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Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion to Find God (and the Unlikely People Who Help You)

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  330 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
What does a Hip-Hop artist, Waffle House waitress, tire salesman, and disabled girl have to do with discovering spiritual truth? What if embracing authentic Christianity is a journey of unlearning? Welcome to Jim Palmer's world!

Don Miller meets Anne Lamott meets Brian McLaren in this tale of shedding religion and plunging into uncharted depths of knowing God. Jim Palmer, e
ebook, 224 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Thomas Nelson Publishers
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Aug 06, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love this book, it really resonated with me.

I've had the opportunity to meet Jim and was very impressed that he practices what he preaches. In many ways this provided a succinct voice to the thoughts I had been having for some time about church.

I also follow Jim on Facebook and his frequent insights and observations are good.

May 16, 2007 Brandon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
The main premise of this book is that God works through "common" people and not exlusively the ordained. In fact, the author suggests that those working outside of the church have the greatest impact for Christ. He uses lots of examples and includes his own story (Mega-church and all) to help illustrate his thoughts. His desire to love others for Christ is very inspiring. I read a lot of pseudo-Christian life books and I rate this near the top.
Ibelisse Sanchez
Jim Palmer’s book Divine Nobodie: Shedding Religion to Find God has serendipitously become a timely landmark in my spiritual journey with God. An unveiling took place right before my eyes. It’s as if someone wiped away layers of tradition and opened up a world of possibilities, yet, in keeping with God’s truth.

In all honesty, when I read that the author was described as an Emergent pastor on the back cover of the book, I was holding my breath as I turned each page. Why? Well, I was expecting som
Jun 07, 2012 Stefanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know that I would have enjoyed this book as much as I did had I picked it up at any other point in my life. It's funny how some books find YOU at just the right time. I've been rather disenchanted with the conventional, bureaucracy of the modern day church (I'm talking Presbyterian) encouraged greatly because of the inner strife within the denomination about the ordination of LGBTQ pastors. *side note- I firmly believe that should be ordained*
Palmer's experience of hitting rock bottom in
Greg Dill
Sep 18, 2015 Greg Dill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll be honest with you. I came very close to ditching this book after reading the first half of it. Like a Max Lucado book, I thought it was just a random collection of sappy, feel good, warm fuzzy stories. But, something was telling me to press on. And, I'm glad I did.

Two chapters in particular struck me hard...

Chapter 12: "Sex, Lies, and Paratroop Deployment", about the authors experience of rescuing young girls in Cambodia from sex trafficking and prostitution. As a father of a precious 10-
Jessie Weaver

I was pleasantly surprised by this new chronicle in postmodern Christianity, Divine Nobodies by Jim Palmer. I was expecting yet another Blue Like Jazz (Donald Miller) rip-off - using different words but the same basic idea that a relationship with Christ is more important than church rules. Palmer approaches the topic relationally.

Each chapter in Divine Nobodies is based on his experience with a person. Usually this person is someone he had prejudgments about during his experience as a Protestan
Samuel Sledd
Mar 07, 2016 Samuel Sledd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
On the one hand I found this book rather odd. Coming from my background the idea of worshiping Jesus and wanting to have a spiritual relationship with him in the 21st century is alien to me. Additionally the idea of a deity that micromanages my life and the world is also alien to me.
However it was an interesting look into the minds of people who do believe such things.

However, that being said, it was an excellent very human story about a man confronting his own hypocrisy, preconceived notions, h
Dec 17, 2008 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Divine Nobodies was just what I needed, a great follow up to "So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore".
I have found Jim Palmer very relatable and better at asking questions than giving answers. He offers a fresh approach that leaves my previous involvement in organized religion as a limitation in my ability to have a relation with God.
Anneselden7 Selden Berry
Aug 03, 2009 Anneselden7 Selden Berry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those with a curiosity about thinking outside the box re: church
I really enjoyed this book. It is not the best-written book I have ever read, but it makes up for it by honestly talking about many issues that trouble people who love Christ but not religion. That is what made it a shining star in my opinion.
Tiffany Moen
Jan 21, 2013 Tiffany Moen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book, as did my daughter. It inspired her to get involved with the fight to end human trafficking/slavery. It also challenged me to expand my views of faith and humanity.
Dawn Quinley
Jan 01, 2013 Dawn Quinley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved, loved, loved this book. One of my favorite books of all time.
Dec 21, 2012 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the fastest I've ever read any non-fiction book for fun, partly because it was a biography of the author written like a story. I loved the way the author wrote about his life in a conversational manner, and really kept on talking about how he found God in the most unlikely places (opens up the dialogue about how God actually speaks to His children, I mean isn't it curious that the verse says "My sheep here my voice and they know me" and yet so much we don't hear stories of people hearing ...more
May 09, 2009 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian, read-2009
This is an excellent book! I bought it on the basis of reviews at Amazon - it was recommended based on other books I had read and enjoyed.

It's basically descriptions of random people who have influenced the author's life, beginning with two introductions that outline his unhappy childhood. The various people he introduces in the book - which include a waitress, a dog, a gay friend, an Anglican minister, and his own small daughter - become metaphors for different stages in his life.

Some of thes
J.J. Landis
Sep 19, 2012 J.J. Landis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Best book on Christianity I think I've ever read - he digs deep to the heart of Jesus and shows how religion gets in our way. Jesus' top concern was loving people. That simple. Jim Palmer does a good job of showing us where he went wrong in "worshipping" self, church, power during his stint in a "megachurch" but yet he has a way of not bashing others who are still involved in organized religion. He rips apart all his own prejudices in a way that showed me some of mine - but yet I didn't feel con ...more
Elizabeth Tai
Jun 16, 2016 Elizabeth Tai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
if there's one lesson to be learned from this book it is this: God is enough. sometimes we use the rigours of religion to convince ourselves that we are okay with God and that God is okay with us. Jim realised, after his marriage and ministry collapsed, that the black and white worldview he had was merely preventing him from loving others and himself fully. Filled with wisdom, this is a beautiful memoir that will teach you to see spiritual truths in ordinary circumstances and people.
Brenda Funk
Jan 07, 2014 Brenda Funk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this collection of amazing stories of 'ordinary' people that impacted the life and spiritual direction of the author. Easy to read, with some profound insights into life, looking for meaning in the inexplicable ups and downs we experience as we travel through it. It encourages me to look for the voice and the hand of God in less than obvious places -- rarely in churches, or in the voices of our 'spiritual' leaders, but in those 'common' and 'ordinary' experiences we encounter with peop ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Brandi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is so enlightening. It's well written and an easy read. I related to it on so many levels. I definitely recommend this book. It's outside of the box and that's a good thing.
Nick Johnson
Jan 28, 2013 Nick Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
before reading this book, I don't think I had ever heard of Jim Palmer. Based on reading the book, if he heard me say that earlier in his life, it would have really bothered he wouldn't care so much. That transformation of thought and attitude is part of what he conveys through glimpses of encounters he has had with various people throughout his life. He is a broken man who has discovered how whole and beautiful and fulfilling a life following Jesus can be.

I thought it was a good boo
Herbert DeMattos
Apr 13, 2014 Herbert DeMattos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommend to the burned out ones
Nick Holbrow
Oct 04, 2012 Nick Holbrow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not yet finished this book has made me laugh and made me cry and it is truly amazing thought provoking but most of all liberating. If you think you have no hope in god without buying into the programme of religion, read this. Great book it has been a long time that a book encouraged me to look at myself challenge me but let me know i am truly loved. Challenge your preconceptions God is found in the world we are not all alike as humans so God is at work all over bringing love and life.
Apr 20, 2010 Charlie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book. Jim's life and experiences have inspired me to be more aware of those people I encounter in day to day life. The chapter on "Sex, Lies, and Paratroop Deployment" made me realise that I often live in a state of "out of sight out of mind". Jim spent some time with "International Justice Mission", a group that rescues young children from the horrors of child prostitution. He reminds us that God's love for these kids is no different to His love for us. Well worth the read.
Good read. I would've appreciated this book more earlier in my journey. Some ableist language and the chapter on the gay man was really bad. His discussions on depression resonated well with me. But overall I appreciated his effort to discuss how his faith transformed.
Sep 28, 2013 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, memoir-bio
There was a lot here that really spoke to where I am right now. I'm not sure there's a whole lot that traditional Christianity has to offer me anymore. Lots of food for thought about what a real relationship with God looks like. And Palmer's point is that it's not what professional Christianity is usually peddling. This is a good starting point for people who are "spiritual but not religious" but are still looking to grow within the Christian faith.
Sep 03, 2013 Ruben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eloquently written. I was clued to this book. I loved the journey that this book took me on. Jim has a wonderful way of viewing people and life in general that's DEEPLY refreshing and profound. I've shared this book with several friends who've journeyed onward...outside of organized religion. Each time, I get reports of people saying o me,"I cannot put this book down."
Jun 07, 2016 ELIZABETH-ANNE rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
Terrific book about ordinary angels that we pass by every day and may or may not realize their wonderful and angelic acts of kindness and mercy towards others. A+++++
Aug 05, 2011 Christa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was very helpful for me to read. It was such an encouragement to me reading Jim's observations and personal stories. I like that it was not a hateful diatribe against organized religion, instead it was a thoughtful journal of his experiences and how God was leading all along....using unexpected people and occupations to point Jim to Himself.
Jul 12, 2011 Dayna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book especially for people disillusioned with the institutional church. This book helps us Jesus lovers remember we need God because he delights in us and made us not just to save us from our sins. He wants us to just be with him, not just study his word and obey it.
May 19, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved reading all the different encounters he had with God through so many different people. This would make for great small group discussion. Its easy to read this book at your own pace. I read about a chapter a month... a lot to think about.
Warren Benton
Jan 24, 2013 Warren Benton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
well this book taught me things I didn't know I didn't know. so often. we live our lives based on our plans and often miss when and what God has planes for us. one major thing I took from this book is I need to be open to listening for God's voice.
Feb 10, 2010 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm having a hard time finishing this book. It's like Blue Like Jazz, with each chapter being a little essay, and some are very good. I'm just not that into it, though. I'm close to the end, so I'll finish soon.
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GOD 1 12 Nov 02, 2009 11:34AM  
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  • True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing in
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  • This Beautiful Mess: Practicing the Presence of the Kingdom of God
  • Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace
  • Why Forgive?
  • The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus
  • Strangest Way
  • Prayer
  • Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle: Living Fully, Loving Dangerously
  • The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church
  • Roots of Christian Mysticism: Texts from Patristic Era with Commentary
  • Living Your Strengths
Jim has a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Divinity School in Chicago. He was a successful Senior Pastor before he left institutional church and organized religion to explore new dimensions of his relationship with God.

Since 2005 he has been chronicling his journey beginning with Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion to Find God (and the unlikely people who help you), and then Wide Open Spaces
More about Jim Palmer...

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“Perhaps everyone finds him or herself a time or two sifting through the rubble and ruins of a devastated life, wondering whether or not it's worth rebuilding or even salvageable.” 9 likes
“My striving couldn't get me any closer to knowing God. He had always been there, waiting for me to give up and listen.” 5 likes
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