“American Jesus”… my sister and I had one of those just-a-little-too-long-lay-overs (which we often mistakenly call ‘overlays’) in an aiport in Cincinnati, OH. There’s nothing worse than being so close to the destination – in our case, Columbus, OH- and then having to wait several hours for the actual flight (which by the way was only 35minutes long!) So we lugged our overpacked bags around the airport looking for something to occupy our time…we got smoothies..Beth got her usual pina colada and I got “anything with peaches” and we found ourselves a few moments later in the tiny Borders store inside the airport perusing the books. We bought our little friend Joseph a book about learning his colors and our mom a book on small businesses (she wants to start a coffee shop) and then we landed on opposite sides of the store. Beth was searching for a new journal and I was glancing through the ‘religious’ titles.
“American Jesus” the words in thick black letters on the spine of the book caught my attention among the shelves of familiar titles. I picked it up. “American Jesus…How the Son of God Became a National Icon” Hmmm… I turned the light blue paperback over in the hands and read the back. Beth had picked out her own blue book, a journal, and now she was waiting on me. I put the book down on the shelf and walked towards her- I made it two steps before turning back around to grab the book again. I bought it.
Why am I sharing this? Well not just to prove that a great title is important to the sales/marketing of a book- although you might want to make note of that for future reference- but because of why the title grabbed me.
Who is Jesus really? Is He a man who affected culture or is He one who has been shaped (even created) by it? I have asked and often still do ask myself those questions…and a book that even remotely looks at those core questions is a book I’d like to read. And I am. Starting today.
I know the book is by some East Coast professor who probably hasn’t come to the same conclusions I have. I know it will be studious and intellectual in nature…all about the changing ideas of Jesus throughout American culture. I know on the front of the book is a picture of Jesus that looks like something out of a Jay and Silent Bob movie…I honestly wrestled with whether or not that should offend me…I decided it will only bother me if that is Jesus on the cover, looking like some claymation character, and I will tell you my suscipicion is that it isn’t.
I’ll keep you posted!