad because the book is the kind of challenging we need.
  • In essence, as I stated in a post at Rewrite, Reword, Rework ” the ‘story’ is primarily a vehicle to discuss theology.” But remember, it’s 😆 funny, therefore not boring!

So what’s the book about? This “not-quite-true” true story is an autobiographical account of searching for the Real Jesus, not the Jesus of our imagining or our re-imaging. Which makes this work incredibly relevant to our postmodern culture.

Here is the list of other CSFF members who will be blogging about Imaginary Jesus the next three days. Take some time to see what they thought about this very different piece of fictitious memoir.

Special thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for supplying me with a review copy of Imaginary Jesus.

Published in: on June 21, 2010 at 10:20 am  Comments (10)  
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  1. You hit on the nose for me. I was like, “what in the world” when I read the title and saw the cover art. But after reading your review and some of the Amazon reviews, I now realize this was a purposeful move on the publishers part. Sounds very intriguing now!


  2. I’m glad this book is out there in the literary universe, and I hope readers rise to the challenges it presents.


  3. this I think will be on my top reads of the year. An excellent book! and yes.. the title sure grabs your attention!


  4. Brandon, because I don’t think our reaction is so unusual for Christians, I really wonder what others will think. It could attract a largely unchurched audience, but I think the humor and the message are probably more for those of us who profess Christ.



  5. Keanan and Amy, I’m so glad you also liked the book. I agree, Keanan, that it puts out a challenge. We can either laugh and love it, close the book and return to “normal,” or we can open up our Bibles and read with fresh eyes.

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to give some feedback on this.



  6. Thanks for that background story! I was wondering how CSFF ended up with this book. And yes, I shared everybody’s reservations, but I’m glad we did it :).


  7. […] Once again I invite you to stop by the other blogs discussing this excellent book. You can find links to specific posts here. […]


  8. […] how. Read one or more of the posts below or in the list from day one of the tour, then email at least two friends with the links. Or blog about the book yourself, including at […]


  9. […] except perhaps his debut novel, re-released under the title My Imaginary Jesus. (You can view the original cover and read my review […]


  10. […] the title Imaginary Jesus. CSFF toured it back then; here is Becky Miller’s review and her list of participants and posts. Word to the wise: If you click on a name, it will take you to that person’s blog; if you […]


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