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Publisher's Summary

Abandon dead, dry, rule-keeping and embrace the promise of being truly known and deeply loved.

Jefferson Bethke burst into the cultural conversation in 2012 with a passionate, provocative poem titled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” The four-minute video of Bethke’s spoken-word performance literally became an overnight sensation, with seven million YouTube views in its first forty-eight hours (and 24+ million within a year). The message hit like a blizzard on social-media sites and in forwarded e-mails, triggering an avalanche of responses running the gamut from encouraged to enraged.

In Jesus > Religion, Bethke unpacks the stark contrasts that he drew in the poem - contrasts between teeth gritting and grace, law and love, performance and peace, despair and hope. With refreshing candor, he delves into the motivation behind his message, beginning with the unvarnished tale of his own plunge from the pinnacle of a works-based, fake-smile existence that sapped his strength and led him down a path of destructive behavior.

Bethke is quick to acknowledge that he’s not a pastor or theologian, but simply a regular, twenty-something, soul-starved searcher who cried out for a life greater than the one for which he had settled. Along his journey, Bethke discovered the real Jesus, who beckoned him beyond the props of false religion.

©2013 Thomas Nelson (P)2013 Thomas Nelson

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Life Changing

Any additional comments?

This book is life changing. I had seen Jeff's videos, and knew that he was on to something different than what I had learned growing up in a Christian home/Christian schools. I have always felt like I needed to "get right with God" before I could really be a Christian and "get into heaven". It was always about not having sex, not drinking, not cussing, etc. --and I was never good enough. Jeff's simple way of explaining the grace of God has completely changed the way I see God and how I want to live my life. I will continue to listen to this book over and over, it has sparked a new desire within me to seek God.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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A must listen for all people.

This book is a breakthrough in Christian living books. I know it changed my life and saved my beliefs. I was looking at Christianity all wrong. It's not what you can do for Christ, it's what He did for you. You only need one thing on your heavenly resume and that is "I believe". If you've been a follower of Christ all your life or two minutes, listen to this book. If you don't believe in Christ, listen to this book. If you are a monkey riding a unicycle juggling bananas, listen to this book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Reestablished My Calling

What did you love best about Jesus > Religion?

His purposeful and unashamed portrayal of grace and the Gospel were riveting. After Jefferson Bethke came and spoke at Liberty University this past fall semester (fall 2013), I HAD to get his book. Truthfully, I bought this audiobook after reading the actual book, which was the first book I had read for pleasure in years, and I read the whole thing in less than two days (during the hectic beginning of my first semester of college)!
I now know what the phrase "couldn't put the book down" means!
Soon after reading this book, I re-realized my calling to be a pastor. Now I am studying the Bible intensely in college as I prepare for ministry.
This book is incredible and really helps in so many ways in your walk with Christ, and even for those seeking or curious about Christianity.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I would say that, before coming to Liberty University, I had a particularly closed mindset about homosexuality and same-sex attraction. After coming to Liberty, my mind was opened to the actual struggle that this is, and the circumstances surrounding it. Jeff Bethke awesomely establishes what homosexuality is, along with the homosexual lifestyle, and shows how we can love them like Jesus without being the mean Christians that they are used to interacting with. It really helped me in that area.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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NOT TO BE MISSED!

If you shy away from religion because you feel it's too constrictive, too damning, contradictory, judge mental, condemning, etc., you may be right! This book cuts through all that and goes directly to the matter at hand--Jesus is greater than religion; ANY religion. This guy's got it right. Everything becomes much clearer than before. Clearly a gifted individual. Thank you, Jefferson Bethke!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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helpfully enlightening.

Loved it! whether you are bogged down in the mire of religiosity or just want a reminder of how beautiful Jesus truly is this is a fantastic book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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No other words, but simply amazing!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely. Not only is Jefferson amazing to listen to, but his story and testament is one that should be heard by all. His break down of the love of Jesus and how it applies to all of us, is phenomenal. It's easy to understand, to get, to relate to. This book is a great way to start the conversation and to share the gospel. For new and old Christians alike.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Jesus > Religion?

Every part of it! He was able to verbalize my views on homosexuality and basically my entire world view. He gets it. Finally a person that isn't bogged down by the ties of religion.

Have you listened to any of Jefferson Bethke’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Only book he has. I've listened to many of his spoken words on YouTube. He has amazing presence.

Any additional comments?

Amazing book. I hope Jeff continues to share his story and his thoughts. As long as he stays true and continues to preach the love of Jesus, I will continue to support him through the purchasing of his books.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Pretty good book (but author isn't a great reader)

I probably would've enjoyed the printed book more than the audiobook. The content is good, but the author's reading was awkward to me - I kept repeating sentences in my head how I thought it SHOULD have been said.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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a wonderful book it's for everyone

I would recommend this book to anyone that has Faith or is new to having faith or does not have faith at all to get a better understanding of what true love is from our Lord and what we should share with others. a definite mustered. his analogy with a broken hand and they healed foot criticizing it made me really open my eyes to myself on how I treat others and judge others something that I work on every day.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Insightful.

Thank you for this book, Jeff. And thank you for your candor. I will have to buy the print book. I had too many AHA moments that need revisiting, and that's not easy to do with an audiobook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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This book really opened my eyes and heart!

I really enjoyed listening to this book! I know that I will keep relistening to it because Jeff talks about things that you normally do not think about. I definitely learned a lot from this book. I definitely recommend it to every one, Christians and non-Christians!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Abby Prince
  • 10-19-16

sensational

This book by Jefferson offers a true reflection of what following christ is and should look like.

Amazing book, was completely gripped by it. moving onto his next book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ayanda
  • 04-23-16

Inspiring!

Inspiring stories that were very applicable to everyday life. Brilliant book! Will definitely listen to it again!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • mark tracey
  • 03-29-15

buy it !

as a new christian this book spoke to my heart , amazing listening. always struggled with religion absolutely love jesus .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • 02-17-15

wow! what a book! you are a inspiration Jefferson.

I really lovedit. Thank you for honesty,you've giving me so much hope. Stay blessed Jefferson.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Charlotte
  • 12-31-16

love it!

this is such an amazing book! it has helped me so much in my faith and it's a great book for every one just to see a different point of view . Thanx so much for the book Jefferson!

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  • Josh
  • 12-07-15

Mate, hit the nail right on the head.

Gonna have to read this one again with a pen and paper next to me. So much to take in, so much to think about, so much to change about me living for jesus.

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  • Annie
  • 09-15-15

great read for any age seeking truth

Loved the book, the author reading it, the humour and the honesty. It's a timeless book and great gift.

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  • Shem
  • 03-31-15

Very good

Very insightful and encouraging words towards faith and Jesus for the 21st century believer. Awesome