A little over a year ago, I reviewed Brad Jersak’s A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel. In so many ways, it was exactly what I had been needing. While folks like Greg Boyd and Brian Zahnd had introduced me to the idea of a God who looks like Jesus, it was Brad Jersak who helped me put all the pieces together into a full and rich theology, one soundly rooted in both scripture and church tradition (particularly the Eastern Orthodox tradition).
I have since then recommended his book to more people than I can count. I consider it to be among the most important and desperately needed works of our day. If you haven’t read it yet, I cannot urge you strongly enough to do so now.
Yet an important gap remained to be filled. A More Christlike God provides the perfect remedy for those of us raised with a toxic version of Christianity, now rethinking our beliefs. But what of our children? How do we communicate the truths of the beautiful gospel to our kids, without inadvertently carrying over the toxic baggage of our upbringing? We want to start them off with the picture of God we wish we’d had all along.
To this end, I could not be happier to tell you about Brad’s new children’s book, Jesus Showed Us! As the title implies, it’s all about how Jesus shows us what God is like. Paired with 16 iconic illustrations by Shari-Anne Vis, the book walks through the life of Jesus to teach children (and adults) about our perfectly Christlike God.There’s no hint here of the angry pagan deity who demands blood payment for sins. There’s no suggestion that this deity chose to pour out his wrath on his own son. And there’s certainly no threat of eternal hellfire for those who fail to get this so-called gospel just right.
Instead, we see the God who is love, demonstrating his love over and over again through Jesus, whom he sent not to condemn the world, but that the whole world might be saved through him.
Of course the ultimate test of any kids’ book is what kids actually think of it. And I just so happen to have some very willing test subjects. My youngest is a bit too young to provide any feedback, but my older kids (ages three and two) absolutely love it! They’ve gravitated toward Jesus Showed Us! more than just about any other book my wife or I have read to them. They enjoy decorating the free printable coloring sheets available to accompany the book. And we frequently hear them begging us to read “the Jesus book” as they call it. On one reading, my son loudly proclaimed, “Jesus, you showed us! Thank you, Jesus!”
Amen! Thank you, Jesus, for revealing the Father. And thank you, Brad, for helping us once again to see Jesus a little more clearly.
In conclusion, if you have young children whom you want to teach about the God revealed in Jesus, you should definitely pick up Jesus Showed Us! And if you don’t have young children, you should probably get a copy anyway. You won’t regret it.