My Jesus Year by Benyamin Cohen

Yesterday I finished reading My Jesus Year: A Rabbi’s Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith. Cohen is an engaging writer and the book was fun to read. While I don’t agree with some of his conclusions about religion, I did find the book insightful on at least two levels. First, I learned a lot about Judaism. Discovering some of their beliefs and practices was very helpful when I think about engaging them in conversations and connecting with them relationally. Second, the book was invaluable to me as a Christian leader in terms of seeing the church through the refreshing lens of someone totally “unchurched” – that is one having never set foot inside of a church prior to his year-long exploration. No two Christian churches are the same, so it’s hard to ever say “this is Christianity.” Cohen did a good job getting a glimpse of a wide variety of churches, but in my opinion he ended up in many that were somewhat unbalanced and/or had niche theologies or practices. Furthermore, he went to one or two groups that would generally be considered cults, and also joined some Mormon missionaries – which, most would argue is not Christianity. If you enjoy reading about people’s spiritual adventures, you would find this book intriguing.

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