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Imaginary Jesus

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,675 ratings  ·  276 reviews
Imaginary Jesus is a hilarious, fast-paced, not-quite-fictional story that’s unlike anything you’ve ever read before. When Matt Mikalatos realizes that his longtime buddy in the robe and sandals isn’t the real Jesus at all, but an imaginary one, he embarks on a mission to find the real thing. On his wild ride through time, space, and Portland, Oregon, he encounters hundred ...more
Paperback, 225 pages
Published March 18th 2010 by BarnaBooks (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  1,675 ratings  ·  276 reviews

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Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful satire on the many ways mankind remakes God in our own image, so we become the creator of a Jesus or several Jesuses (Jesi?) who fit neatly into our wants, prejudices, and comfort zones. Our relationship with our imaginary Jesuses turns out to be not dissimilar to a narcissist's relationship with himself, non-challenging but lonely, purposeless, non-fulfilling, and non-productive (same color, culture, and denomination as us; no demands beyond what we offer, fits neatly into b ...more
Jason Brown (Toastx2)
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, reviewed
This book was FUNNY. It is straight up Christian faux-fiction, a complex parable with all the standard moving parable parts: a moral to teach, animal characters, convoluted answers that force the reader/listener to consider various perspectives. To that point, Christian literature in general could learn a lot from how this book was presented. As an Agnostic, I read it based on the title, was sucked in after less than a page, and finished it thinking “Man. that was pretty damn good”. Imaginary Je ...more
Fred Warren
Oct 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Matt’s savoring a cup of coffee at his favorite Communist bookstore…with Jesus. He’s been enjoying Jesus’ company for a while now, and although Jesus seems to be invisible to everybody else, Matt’s found him to be a pretty regular guy and handy for heading off things like parking tickets and other minor inconveniences.

On this particular day, however, a big, hairy man barges into the coffee shop, full of righteous indignation and smelling of fish. He picks a fight with Jesus, and Matt’s tidy litt
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
At first glance, this book appears horrifyingly irreverent. The horrifying truth, though, is the irreverence with which we find ourselves inventing Jesus for ourselves, based on what WE need him to be.

There is Free Will Jesus, who refuses to intervene in our lives, leaving our suffering to be the product of our own choices. He requires nothing of us, but this is hardly comforting when we face loss. There is also Meticulous Jesus, who involves himself in every detail of our lives. Reveling in ou
Eric Thompson
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was given this book by a mutual friend of the author. I wasn't sure what to make of it at first, but I was hooked by the second page. Imaginary Jesus is hilariously funny--one of the funniest books I've read in quite some time--and yet what begins as funny in the end is a sharp satire on America's consumer Christianity and the author's journey toward a more authentic understanding, and worship, of Christ.

I personally enjoyed the whirlwind tour of downtown Portland, including many of my own for
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm typically not a fan of Christian literature. The Chronicles of Narnia are an exception. The reason is that the Christian literature I've read has often proselytized too much and/or had characters react to situations unrealistically. But I knew this was Christian fiction going into it (how can you not from the title?), read some reviews, and downloaded it (for free) onto my Kindle. And I LIKED it. There were passages that made me laugh, some that made me cry, many that made me think, and more ...more
Stanley Townsend
I'm a big fan of Jesus and his teachings. I am not, however, a Christian in any organized or individual sense. Maybe that has something to do with my somewhat minority-report review of this book. From the reviews, I was expecting hilarity. I found it mildly amusing (at best) at times - boring and tedious at others. I was hoping for something thought-provoking - there was a little of that, but way too little. Came across as too much of a sales pitch to me. I was hoping for something like Christop ...more
Deanna Norris
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
Overall, I like the concept of the book. Also, I think that many of the observations about Christians and their "personal Jesus" is right on target. Sadly, I even saw a few of my own. Unfortunately, I felt that the author was dragging out, what would be, a great short story into a full length book. ...more
Sara Bauer
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hilarious. Was laughing from page one until the very last (yeah, with a bit of crying in the middle; there's some emotional stuff here). Although the humor is inspired, so is the theology. We all have our own versions of Jesus; it's time to meet the real one. ...more
Jesse Doogan
Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
Matt Mikalatos could have written Imaginary Jesus with a nice, quiet set of bullet points. He could have used some keywords with nice alliteration, and maybe thrown in a few anecdotes to keep things interesting. He would have gotten his point across, and it still would have been a a great concept. But he didn’t.

Instead, Imaginary Jesus is sort of a semi-autobiographical science fiction pop-philosophy adventure novel. It stars Matt Mikalatos as himself, the Apostle Peter as a metaphorical spiritu
Ashley Holstrom
Good ol' hunting-for-the-real-Jesus fun! ...more
Krystl Louwagie
Feb 28, 2011 rated it liked it
I will say, this is probably my favorite religious-preaching-hidden-in-a-story novel that I've read. Maybe that's because it's not all that hidden-it's one man's personal search for the real Jesus amongst many fake/imaginary representations of Jesus that he keeps getting pulled into. It's a mix of real and imagined events that the reader it just supposed to be able to interpret what's *really* happening, and what's just thought process. All the imaginary stuff makes for a pretty entertaining rea ...more
Matthew Miller
Mar 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
In the journey of the Christian faith, there is a sense in which all followers are looking to know the "real" Jesus better. Jesus, as we believe, is the perfect representation of God, very God himself, and therefore the example to man of the Father's will.

That's all very theological, but Matt Mikalatos makes this journey after the "real" Jesus hysterical. His device is the Imaginary Jesuses (how do you make Jesus plural?) Showing up all over this story are the stereotypes that Christians use to
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
An entertaining, yet very strange read, this book will definitely make you think about how your perceptions can cloud the identity of Jesus. If you are a believer or not, this book will prove an intriguing read. Matt, the main character in the book is hanging out with Jesus in a cafe--but he's not the real Jesus. The reader quickly realizes this as he punches the apostle "Pete" in the face and goes on the run. Matt and Pete encounter many Jesus', all crafted by Matt's imagination. These imaginar ...more
Pat Loughery
Jan 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
I found this one through a list of free/cheap Kindle books. It was (and still currently is) free. That and the content makes it worth downloading..

It's a fun novel about a guy and his imaginary Jesus(es), who he discovers - with the help of a swarthy Peter and a talking donkey and some other friends - may not be the Real Jesus, but only the ones that make him feel comfortable. The story is a fun and surprisingly deep tour through all the different images of Jesus that are around today - hippie J
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have to say that this book was so much fun. It’s one of those books that while it’s funny and fast read, it’s actually deep when you think about it. I got about 3/4 of the way through it and had a wow moment. During Matt’s struggle to find the real Jesus, he has invented all of these imaginary Jesuses. These Jesuses do what he wants them to do, say what he wants them to say, but when it comes right down to it, are they the real deal. I got through this book in just a couple of hours, but it wa ...more
Lesa Brackbill
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea what to expect when I requested this book…but once I started it, I did not want to put it down! I’ve struggled with what to write in this review without giving details away–all I can say is READ IT! It is FANTASTIC!

“My Imaginary Jesus” is an incredibly creative work that looks at all of the different ways that we perceive/imagine Jesus to be as opposed to what the Bible actually says. The author seeks to dispel widespread misconceptions about Jesus while sharing about his own true
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
Recommended to Kaysi by: Ryan Cleveland, Cassidy Hastings
This is one of THE best books I have ever read. While reading it I couldn't help but think of that quote that says, "You know you've made God in your own image when He hates all the same people you do." That's not to say that this book focuses on misconceptions of Jesus based on who we believe He loves or hates, but rather it confronts a multitude of "false gods" we as Christians have created throughout history by basically missing the point of Who Christ is and why He came to earth.

Imaginary Je
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a unique book to read. Told from the first point of view by the author, it is touted as "a not-quite-true story." The story is fiction, and the author has quite an imagination, but by weaving a humorous and at times rather bizarre story, he tackles the issue of people having the wrong view of Jesus, and our making our own version of Jesus to follow and serve.

The book starts out with the author hanging with his own version of Jesus, Imaginary Jesus. He then goes on to meet several other
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Matt Mikalatos has written a charismatic novel called “Imaginary Jesus.” Once I began reading the book, I had a difficult time putting it down until I had finished it. The author has written a humorous story that really hit the spot. His underlying presumption is that we have all created a Jesus that we confuse with the real Jesus, one to simply meet our own needs. In the book there is this surreal reality in which all these different personalities of Jesus exist to stick themselves to us and pr ...more
Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
4/5/11 - 5/10
I ordered Imaginary Jesus for my kindle because it was free but it sounded interesting. It sounded like a promising concept - a humorous take on physical representations of all the fake Jesus's people create - kind of like Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode, but in book form! However, the execution was not so great. I was expecting something irreverent and laugh out loud funny (from the reviews) like Lamb by Christopher Moore. This was just not that funny to me. It was more puns and som
David Ketelsen
Nov 25, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a very interesting and entertaining book. It might seem an odd book for me to read since I'm not a Christian but religion does interest me, from afar, and the playful writing style of Imaginary Jesus appealed to me. I read it in the Kindle format and the free aspect also appealed to me.

While the description of the book seems playful there's a lot of serious stuff going on under the surface of this book. Mikalatos essentially sets up strawmen arguments which are embodied by numerous false
Todd Miles
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christology
Why 5 stars? This is not a magnificent treatise on the person of Jesus Christ that will rival the work of Macleod or Bruce, yet it is a book on Christology, just written in a different genre - satire. When judged according to the standards of its own genre, it is very effective in communicating its message. And the message is important.With our postmodern sensibilities demanding that we worship a God of our own making, an avatar, that may or may not resemble the actual God of the cosmos and Lord ...more
James Maxon
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A humorous journey every Christian should read. Making God after our own image is all too often a common struggle. With so many opinions and differing voices out there it is hard not to get caught up in the sensationalism, trends and niches. Matt Mikalatos amusingly exposes these and helps to paint a true picture of Christ. More than once I caught myself laughing out loud at his witty narrative, but never once did I lose sight of the ultimate message, which is to search after God’s true heart. I ...more
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2 people recommended this book to me and I wouldn't have taken so long to read it, had I known how funny and insightful it is. The premise is Christians have a relationship with Jesus, but is it the genuine Jesus. One of my favorite "Jesuses" people have is "Magic 8 Ball Jesus"....he gives nebulous answers like "Ask again later" or "Signs point to yes", or "Outlook not so good". He is more horoscope than person. Another favorite is "Liberal Social Services Jesus" ....."He thinks the best way to ...more
Apr 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian, year-2011
Matt Mikaltos has encountered many Imaginary Jesus' in his life. They look like Jesus, they talk like Jesus, but often embrace only the "comfortable" part of Jesus' message. In this hilarious romp through Portland, OR and surrounding areas, Matt confronts his own beliefs as he searches for the real thing.

The first few chapters of this book are just laugh out loud funny. The whole story in itself, kept me laughing, until it made me cry. Really challenges you to look at your faith and the Jesus yo
Mar 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Clever and really funny. Makes the point that we all create our own imaginary Jesuses instead of seeking the real one. We can't box the real Jesus in with our own beliefs and philosophies. He is so much bigger than that! ...more
Jayo Leavesby
Dec 03, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Fairly entertaining and a quick read. It was chock full of jokes and touched on many interpretations of scripture/jesus. There were a handful of points made in the book that did open my eyes and remind me to consider certain perspectives.

However, the narrator felt very abrasive, and while that may have been part of the point as his imagination resulted in the bastardized jesuses, it detracted from the novel’s ability to make its overall point, and his growth seemed shallow at best. Many of the
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hands down the FUNNIEST book I have ever read. Very rarely does a book make me actually laugh out loud, but this one had me in tears from the very first few pages and kept me rolling throughout. I didn't really know what to expect when I picked up this book, but I was pleasantly surprised by how hilarious, witty, and creative it truly is. It's really like nothing I've ever read before or since. It had me breathless with laughter one minute and then welling up with tears of sadness and joy the ne ...more
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story, once you look past all the fiction, is one of a very hurt and broken man trying to make sense of his God. Being a Christian I can relate very much to him and am glad he wrote this book.

Even if you’re not a Christian I think this would be an incredibly fun, lighthearted read. Humor is the main vehicle in this fiction/biography book and it reads like your good friend that you know exaggerates every story he tells but you love him for it, even if you always raise your eyebrow.

It’s easy
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“And just because a talking donkey tells you something doesn’t mean it’s true.” 7 likes
“That’s the danger of following an imaginary Jesus,” Daisy said. “The more committed you get to him and his plan, the further afield from the real Jesus you get. Your earnest attempts to be committed to your imaginary Jesus actually move you away from Christ.” 1 likes
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