Following Jesus: A Non-religious Guidebook for the Spiritually Hungry by Dave Roberts is full of information for those who would like to know Jesus better. It delves into the way humans have throughout time tried to put Jesus in a box with one label or another, yet there are too many aspects of Jesus’ personality for that to work and stay biblical. Through personal study, observation of others, historical figures and (above all) scripture, the author provides insight into the many aspects of Jesus’ life and teachings.
The book starts with the way Jesus used everyday activities, such as eating, to teach and lead people to the truth. The writer talks extensively about tradition and how Jesus used tradition in teaching, but warned how it can be taken too far and become a form of idolatry.
Many religions are mentioned, but none are advocated. Roberts uses examples as to how different denominations and cultures view Jesus. The apostles and their relationship with Jesus is also explored, as well as His methods of ministering to them and how and what He expected from the different apostles. The author describes the different men chosen as apostles, and the fact that they weren’t what people in biblical times would have considered worthy of such a position. In addition to using common everyday activities to teach, Jesus also brought His message to the common people, or even those considered unclean, instead of those considered the religious elite.
The section dealing with the paradox of Jesus has some provoking thoughts. Jesus is often described as being meek and mild, yet His strength is overlooked. Jesus was meek when the situation called for it, but He stood His ground and was unwavering in His teaching, and belief. The author tells how “Jesus comforted the afflicted, but He also afflicted the comfortable.” Not only did Jesus talk to tax collectors and women, but He even let a prostitute (considered to be the worst of the unclean) touch Him, causing conflict within the community. It was not a mild thing to do.
Later in the book it explains how Christ used all five senses to teach. The main themes are spread throughout the book, with many other topics mixed in. Roberts touches on how guilt in small portions can be a good thing, helping to keep us on the right path, but guilt used as “pepper spray” to keep people in line will not produce positive results. In addition to the topics above, the book deals with such subjects as sexuality, music, prayer, and emotions. The author uses scriptural references throughout each chapter to support his points.
I found it to be an interesting perspective of Jesus, with a minor flaw that the book had a tendency to be repetitive. I would have preferred to see a few of the minor thoughts expanded upon instead of repeating the main themes. That said, I thought it was well written and informative. -- Kandi Jones, Christian Book Previews.com
Following Jesus takes a proactive look at what serving Jesus means today. It helps readers clarify how they can be gracious, wise, joyous, creative, biblical and balanced in everyday life. It brings them back again and again to the life of Christ, from perspectives they may never have considered. It is a non-religious discipleship manual for the spiritually hungry.