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The Other Jesus: Rejecting a Religion of Fear for the God of Love Paperback – February 15, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664234046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664234041
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,901,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Reading The Other Jesus is a bit like clearing the mud from your eyes and seeing our Lord and Savior again for the first time." Chris Seay, senior pastor, Ecclesia, and author of The Gospel according to Jesus

"Garrett demonstrates an uncanny ability to make the complex, clear. His new book brings the good and glad news alive." The Rev. Dr. Roger A. Paynter, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Austin, Texas

"Clear, provocative, and sympathetic, this book opens fresh windows for the imagination and fresh perspectives on the figure of Jesus as the one on whom all our human hopes for joy and reconciliation can converge." Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

"With all the customary grace and conversational style his readers have come to expect, Greg Garrett delivers again. Powerfully persuasive and a delight for the mind and soul to consider." Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence and The Divine Hours.

"Greg Garrett is both a gifted writer and a deeply thoughtful follower of Christ. Whenever I read his work, I find a rare and moving mix of honesty--sometimes painful honesty--and tested hope, each made more vulnerable by the other." Brian D. McLaren, pastor, activist, and author of A New Kind of Christian, A Generous Orthodoxy, and The Secret Message of Jesus

From the Author

The Other Jesus is the culmination of my fifteen-year journey back to faith after many more years outside the Christian tradition. I've written spiritual autobiography telling the story of that journey (Crossing Myself and No Idea) and a number of books on how I felt literature and culture communicating the presence of the Divine even in my darkest hours. I've written around the edges of faith; The Other Jesus takes all these lessons and tries to confront head on the challenges and possibilities of 21st Century Christianity. 
People outside the faith are developing an overwhelmingly negative view of Christian faith, and while I have nothing but scorn for current attempts to focus-group faith, I cite a number of leaders of the Church who agree that these negatives often reflect our failure to live out the authentic message of Jesus. Ironically, people who know of Jesus but do not follow him can remind us what it is we are supposed to be doing. I want to reject cultural visions of Jesus and the resulting Christian faith for the Jesus who healed and fed, who reached out to the marginalized, and who said that all the commandments could be summed up in the need to love God and love our neighbors.
In The Other Jesus, I tell stories, ask hard questions, and propose possible ways forward. In various chapters, I explore how we can pay attention to the Bible in a way that is both faithful and authentic; I suggest that the ancient wisdom traditions of Christianity can give us strength and courage today; I consider some harmful contemporary beliefs and some damaging real-life implications of pursuing them; and I argue for interfaith relations based on living out our faith instead of denying it.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, says that The Other Jesus "opens fresh windows for the imagination and fresh perspectives on the figure of Jesus as the one on whom all our human hopes for joy and reconciliation can converge." Certainly this was my hope in writing; my life has been transformed by an encounter with Christ, and I believe that encounter can be life-changing and life-giving for you as well. Please join me for conversation about what it might look like if we trained our vision on the Other Jesus and tried to follow him faithfully into a life of service, compassion, and love.

More About the Author

Greg Garrett is the Austin, Texas author of twenty books of nonfiction, memoir, and fiction. His latest book is Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Popular Imagination, which explores the stories we tell about death and the afterlife--and why we tell them. BBC Radio has called Greg "one of America's leading voices on religion and culture," and he has also written on such topics as spirituality and suffering, film, U2, Harry Potter, and the boom in superhero narratives.

His most recent novel was The Prodigal (2013, written with the legendary Brennan Manning), which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. His first novel, Free Bird, was chosen by Publishers Weekly and the Denver Rocky Mountain News as one of the top debuts of 2002. His other novels are Cycling and Shame.

Greg's work has been covered by or he has been interviewed by The New Yorker, USA Today, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, BBC Radio, BBC Scotland, National Public Radio, CBS Radio,, The Bob Edwards Show, The National Review, Poets & Writers, Commonweal, Mens Health, and many other broadcast, print, and web publications. Greg writes regularly for Patheos, The Huffington Post, OnFaith, and for print and web publications ranging from The Washington Post to Poets & Writers. He has spoken at venues across the US and Europe, including the American Library in Paris, Cambridge University, Kings College in London, and the Washington National Cathedral.

Greg is the 2013 Baylor Centennial Professor at Baylor University, where he has taught since 1989. He serves as Writer in Residence at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, Residential Scholar at Gladstone's Library in Hawarden, Wales, and as a licensed lay preacher based at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. Greg lives in Austin with his wife Jeanie and their family.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lee Stallard on January 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In The Other Jesus, Greg Garrett has written a thoughtful explanation of his views on Christianity. He addresses many issues including problems he sees in contemporary Christianity and how he believes Christians should think about the Trinity, the Bible, the sacraments, spiritual practices, sin and salvation, Christian community and the Church, the Kingdom of God, eschatology and interacting with others in a multi-faith world.

Garrett is an extremely knowledgeable Christian who draws on thinking from a wide variety of sources and integrates ideas into a Christian perspective that he communicates with clarity. I appreciated that Garrett provided book recommendations at the end of each chapter for readers who want to go deeper. Although I didn't agree with everything Garrett wrote, I learned and grew as a Christian from reading this book.

Finally, as another reviewer noted, Garrett's frustration comes through with churches he has experienced as judgmental and hypocritical. Research by the Barna Organization and others clearly establishes that many churches today are perceived in these ways because they are falling short of Jesus' commands to develop disciples who have a profound love of the Lord and of other people. Garrett's comments in one instance get a bit too specific and it would have been better to communicate his criticisms privately to these churches rather than in a book that names their denomination and geographic location. (TMI "Too Much Information" as my teenage daughters would say.) Let's not forget that Garrett is human, like the rest of us. Don't dismiss this book on this basis because it's a very small part of a book that overall glorifies God and reflects the love and humility of Jesus.

In summary, The Other Jesus is well worth reading.
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By Nancy Gaston on February 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Greg Garrett does a fine job of providing a fresh look at our theological assumptions. He's not polemical or confrontational, but in fact quotes good thinkers on both sides of what is often seen as a theological divide. But he's forthright in challenging some of our cultural assumptions as to what Jesus is all about. the discussion questions are excellent, and the references for each chapter are solid. This is a great book for small-group discussion.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peter M. Wallace on August 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
I found this book immensely helpful in articulating a Christian faith that, while standing in stark contrast to what many people today consider to be "Christianity," reflects clearly the essence of the life and teachings of Jesus. Get to know the real Jesus and it can change your life. This isn't a negative book in any sense--it positively opens your eyes and gives you fresh incentive to know and serve Jesus Christ. Highly recommended.
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14 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Paul A. Mastin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
In The Other Jesus, Greg Garrett writes in the tradition of Christians who have found their denominational roots too limiting, legalistic, exclusive, close-minded, and/or stifling. The problem with Garrett and other writers of his ilk is that they over-generalize the "other" Christians, creating a straw man church, and they oversimplify their own theological expressions, resulting in a nebulous, rootless theology.

He starts off by offending me and all but a few hundred Christians in Waco, by saying that in Waco "you might indeed set foot in a dozen extremely conservative Southern Baptist churches before finding a Baptist church that imagines people on a quest to work alongside God in the healing of creation," then goes on to name three churches that pass muster for him, churches where "you could begin a spiritual journey that would be meaningful and lifelong and not revolve purely around your answering an altar call to claim your salvation once and for all."

This sets the tone for the book: most Christians and most churches, especially those of more conservative persuasions, are myopic and insular. Most American Christians exemplify "a shortsighted focus on individual salvation, a disengagement from the world, a fear or hatred of those who differ from them." I know there are plenty of Christians out there who obsess over end-times, and who think that praying the sinner's prayer is all there is to the Christian life, but in my experience, including my experiences in a number of terrific Waco churches, that is not the norm.

Garrett rightly calls Christians to be more engaged with the world and more open to learning from traditions other than their own, even non-Christian traditions.
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