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Why Jesus Makes me Nervous – ten alarming words of faith

Paraclete Press
RRP $24.95

I remember sitting in our lounge room at a bible study discussing some part of the Sermon on the mount. Being the wise old minister in training one of my good friends asked if there was another way to understand this passage on murder or money or marriage [I can’t remember which] because she could never seem to fulfil the requirements, put this passage to bed, and stop being challenged by it.

In that moment I suddenly realised – I think that was the point.

This is what Joy Jordan-Lake writes about in her book, Why Jesus Makes me Nervous. The fact the Jesus and his words are hard to nail down, and even if you do, they have a habit of rising again.

Jordan-Lake chooses ten words of Jesus to help us set our faith free from the Cathedral cages many of us have stagnated in. Not to a freedom of saccharine sweetness, but to a freedom found in a real-life nitty-gritty faith.

Through painful, poignant and pleasant personal stories Jordan-Lake reminds us that we only need resurrection because we experience death, that hope only has power in despair, that praying for blessings could be praying to be poor, or to mourn [Luke 6:20-21], that forgiveness presumes the brokenness and hurt of sin, and that peace is not conflict avoidance but justice chasing.

Well written, if not at times too flowery, the book is easy to read, but harder to digest as our two dimensional definitions of key doctrines are stretched to 3D.

Jorden-Lake has captured the true faith, inviting us to go beyond cardboard cut-out understandings and to meet the real, lion roaring Jesus. She does it without falling into any of the usual liberal-fundamental categories. This is gospel.

If you’re tired of the nice, cheesy smiley Jesus and are looking for a Saviour of substance for life’s mess, Why Jesus Makes me Nervous is for you.

Paper Back 160 pages including Study Guide.

Reviewed by Paul Clark – Puppet Minister