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Sacrilege: Finding Life in the Unorthodox Ways of Jesus (Shapevine) Paperback – October 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

What does it really mean to be like Jesus?

It is safe to say most Christians do not live like Jesus did, have the same influence on people he had, or draw even the slightest curiosity from the onlooking world. Jesus's ability to attract people and win their hearts was directly related to how he challenged their assumptions about religion. He not only gave them a unique, personal way to follow him but also showed them how to participate in his mission.

Sacrilege exposes the patterns of thinking that have held the church hostage for years and inspires you to rethink the way you understand Scripture, family, spiritual formation, conversion, church, sin, and more. Your faith may never be the same. And that's a good thing.


"A refreshing book for those of us who want to know Jesus and who want to make Jesus known. Hugh Halter shares with us how to remove the barriers of religion and let people meet Jesus in us."--Dave Ferguson, lead pastor, Community Christian Church; spiritual entrepreneur, NewThing

"Hugh, in his fabulously engaging way, accomplishes the release of Christian theology from its church-centric focus back onto the streets--where it got its start and where it belongs. It's like opening a window in a musty room to let in some fresh air."--Reggie McNeal, missional leadership specialist, The Leadership Network

"Hugh Halter has written a carefully constructed theological Molotov cocktail which explodes false myths while it fires up the Christian imagination for truth, beauty, and goodness."--Leonard Sweet, bestselling author and professor at Drew University and George Fox University

"This is an honest retelling of Jesus's unruly story with a simple call to be like him in a world where most prefer their sacred cows untipped and their feathers unruffled."--Jen Hatmaker, speaker, author of Interrupted and Seven

"A jarringly honest appraisal of the church. Halter is a missional apostle cut out of the same cloth as Saint Patrick."--Jim Henderson, cofounder of Off the Map, author of Jim and Casper Go to Church and coauthor of The Outsider Interviews


Hugh Halter is a church planter, pastor, consultant, and missionary to the US. He is the national director of Missio and the lead architect of Adullam, a congregational network of missional communities in Denver, Colorado.

About the Author

Hugh Halter is a church planter, pastor, consultant, and missionary to the U.S. . He is the national director of Missio and is the lead architect of Adullam, a congregational network of missional communities in Denver, Colorado.

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Product Details

  • Series: Shapevine
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801013593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801013591
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rich on October 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
People have commented on the "raw" and "real" nature of this book. I suppose that could come from a story like the one in the first chapter about how Hugh began a relationship with a neighbor by flippin' him off. If you don't like this sort of blunt response from the author of books you read, you may want to think twice about reading the book. But seriously, it's about time, isn't it? Isn't it time for the church (Jesus' apprentices) to break out of the walls that box us into religious structures and live out Jesus' life with of our friends, families, neighbors, acquaintances and the girl who takes our order at BK? Isn't it about time we acknowledge that God's Spirit is calling us beyond ourselves, church budgets, programs and comfort and start creating space in our lives to live as active kingdom citizens rather than passive pew-sitting-worship observers?

This book encourages us to reexamine Jesus and ourselves. Jesus is shown to be the untamed Lord that He is. We are encouraged to take a serious look at our lives and follow Jesus into relationships with people with whom He likes to hang out. Hugh provides challenging steps into this at the end of each chapter. These consideration and action questions challenge me to interact with God, myself and others as I learn afresh what it is to be an apprentice of Jesus. They provide practical steps for spiritual formation on the way.

There are powerful insights in this book that will create significant dissonance for the churched person who has bought into a gospel other than the gospel of the kingdom of God. There is guidance here that will enable the heart that yearns to put into practice the very things Jesus lived and taught that we ought to be doing.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Cari on September 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
I found Hugh's book to be encouraging, frustrating, heart-breaking and butt kicking. The content challenged me, at times made me wince, and at other times I'd catch my self saying, "AMEN," out loud. Shifting a paradigm is a difficult thing to accomplish and Sacrilege definitely pushes the buttons of the way we do or think about things. The paradigm being challenged may be a bit much for some and an incredibly welcome breath of fresh air for others. The truth is, the book is raw, real, and will challenge you to think and more importantly act.... not simply agree. If you're looking for a book to affirm the way you've thought of Jesus, Christianity, faith and culture this may not be the book for you. But if you want to be invited, challenged or compelled to strip the religious from Christianity and get to stuff of being an apprentice of Jesus, I'd encourage you to buy the book, read it with some friends and see how you might live your life differently.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian Johnson on January 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Sacrilege: Finding Life in the Unorthodox Ways of Jesus by Hugh Halter
Published by Baker Books.

Two stories that the author shares hooked me with this book and from then on I had a hard time putting it down. The first was in the introduction where he shares his experience of going to the Holy Land but leaves disappointed because of his inability to find Jesus there. "...Religion, religious people, pious performances and massive stone impediments blocked me from..." seeing Jesus.
The second story, in the first chapter, he shares about a hard core neighbor who was giving him the finger ( `flipping him the bird') while the author was mowing his lawn. Not sure how to handle it he decided to stop the mower, lifted both hands in the air and return the finger with both hands, he gave him the `double bird'. From that point on they became good friends and the neighbor was part of their faith community.
The author committed what he calls sacrilege, the act of taking what is deemed sacred and to disrespect, disregard, and be irreverent toward it. The author states that Jesus was the most sacrilegious revolutionary of all time and he calls his followers to be like him. Jesus was able to influence those around him because of his sacrilegious ways and thus the author uses the beatitudes to help us become like Jesus.

In the second beatitude "Blessed are those that mourn..." the author brought in those verses in Ecclesiastes which tell us that mourning is better than pleasure. Suggesting that for us to be sacrilegious we must risk being with those who hurt and those who are sick. He used the example of the monastic communities in the middle ages how they would move into areas where there was pain instead of moving away from it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
I find it refreshing when an author lets you know early on where he or she is coming from. Hugh Halter does so in Sacrilege: finding life in the unorthodox ways of Jesus. In the second paragraph of his Acknowledgments (p.18), Halter defines the gospel as "the message of Jesus about a new way of life that he called the kingdom of God."

If you don't agree that Jesus was out to teach and lead into a new way of life, you won't much appreciate Halter's book. You should still read it, though, because he is on target far more than he is off.

Halter chooses the beatitudes as the frame on which he hangs his argument that Jesus came to smash "the spiritual, religious, traditional, and pop idols of his day." Here again, though, the reader is challenged by Halter's assumption that today's society mirrors that in Jesus' day. if it does, as Ahlter alleges and I agree, then much of what Jesus did comes against current religion.

Where I'm a little thrown off, though, is when Halter suggests that we substitute the word apprentice for follower and/or disciple with reference to Jesus. Especailly as he presnts a definition of what hhe means by apprentice. I am concerned that narrowing definitions for substitute words will lose too many people. Halter is too propehtic is his call to lose people on word choice.

But, then, merely to call people to follow Jesus, or to be disciples, would lose his voice in the crowd. Most anyone who claims to be a Christian would also claim to be a follower or disciple of Jesus. Could "apprentice" help here? Perhaps it could, if our society could separate the word from the Donald, of which I am skeptical.

Apprenticeship is an attractive metaphor for what it is to be a Christian.
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