Cover Image: If God Is Love, Don't Be a Jerk

If God Is Love, Don't Be a Jerk

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Honestly, the title alone made me interested in reading this book. It makes so much sense, doesn’t it? If God represents love, then, we as Christians, shouldn’t be a jerk. To anyone. Period. Regardless of our own views. As a Christian who is a liberal, you sometimes feel like you are not seen. To some people, you seem not “Christian enough” and to others, the word “Christian” in itself gives them a bad taste in their mouth. 

This book was a great read, but was not an easy read. It made me think and grapple with my own opinions and thoughts and those of people closest to me. I think this is an important book for Christians everywhere to read. Especially in a time of such discord. 

I received an ARC of” If God is Love, Don’t Be A Jerk” by John Pavlovitz from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I love the title of this book! I picked it up with anticipation, knowing nothing about the author.  Once I started reading, it didn't take long to know that this guy represents so much that is wrong with Christianity.  He's a proud and outspoken progressive Christian. You know, the group that calls themselves Christians then spends all their time telling you about how they reject Christianity.  I mean, seriously, Pavlovitz rejects so much of historic Christianity that I wonder if he really could be considered a Christian.

Besides slinging mud at theological principles, he spends even more time slinging mud at his fellow believers.  The main theme of the book is that he has grown in his progressive understanding, and now, if you don't believe the same things as him about the death penalty, abortion, immigration, same-sex marriage, etc., you clearly have not grown at all and are stuck in backwards, entrenched, unChristian viewpoints.  In other words, you're a jerk.

I'll tell you who's a jerk.  It's the guy who calls faithful Christians who disagree with him racists, prejudiced, territorial, hypocritical, cruel, lacking compassion.  He has no room for anyone who holds conservative political views, no matter how based in Christian faith they might be, and he certainly has no room for anyone who supported or even cast a vote for Donald Trump.

I'll give him this: he can be engaging and entertaining.  But his writing is poison.  My heart breaks for the American church.  I have seen too many Christians buy into this type of progressive rejection of evangelicalism.  It's true, in many cases it's a failure of good discipleship.  But mostly it's the embrace of the lies of the world.  God help us.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy.
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This book is a much needed call to completely recalibrate how we see God, and faith in general. As someon who has to announce that they are 'not a bigoted awful christian,' way more often that I'd like, this calls for us to be... less jerkish, more loving. Recommended.
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I am constantly reminding myself that I need to reflect God in my actions. Pavlovitz looks at many contemporary and divisive topics through the eyes of God's love. The process has been made complicated with humanity's misunderstanding, but it really isn't. This book helps keep a healthy perspective on what God looks like in today's world.
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Not my favorite book ever, as the content has been something I've seen before. But it's a book that gives food for thought if this a new topic for you.
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The title alone preaches a message so many of us need to hear today. The author is honest and funny in his approach. His words cut in all the right ways, and his message will sit with readers long after they finish the book.
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I consider myself spiritual rather than religious, although I was raised in the Congregational Church. This book resonated with me on so many levels. I stopped calling myself Christian because I did not want to be associated with what many in the US consider Christianity to be . The author’s very thoughtful assessment of mega churches, politics, etc . along with his self deprecating humor made this book easy to read and a challenge to be a better human whatever religion (or none) calls to you.
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Kindness is something that has been missing in the world for a while, especially in the christian church.  This is not your typical "christian" book, and that's a good thing.  If more people who called themselves christians would not only read, but follow the principles found in this book, maybe more people would want to know Jesus.  I will definitely be purchasing several copies to gift to people

I received a copy of the book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving an honest review
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I struggled in reading this book, I went into this book blind. Not knowing about John Pavlovitz background in christianity or otherwise. As a newer believer I do not agree with this book and it's standing that all Christianity should die. As a whole I do feel the concept of not being a jerk to others does need to exist. God Is LOVE and we need to show Love to others. Although, within the writing of this book I felt John to be a jerk judging others and indeed putting his own personal beliefs as a force on others. I do not believe all Christians should read this book. It is important with any text published in reference to The Holy Bible. It is important to compare that and pray with God in respect to said text to better understand the alignment. However, to say that there is no hell and we should't be praying is not something I can stand behind. Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC ebook copy of this book. This review is my individual opinion and my honest review.
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I love John Pavlovitz.  Full disclosure, I have followed his blog for a number of years.  Part of what I love about him is his real approach and outlook on the world around him.  This is a great book for anyone struggling with the Western Idea of "Church", of what it looks like to love like Jesus, and anyone that needs a little guidance.

Yes, this is a book aimed primarily at Christians.  Yes, the author is oft critical of one political party.  Yes, he admits that even he can fall for being a "jerk".  

This book is a good reminder of the basic tenet of loving your neighbor.  and as hard as it may be, even when we think we are in the right.  Don't be a jerk.

So much easier said than done.
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Reading any book by John Pavlovitz is an interesting adventure. I can guarantee my faith and thinking will be stretched, and I’ll face a decision about whether or not my actions will change. This book is no exception. 
Basically, faith shouldn’t make us act like a jerk. 
Topics covered in this book include love, life, hell, eternity, church, neighbors, and politics. In each chapter, John challenges readers to test their actions and determine if we’re acting in love. 
I appreciated the discussion guide at the end. Unfortunately, a variety of long sentences complicated the book. Also, the author preaches against conservatives and Republicans throughout and uses “us/them” language that is quite jerk-like. 
Some of my favorite takeaways: 
We have one job: LOVE. Leave people more loved than we found them. 
Am I a jerk? Look at my life and reverse engineer my beliefs. What would people see about my love? 
Religion isn’t what you believe but how you treat people. It’s the fruit of life. The way I treat people is the only meaningful expression of your belief system. 
God is nonbinary, and we can discover the character of God in every human being we encounter - without exception. 
No one embraces the entire truth about God. He is too big for that. Instead, God as the sum total of eight billion extraordinary fragments stitched together. Let’s collaborate as we gain a more accurate picture of God.
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I have been reading columns from John Pavlovitz for well over a year now, so when I had the opportunity to read this book, I did not hesitate.

For those of us who try to live our lives by faith, this book will be a real eye-opener. The first commandment is "God is Love," the second commandment is "Love Your Neighbor."  The essence of the book is "Thou Shalt Not Be Horrible." 

As we  have lived through the past several years and watched the disintegration of society as we have know it, and being beaten over the heads of those who choose not to believe in a certain way by those who call themselves Christians, this book is a true eye-opening experience.

Recommending this to many, many people.
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If God Is Love, Don't Be a Jerk is a thought provoking nonfiction book by John Pavlovitz.  I have followed Mr. Pavlovitz on Facebook for a while, and love his writing about faith -- that sparked my interested in this book.  This is a beautifully written book that inspires kindness and living faith in a thoughtful manner.  I recommend it highly for anyone interested in living a kinder, more conscious faith life.  (This book would also be  great for a book group or Bible study group.)
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This book is such a godsend. It is truly well written. The author puts into words what I have been unable to force myself to articulate about how some evangelical churches do not espouse love.
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This is an amazing book that challenges the way so many Christians have behaved during the pandemic. I highly recommend it whatever side of this fence you are on as it will challenge you and at times encourage you not to give up.
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This book was really hard to keep my momentum. It’s a serious topic but the book was too informal for me. It’s form and approach is very useful for a very specific audience of readers who are teetering on leaving the evangelical church or at least reforming it. For me, I’ve done a lot of theological reading and this thesis about not being a jerk and some of the problems with the evangelical church we’re very elementary and repetitive. After about 2-3 chapters I felt like I got the gist and it was difficult to keep picking this book up. There are many better books on reinventing or evolving your faith out there and I unfortunately wouldn’t recommend this one to someone starting that journey.
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I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Christianity today.  I'm reading it slowly and pondering as I go.   This book will make you think if you give it a chance.   I follow John Pavlovitz'' blog and always find him thought provoking.  

Thank you to Westminster John Knox Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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I received an electronic ARC from Westminster John Knox Press through NetGalley.
Pavlovitz challenges readers to think about their faithwalk and to continue to grow and determine what they believe. His premise about making us better human beings holds as he offers examples and insight on how to live out the Christian faith. 
I don't agree with all his points, but that also makes his point to take ownership of our own spiritual journey and push ourselves to grow. I wish there had been more depth to some of his chapters but this book flows like his social media postings and offers quick bites for readers to dig deeper into on their own.
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This is a very difficult book to review for a lifelong evangelical Christian like me, who has also been a political conservative up until the last five years or so.   Over these recent years my eyes have been opened to the perception that we evangelical Christians have given far too often of being mean-spirited and uncaring.  The author does a great job of pointing out so many different areas where we have a chance to show the love of God to those who don't know him but instead we oftentimes drive these people further away by our treatment of them.  To me, the number one takeaway of the book by far is being conscious of how we treat others and being intentional of treating everyone as if they were created in the image of God, which of course is what we believe as evangelical Christians.  For this alone, the book is worth the read.  

One of the challenges of reading the book comes from the total disdain the author often expresses for basically anyone who disagrees with him.  A little "pot calling the kettle black", as it were, considering how much emphasis he places on our treatment of others.  He also often tends to resort to crudeness when it actually serves no purpose and detracts from the value of the book.  Of course crudeness, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder so perhaps it is a fault with me rather than him.

The biggest challenge for me, as one who has a high view of Scripture (rightly interpreted, of course) is the cavalier way he often treats Scripture.  Although he professes to love the Bible and refers to himself as a student of the Bible, he expends much time and effort seemingly poking fun, not only at Scriptures with which he has an issue, but oftentimes at God himself.  In forming his theological viewpoint, what comes across in the book is that this viewpoint is based solely on his opinions and he simply discards any Scripture that doesn't support that opinion.  This too is very interesting since he derides and belittles those who are more theologically conservative than he is, making fun of their use of "proof texts", although he in effect seems to do the same thing, although somewhat in reverse.

Overall the book was a big help to me as I continue to try to sort out the proper approach to Scripture, mainly in terms of treating everyone the way God would have me treat them, while at the same time remaining true to His revealed Word.  Unfortunately for many open minded evangelical Christians, it would be very difficult to garner the "wheat" from the book due to the necessity of sorting through so much "chaff".  It is quite probable that he never intended to write the book in such a way as to be of assistance to evangelical Christians, considering them (us) to be a lost cause.  However, I can attest to the fact that there are many of us out here who realize there is something drastically wrong with the current state of the American evangelical church and are looking for answers, many of which can be found in this book, but I can't see very many of those people being willing to wade through the overall tenor of the book to try to glean the nuggets contained therein.
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There is so much I loved about this book even though parts of it were hard to read and other parts made me put down the book for days to ponder over what was said. This book is wonderful and deep and says so many things that have needed said for a lot of years. 
While I agree with so much of the book, I had a few beefs with it. One of my biggest is that towards the end he said he doesn't have it all figured out (good for him) and that we all think our views are right (true). In the very next chapter he bashes a person for not being a good Christian...wait what?! I agree with what he said but what if he and I are the ones in the wrong (even though I don't think we are)? 
A few times he also bashes the Republican party. I don't feel like all Republicans feel one way and all Democrats feel another. While I think the leaders of both groups keep getting more divided there is still a good amount of people a lot more middle of the road and to say ALL Republicans feel that way, really irked me. 
My last issue with the book was it brought up Covid A LOT and I'm so over reading about, talking about, anything Covid. 
Overall great book that I'm thrilled I read. 
Thank you Netgally for giving me the opportunity to read this book for my honest opinion.
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