If there’s one person I really admire, it would be Jefferson Bethke.
I don’t even know where to start.
You may recognize him as the guy who boldly wrote the poem, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus,” — a 4-minute video that gained 7 million YouTube views within 48 hours. If you haven’t seen it yet, then I highly recommend it.
It woke me up. It stopped me at my tracks and made me look at myself for once. I remember the very first time I watched this video. I was a senior at high school… and I remember being completely mind-blown. As a result, I started digging deeper into my faith and came into a head-to-head collision with grace, and I have no words to describe how immensely free and loved I felt.
So yes, Jeff Bethke recently released his book, Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, And Being Good Enough… and let me be the first to tell you that it is amazing. If there’s one person who could grab the attention of my generation about Christianity, it would be Jeff Bethke. His stark honesty is invigorating, and his openness to his pains and temptations (drugs, sex, alcohol) made him all the more real and tangible. It’s not a story about a good Christian boy who did everything that was asked of him. It’s a story of a messed up twenty year old who was pursued, loved, and redeemed by Jesus in spite of all that he has done.
He goes on to talk about how different religion is [his definition of religion: any system that upholds moral effort or good behavior as a way in which we can have a proper relationship with God.] from Jesus.
- Religion makes enemies/ Jesus makes friends
- With religion, there are good and bad people/ with Jesus, there are only bad people in need of grace
- Religion is a means to get things from god/ If we seek Jesus, we get God
- With religion, if you are suffering, god is punishing you/ God already punished Jesus on your behalf, so suffering is His mercy
- Religion says, “God will love you if…”/ Jesus said, “God so loved…”
- Religion points to a dim future/ Jesus points to a bright future
All of these points are found in the table of contents.
This is the perfect book for anyone who wants to take that first step towards getting to know Jesus. The real Jesus. The Jesus who is dangerous, unpredictable, radical, and amazing… not the safe and sanitized Jesus who is too good to be crucified. This book is for non-Christians and Christians alike. Those who don’t know or understand the meaning of grace, those who turned their backs on God because they felt going to Church to be a chore or a duty or a guilt-driven action, those who think they’ve got it together, those who are suffering, those who are curious, and those who think they know everything.
I had an awesome time reading it, and I just wanted to make an art print after a quote from Jeff’s book.
Before and after:
I hope you guys check out the book!