Maybe I have been living under a rock, or just on the East Coast. Perhaps it is both, but before I learned about this book I had never heard of Judah Smith or the Jesus Is __________ campaign.
When I saw Jesus Is __________ was up for review, I was intrigued. After all, not many people are willing to just put out part of a statement and let another finish it. It doesn't lend itself much to convincing another of your stance, but that is the point of this campaign. Not to get another to believe X,Y,Z but to get a dialogue started. It is to get people talking about Jesus. Judging from the response on the website and the existence of the book, The City Church of Seattle has succeeded in beginning many discussions.
Written by Judah Smith, lead pastor of The City Church, the book is not just about their Jesus Is _______ campaign. In fact, it is really only spoken about in the introduction. The book is more about filling in that blank, and perhaps seeing Jesus a little different than you ever have before.
The book is organized in six sections, with each section centering around a word or phrase which completes the open ended statement. Some are "Grace," "The Point," and "Alive." Then Smith leads the reader through a few chapters which expand on the single statement. He includes Biblical passages which reflect and expound on his initial thoughts. Personal stories are also shared as they relate to the premise.
Honestly, I liked the book. It was easy to read because Smith uses a friendly tone and sprinkles in humor. Some people may be thrown by his humor. I'll admit one or two of his sentiments startled me, but I think the humor has a place. The book is written for a modern culture, and is quite seeker friendly. The humor is effective and his illustrations and depictions of some Biblical passages will reach an audience that no studious, word analysis book would.
For the most part, I enjoyed his wit and candor, but I appreciated his thoughts more. He sought to show the readers more about Jesus, and he succeeded. Smith used large portions of Biblical text and presented themes from the texts for readers to consider. While there were times the Bible student in me wanted to do a word analysis or call Smith on some minute point, I sensed this was unnecessary. Given the book as a whole, I felt Smith projected accurate facets of who Jesus is.
The book has a subtitle: Find a New Way to Be Human. The main part of the book tells who Jesus is, but the end of the book ties who Jesus is with who we could be, which is more like Jesus. His application was specific and feasible for those who believe in Jesus.
Both seekers and Christians will find value in reading this book.
Fine Print: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.