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

If God Is Love, Don't Be a Jerk

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Member Reviews

The title alone made me interested in this book. I follow the author on social media and have always found him to be a thoughtful writer.
This book is thoughtful and measured and brings many topics to the table.
I appreciated his viewpoints and the fact that he wanted to have these points discussed.
It was a quick read, thought provoking and kind.

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John Pavlovitz has some really useful comments to make for Christians in this book. I think the title sums it up but the book provides some good overviews of the issues facing Christians today; namely that in a fast changing world it can be hard to feel that one is standing true to ones faith, while also treating others with love and compassion. This treads the line graciously and provides some practical guidance. Thought-provoking and worth your time.

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f God Is Love, Don't Be a Jerk is a thought provoking book, This book is not for the faint of heart.
I do totally believe that many Christians have lost sight of the true teaching and that we are not to be the world's judge and jury. We are to love everyone and let God take care of the rest.

3 stars. It was very hard for me to rate this book . As someone who grew up in a very traditional religious home. There are some points that Pavlovitz that I complete agree with now but would not years ago. But there are things that the author claims that I do not believe are Biblical.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher.

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My thanks to NetGalley and Westminster John Knox Press for an eARC copy of this book to read and review.

Ok, if you are going to write a book with the title of "If God is Love, Don't be a Jerk", then maybe, you know, the writer, shouldn't be a jerk?

I DNF'd at 16%, because of the unbelievable judgment and assumptions being made about a particular group of people, specifying the gender and race of those in the group in the ugly comments that were being made.

As far as I am aware, God made ALL of us in His image, not just the people who look, act and believe like you.

Up to this point, I also had issues with the author's "theology" (I use the term loosely, as there did not seem to be much from the Bible to substantiate any of his claims), where he seemed to imply or come right out and say that God is most likely not found in churches and that one should leave to find God wherever he may be (in nature, etc.). God is everywhere, even in churches filled with hypocritical people. It sounded like "lone wolf spirituality", where I can worship on my own, I don't need a church family, organized religions are corrupt, etc. INCREDIBLY dangerous.

Yes, there are many churches where the people in it are corrupt. My original church worshipped money and not God, so when I was looking for a new church family and I found a church that really DID worship God, I was shocked. I thought all churches were money worshippers, but no, it was just the one I was in for so long, resigned and imagining all churches were like that. They aren't. Not all church groups are like that.

I'm sorry if you were hurt by someone or a group of someone's who self-identified as Christian. Just because they claim to be Christians doesn't mean that they actually are. If I decided I was a chair one day, that wouldn't make it true. Same for those who call themselves Christians, but act in anyway but. "By their fruit you will recognize them." Matthew 7:16a

In my current church I feel supported and try to support the others with me. Someone once told me that a church isn't a resting place for saints, it's a hospital for sinners. We are none of us perfect, but as a Christian, I try to acknowledge and live that fact and not think I am better than anyone else. Some days I do better than others.

"For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them." Matthew 18:20 NIV We aren't supposed to worship in a vacuum. If I fall, I know I have people who will help me get back up and I will do the same for them.

A lone deer is a lot easier for a pack of wolves to attack and capture then one in a herd. Have you ever seen those videos where a baby/young animal is getting a drink from the watering hole and it gets attacked by a predator and the whole herd just goes absolutely OH HECK NO on the predator and the attacked animal gets away and the predator flees in complete confusion as to how the tables turned?

I want to be the animal with the herd at my back, not the one by itself. The devil wants us to be the "lone wolf", so he can attack us knowing we won't have a whole herd of others at our back to help us fight him off and get away.

This book, at least the 16% that I read of it, seems to be encouraging the reader to go ahead and wander away from the herd, that we can do fine on our own.

He also seemed to suggest that God changes as time goes on. No, not true. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He doesn't change, but WE do and our interpretation of His word changes, and not always for the better. That's where the disconnect lies. Our God isn't too small, but our understanding of Him always will be.

Now, I'm not a Biblical scholar, take my points for what they are worth, but if this author is a scholar, I would expect to see the Bible being used to back up what he is saying. I did take a peek at the notes before I removed this book from my eReader and I was not impressed. One chapter had ONE Biblical reference, another only three. I wonder which one he used to back up the hatred he was spewing towards a specific race and gender at 16%? (Sorry, low blow, but that part of the book REALLY upset me, if you couldn't tell.)

Ok, this book clearly did not work for me and I am also clearly in the minority on that, as evidenced by all of the positive reviews that total roughly 4.44 stars on GoodReads at the time I am posting this.

Take what I say with a grain of salt. I'm not a Biblical scholar, though I have read my Bible multiple times in different translations, go to church, have discussions with those who are much better educated on the subject than I am, etc. So, I have opinions. Since religions is based on faith and not fact (though even that seems to be falling by the wayside nowadays), and no human can possibly know God and all that He knows and has planned for us, we are ALL of us bound to be wrong in some ways and right in others, but the fun part is that we really don't know which bit is the fact and which bit isn't, but God gave us His word, Jesus and the Good News and the Holy Spirit as our comforter/counselor so we won't be playing guessing games and can make good attempts to do the right thing.

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, 'Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22: 36-40 NIV

If we do those two things, then we are doing it right. I don't believe that this book was doing it right. Take that for what it's worth.

1, the title was the best part of the book, star.

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This is a tricky one for me to review because I think I probably agree with John on most things, but I'd have a hard time recommending this book because the writing tends to go in circles and I think there are many other books I would recommend over this one: Anything written by Rachel Held Evans, Barbara Brown Taylor, Sarah Bessey, Pete Enns. Books written by LGBTQ+ Christians. I could go on and on.

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Expounds on the simple yet complicated truth of the title, very helpful exvangelical perspective that is straightforward yet nuanced.

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I now know that John Pavlovitz is well-known, but I didn't when I first started reading this book. More than that, I still don't know much about him other than what I can glean from his book. My nephew says he's a liberal, but I read lots of books by liberals. Pavlovitz's title is perfect; it is why I wanted to read the book.

Before I read anyone else's review, I wrote in my journal: "Pavlovitz does not shame people which would be counterproductive. To shame people would cause them to do things to get rid of the intensity of the shame (i.e. build up defenses). To understand one's guilt is one thing; to be shamed into changing rarely works. Are authors looking to punish or to transform? I'd say Pavlovitz is looking for genuine transformation."

Then I read the 1-2 star reviews. Eek. Pavlovitz can bring content to the table, but, whoa, readers also bring their likes and dislikes to the table as well. I did not see any mudslinging in the book (or to keep to my metaphor, no food fight). I thought the tone was gracious, and I felt like the author was actively practicing not being a jerk (in his written word - I don't know him personally, and I've read neither his blog nor his social media pages). I didn't see him name calling...although I will agree with one reviewer about his calling out Republicans. It did seem like liberals were liberals, never Democrats while conservatives were Republicans, not simply conservatives. Having made that comment, if the readers continue to the end of the book, they will see that Pavlovitz has had to learn the challenging lesson that we are no better than the "other" side if we cruelly call them out for cruelty.

Some reviewers made claims that Pavlovitz fully negates certain things such as prayer. I did not see that. He does discuss prayer, but I feel he excels at giving topics and thoughts to discuss in language that is accessible. I state it that way on purpose since a couple reviewers felt the book has "been done before". I agree with them; however, what Pavlovitz brings to the table is a less esoteric conversation. I'm currently reading McLaren's book 'Do I Stay Christian?' and some chapters are lofty, not common vocabulary. The two authors might say some of the same things, but we readers need the different voices coming through.

I am buying the book (it is already out for publication) even though I read this ARC courtesy of Westminster John Knox Press and NetGalley. Buying the book usually means a 5 star review from me, but as a nod to some of the more reasonable 3 star reviews, I will give this book 4 stars. I came to the table wanting to learn how to be more loving to Christ-followers with whom I disagree, and I gained some good ideas to practice. I also come to the table knowing that I don't have to eat every freaking dish laid out; I can bypass some dishes without leaving the table. I get that some readers felt every dish was poisoned; I didn't feel that way at all. (That's probably obvious now that you know I read McLaren who some Christians think is a heretic.)

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If God Is Love, Don't Be a Jerk is an earnest look at how compassion, support, and acceptance - the tenets professed by most religious beliefs can make us better people. Released 28th Sept 2021, it's 238 pages and is available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats.

There are three things that struck me pretty quickly after beginning this read - first, the author John Pavlovitz (yes, the same guy who scrolls up FB feeds the world 'round) is honest and genuine, that he's intelligent, and he has a real gift for making concepts understandable.

I've been distressed and saddened by the increasing encroachment of evangelical Christianity on politics and the fusion of that group with right wing political factions in the USA (and to a lesser degree abroad). This is a rational, well thought out collection of 18 essays of contextual counter-philosophy on making a real effort to "not be a jerk" (as we ALL are, from time to time).

The author and editors have also included insightful discussion questions for individual or group study. He has also included succinct chapter notes with citations from the New Testament which are salient to the text. I found many of the discussion questions both simple and difficult (in a good way). There is a lot of humor here too and the author is quite adept at pointing out the inherent absurdity of our cosmic reality without ever once being preachy or mean.

Five stars. This is a great handbook for how to not be a jerk. It's slanted toward people in the Christian denominations, but is in no way exclusive. Everyone will find something to ponder. My only worry/regret is that the people who need it most (radical "evangelical Christian" nationalists) will ignore the important messages here in favor of meanness of spirit and unkindness .

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

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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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