Not Your White Jesus: Following a Radical, Refugee Messiah

Sheri Faye Rosendahl. Westminster John Knox, $16 trade paper (204p) ISBN 978-0-664-26416-1
In her persuasive debut, Rosendahl, codirector of the Nations, a humanitarian organization, challenges the image and ideals of the Americanized, blond-haired, and blue-eyed Jesus. For Rosendahl, establishing a portrait of the historical Jesus is crucial for understanding Christianity’s original teachings. Establishing Jesus as both a Jew and a Palestinian, she starts with a quick overview of Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem, his life of meager means, and his spiritual revelations that attracted a modest following during his own life. She describes Jesus foremost as a refugee, a man who famously kept company with the marginalized of society—widows, prostitutes, the poor, foreigners—and lived a life of love in action. Part portrait of Jesus and part memoir, the book also covers how Rosendahl became interested in recreating the true Jesus after she moved from Texas to Iowa to help refugees from the Middle East integrate into American society. She details the pushback she received from Christian groups and the realization that the perception most Americans had of Jesus’s life was deeply flawed. Addressing the recent election of Donald Trump, she writes directly to a Christian audience that, she believes, has forgotten Jesus’s original message. Well-researched and sometimes tinged with sarcasm and disbelief, Rosendahl’s forceful book will appeal to progressive Christians. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2018
Release date: 10/01/2018
Genre: Religion
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