Why Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge intrigues (and scares) me

If you do not know Jesus as a person, know his remarkable personality - playful, cunning, fierce, impatient with all that is religious, kind, creative, irreverent, funny - you have been cheated.

The best way I can describe Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus so far is like switching from a fuzzy, black-and-white image of Jesus to a 1080p, HD, full-color, even 3 Dimensional portrayal of the most important man who ever lived.

I love this line from the Introduction: “For despite the vandalizing of Jesus by both religion and the world, he is still alive and very much himself.”

What strikes me most from the first chapter, “The Playfulness of God and the Poison of Religion,” is how casual, playful and personal Jesus is with those he loves. (John 21:1-12) How fun Jesus is.

This is not the sad-looking guy from stained glass windows.

He’s a smart-aleck, quick to share an inside joke or memory with his close friends, and always beyond generous in his interactions with people.

Eldredge also takes religion to task, which I’m sure will rankle many modern-day Pharisees. (The Pharisees, by the way, are the one group Jesus always seemed to have a beef with. Not pagans, not sinners, not tax collects – but the religious guys.)

Still, the evidence the author offers up about what he calls “the religious spirit” is sobering: “Millions of people … have spent years attending church, and yet they don’t know God.”

This first chapter leaves me breathless, excited and scared.

Yes, I said scared. Because getting to know and spend time with the real Jesus is disruptive. Maybe what’s scaring me is all my false, familiar idols shouting their protestations. Maybe it’s the little, wounded boy inside of me being scared at the incredible offering in front of me.

Because, as John Eldredge lays out in the first chapter, knowing the real Jesus, in an intimate and everyday way, is life-changing.

Nothing will ever be the same.

And as exciting and hopeful as that sounds, it’s also a little bit scary, isn’t it?

Can’t wait for Chapter Two.

About John Nemo

John Nemo is a former Associated Press reporter, Award-Winning PR Director and Social Media Consultant who helps brands, businesses and individuals leverage LinkedIn to generate sales leads, add new clients and increase revenue. He is also CEO of Nemo Media Group, a Minneapolis-based marketing agency. Learn more about John at www.LinkedInRiches.com

Posted on August 29, 2011, in Books and Publishing, Jesus, Storytelling and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.


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