Item description for Jesus Without Religion: What Did He Say? What Did He Do? What's the Point? by Rick James...
Overview In Jesus Without Religion, author Rick James begins by clearing his throat. Free of creeds, quarrels and specialized theologies, he speaks of Jesus. No dogma, no politics, no moral at the end. Jesus. What he said. What he did. And what, exactly, was the point. The answers about Jesus, according to Rick James, are in the context. In his own unconventional way, James recalls the specific contexts that color Jesus' story, bringing forward this man you've heard so much--and so little--about.
Publishers Description Great. Another book about Jesus. Whose agenda will the author be lugging along this time? Author Rick James begins by clearing his throat. Free of creeds, quarrels and specialized theologies, he speaks of Jesus. No dogma, no politics, no moral at the end. Jesus. What he said. What he did. And what, exactly, was the point. The answers about Jesus, according to Rick James, are in the context. In his own unconventional way, James recalls the specific contexts that color Jesus' story, bringing forward this man you've heard so much--and so little--about.
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Studio: InterVarsity Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.22" Width: 5.58" Height: 0.43" Weight: 0.43 lbs.
Release Date Aug 12, 2007
Publisher IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN 0830836071 ISBN13 9780830836079
Availability 2 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 26, 2016 03:29.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Jesus Without Religion?
Who knew that the 'answers' were SO simple! May 4, 2009
Just read this. After you do you'll find that you understand what all the fuss is about. Religion is for those who need to be led....this book leads without preaching and teaches without a formal religious take on the subject. Believe me, I learned so much more than I did in religious schools! Just READ this and then reflect on the truths it contains.
A good place to start Jan 29, 2009
I was given this book when I passed by a table on campus hosted by the "Campus Crusade for Christ." The Campus Crusade is basically a group trying to generate religious discussions among students without pushing any particular religious tenets...a sort of lower pressure forum for students to think about religion. This book takes that same tactic. It looks at the Bible's treatment of Jesus Christ and evaluates the messages presented by the gospels as well as some of the writings from the Old Testament and New Testament. The book tries to take the stance of just presenting a portrait of Jesus and Christianity without the overhead of any particular beliefs or doctrines taught by any formal religion. In essence, it's exploring the roots of "Christianity."
The writing style was very accessible. The author uses very conversational language and references many contemporary objects and themes. He also lets his personality come through as he narrates the subject matter, filling it with humorous asides and anecdotes. The tone of the book is light and easy to read even though the material itself is definitely treated seriously and with respect. It's a book about Christ that's not going to be heavy and intimidating to a casual reader.
Being fairly religious myself and having taken formal scripture courses over the years, I found a lot of what is presented to be things I'd already learned. There were a few things that he presented in a new light and with interesting insights that I hadn't thought about. There were a few points that seemed contrary to things I'd learned and as such I'm now motivated to do my own study to set myself straight.
To those who haven't done any real study of the Bible or of Christ or who haven't had any formal scripture/gospel courses, this book seems like a pretty good introductory text. It answers the question of "Who was/is Jesus Christ?" from a biblical perspective. Because he's not preaching about any particular religion other than Christianity, readers shouldn't feel their own belief system threatened or undermined by anything he has to say.
I recommend this book to those interested in Christianity and looking to get a basic foundational introduction to Christ and the content of the gospels. I would not recommend that you take this book at face value and stop after reading it, assuming that you now know and understand all there is to know about Christ and Christianity. And I don't think the author would recommend that either. Rather, I would recommend that you take the thoughts, emotions, questions and feelings raised by this book and apply them to your own study and investigation. Go read the Bible itself. Seek out other instructional and inspirational books. Talk with other religious Christians and see what there is out there.
*** 3 stars
For seekers and new believers Jul 15, 2008
I'm going to go out on a very short limb here and speculate that no one in history --- no one --- has been more misunderstood, more subject to misinterpretation, and more burdened with layers of distortion than has the person of Jesus Christ. This is not to suggest that there is but one crystal-clear image of Him that we can consider to be accurate. But most of us have to admit that our perception of Jesus is clouded by add-ons, a host of cultural and religious elements that serve as barriers to seeing Him as He truly is.
Writing primarily for seekers and new believers, Rick James helps remove those barriers by presenting Jesus' words and actions in the ever-important context of the culture in which He lived. James strips biblical stories of their distortions, lays them bare and then clothes them with insights into the meaning that would have been clearly understood by the people of Jesus' time.
Example: the parable of the Good Samaritan. Seekers --- if they've ever heard the actual account at all --- may come to the story with some vague understanding that Jesus was making a point about how we should treat each other. Good point, but not the main one. The main point, as James describes it, was an "insulting kick in the groin" to the priests and Levites scattered among the crowd that was listening not to a morality tale told by Mr. Rogers but to a scathing indictment leveled by the King of kings. The priest and Levite in the parable ignore the victim on the road due to their blind allegiance to the Law; by contrast, the Samaritan, so despised by the Jews, goes above and beyond in helping the man. James's point is clear: this is a picture of Jesus without religion. And its meaning was not lost on the Jewish religious leaders who heard the parable. ("You can tell seditious little stories for only so long until people wise up and say, 'Hey, I think he's talking about us.' And of course he was," James writes.)
James, the publisher of Campus Crusade for Christ's student-oriented CruPress, not surprisingly writes in an engaging, accessible style designed to appeal primarily to the Campus Crusade and InterVarsity demographic that is evident in the organizations' names. Even so, all but the stodgiest post-college readers should appreciate his sense of humor and understand his contemporary cultural references. (On the choosing of the 12 disciples: [this] "communicated a message to the effect of 'Here is the true Israel' or 'I'm putting the old Israel up for auction on eBay' or something. Understandably, this less-than-subtle message would not have been warmly received by Israel's leaders.")
JESUS WITHOUT RELIGION includes an appendix that would seem out of place except for the fact that the book is intended as an evangelistic tool --- not just for reaching seekers but also for helping confused believers sort out the contradictory images of Jesus that have appeared in the secular media in recent years. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense to feature an appendix addressing the veracity of the New Testament texts, the role of Gnostic literature, and the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Among the specific questions raised, and answered, are these: When were the books of the New Testament written? How do we know our New Testament is accurate? Were there other gospels not included in the New Testament, and if so, why were they excluded?
For those seekers who are almost there but not quite ready to commit, JESUS WITHOUT RELIGION is a good supplementary read. It may not answer all their questions about Jesus, but it hits the high points and does so in a thoughtful but easy-to-understand way.
--- Reviewed by Marcia Ford
Good Introduction to Jesus Sep 19, 2007
The subtitle of this book is "What Did He Say? What Did He Do? What's the Point?" This is an excellent summary of what this book is about. I give this book 5 stars because the author set out to answer those questions, and that is exactly what he did.
This book is an introduction to Jesus, to the real Jesus, the one you meet in the pages of the Bible. It isn't about the latest alleged discovery. It isn't yet another expose on who Jesus really was. It is a clear, readable presentation of what the Bible says about Jesus, and an observation that the story we find there is actually pretty persuasive. There is no denying the impact Jesus has had on the world. Who hasn't heard his name? Who doesn't at least have some idea that he was some great religious teacher who lived long ago? Get rid of the vague notions you have about Jesus and get introduced to the Jesus of the Bible. If you haven't met the real Jesus, or if you aren't sure that you have, then this book is for you.
One last tip: read the preface too. And the appendix.