by Jefferson Bethke
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Copyright: October 7, 2013
Jefferson Bethke burst into the cultural conversation in 2012 with a passionate,provocative poem titled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” The 4-minutevideo literally became an overnight sensation, with 7 million YouTube views inits first 48 hours (and 23+ million in a year). The message blew up onsocial-media, triggering an avalanche of responses running the gamut from encouragedto enraged.
In Jesus > Religion, Bethke unpacks similarcontrasts that he drew in the poem—highlighting the difference between teethgritting and grace, law and love, performance and peace, despair and hope. Withrefreshing candor he delves into the motivation behind his message, beginning withthe unvarnished tale of his own plunge from the pinnacle of a works-based,fake-smile existence that sapped his strength and led him down a path ofdestructive behavior.
Bethke is quick to acknowledge that he’s not apastor or theologian, but simply a regular, twenty-something who cried out fora life greater than the one for which he had settled. Along his journey, Bethkediscovered the real Jesus, whobeckoned him beyond the props of false religion.