From Publishers Weekly
In this ultimately disappointing book, Antonucci, a Virginia-based pastor, criticizes the superficial subculture of American Christianity. Antonucci’s working assumption is that many Christians are in fact disenchanted by their spiritual lives and wonder why they do not have the abundant life Jesus promised. The solution to this deadening state of affairs? Christians need to shake loose the trite trappings of Christian-speak and get back to the adventure of faith. Antonucci takes aim at one of the most beloved shibboleths of evangelicalism, suggesting, for example, that instead of talking about having a relationship with Jesus, Christians should worry about whether (as per John 15) they abide in Jesus. Some of his turns of phrase are thought provoking, as when he urges readers to be the good news before they worry about sharing it. But his autobiographical vignettes go on too long, and his message—that the Bible asks us not to behave well or even to consider in Jesus, but to follow him—is not greatly different from many Christian-living books. Too steadily, Antonucci replaces the clichés he disdains with more platitudes. On prayer: spending large quantities of quality time with God—face-to-face will make believers glow. In short, this book promises more than it delivers. (Feb.)
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From the Inside Flap
EXCERPT FROM CATALOG
I don’t think people who lived in the Bible times had it easy, but at least when Jesus said, “Follow me” they could see the guy. You knew whether you were following him or not because … “Whoa, there goes Jesus!” He’d be off somewhere and you’d still be eating your cheese fries (because chili cheese fries hadn’t been invented yet–man, they had it rough) and you’d realize, “Whoops, I guess I didn’t follow.” I think in many ways those of us who live today have it easier, but following an invisible guy can be tricky. . . . . I decided to look at the original followers of Jesus in the Bible. I used to be still a little annoyed with them, because they had the benefit of getting the non-invisible Jesus, but I hoped maybe I could learn something. What did it look like for them to follow Jesus? Did following Jesus lead them to obedience and morality? Yes. But was it more than that? Way more. It’s wacky. People follow Jesus into a storm your momma would have made you come in from. People give up everything and leave their jobs to follow Jesus. . . . Jesus says that to follow is to serve. . . . People stop following Jesus in droves because it’s too weird, or too scary. . . . Far and wide I looked, it appeared like following Jesus led people to be astonished and afraid. . . . Jesus was constantly on the move. He had an agenda. And following him meant you would be going where he was going and doing what he was doing. Following Jesus is a long obedience in all different directions.
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Many people find themselves asking, “Is this it? ” “We all read about the life Jesus describes and are painfully aware that our lives don’t match his words,” says Vince Antonucci, a disarmingly funny and edgy pastor. Raised by a Jewish mother and abandoned by his professional poker playing father, Antonucci found Jesus at age twenty after studying the New Testament. When he after all went to church, he was disappointed to discover a “boring, stale religion.” Through provocative storytelling and raw honesty, Antonucci unearths the life Jesus lived and wants us to experience, challenging us to move past spiritual boredom into a faith that’s exciting, beautiful, and powerful. Recommended for all Christians thirsty for a fresh perspective on Christianity.