Book Review

Book Review: Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

jesusI picked up this book on Christmas Eve before midnight mass because, well, it was free. And I’ll almost never pass up a free book. I’ve been wanting to re-explore the religion of my roots (Catholicism), so I figured, why not? I read the first fifty pages before the midnight mass began, and I found myself wanting to finish it and see what awaited the rest of the reading.

What awaited me were some helpful gems. Yes, I said some. I’m not going to say that this book was perfect in every chapter, but it did offer some useful advice. It addressed specific prayers, how Jesus would run an airline, the central idea to being the best-version-of-ourselves, and what would happen if Christians behaved like Christians.

My favorite part was the format of a prayer. A chapter was devoted to outlining the various parts of a prayer. Somewhere along the way I had forgotten how to pray, so this was a helpful inclusion.

Other parts just made me cringe. One of the first few chapters states how “politically correct” the world has become. I become automatically wary of people, especially authors and their books, who have a negative opinion on “political correctness,” as the concept is more about respecting people as beautifully varied human beings rather than simply avoiding offense. Another part that made me cringe was in chapter thirty-six, “The Biggest Lie.” This chapter states that the biggest lie about Christianity is that holiness is not possible. But that alone is not what made me cringe; the author continues by saying that the lie is “the holocaust of Christian spirituality.”

There is a difference between “a” holocaust and “the” holocaust. The first is a vague concept of the word’s original meaning; the second is the horrible tragedy of genocide brought on by Hitler. I believe that it is in bad taste to compare something to “the” holocaust for a shock-and-awe effect, and this seems to be exactly what the author did.

The writing itself was repetitive, often repeating the same examples and themes through multiple chapters. In a single chapter, Kelly uses the word “radical” in almost every sentence. It was tiring to read through that chapter.

The book was overall an easy read with forty chapters in total, each chapter being no more than a few pages. I liked how the book was set up this way to incorporate the option of reading it for the Lenten season. Each chapter ended with a section that included a Point to Ponder, a Verse to Live, a Question to Consider, and a Prayer to tie the chapter together.

The mix of gems and cringe-worthy moments led me to my rating of three stars. I would recommend this book to Christians who are looking for an easy read that navigates the Christian faith in a new perspective.

This review has also been posted on Goodreads.
Picture from Goodreads.

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9 thoughts on “Book Review: Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly

  1. Thanks for the review!

    In regards to the political correctness thing, I think that what offends so many people is that it is not really about being tolerant, but more about tolerating the intolerant.

    So for example, last night I had to make a stop in a store. As I was checking out, I said to the clerk (a young man with a “way” about him that at the very least suggested he might be gay) “Merry Christmas! It is still Christmas you know,” and I smiled as I took my bag.

    He replied something about how he does “Happy Holidays,” and that he wished me the same phrase.

    I just smiled, but later I thought, “hmmm…I am SO not politically correct….What I should have said, is: ‘Yes, ‘Happy Holidays’ comes from HOLY day, and Christmas IS holy, so thanks for reminding me that these are HOLY Christmas days!”

    I thought this, because the clear intention was for him to be “political correct” and thereby “X” Christ out of Christmas. Not cool. Not America. Maybe Saudi Arabia, but not America.

    In the end, the whole concept of political correctness is to get the rest of the world to tolerate the intolerable, who really just do not want to hear what you believe.

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    1. That’s an interesting perspective. I know in some circles, being “PC” is the default to avoid intolerance. I know at least from my perspective, it seems like many religious people (not saying all) will say things like “Merry Christmas” to gauge reactions rather than wishing wellness for the season.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I can see that. I imagine it is probably out of frustration more than anything, but definitely not the best spirit. Evil in our world has become so tricky, that it often runs circles around the best out there. I think it is easy for some to become discouraged in the face of it, and perhaps react in not the best of ways. I personally always found PC to be the excuse to get me to stop stating my beliefs (in college, for example, when I tried to stand up to liberal professors who attacked the Church), and when I refused to give in to their angles, I was treated not the best, to say the least. I have even heard PC people saying that conservatives should “not be allowed a voice.” Sounds like the PC Inquisition. Anyways, it is quite the dilemma these days, is it not? Thanks for the discussion! 🙂

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      2. Hmm, there’s definitely a bipartisan issue happening here. I, for one, am a liberal Catholic, which can sound like an oxymoron to some. I just try to avoid language that someone else might consider rude. I can’t please everyone, but I do the best I can 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

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      3. NP! 🙂 I respect avoiding rudeness. I try as well, although sometimes, I have to speak the truth as kindly as I can, even if it might hurt a bit. But I do try to soften the blow, although one can never protect every ego to the degree one might prefer in an effort to lead them to true peace and joy. There is always going to be someone who will not want to hear the truth. Happy New Year!

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