Many depictions of Jesus show him as a character who coolly and calmly floats above the grit and grime of human existence. He doesn't hurt, he doesn't fear, he doesn't laugh and, most tragically, he doesn't love very passionately. He seems not to feel at all. But a closer look at the Bible reveals something surprisingly different. Do Jesus's actions and teachings reveal a passionate figure who can help Christians today build a more authentic life?
"What I hope to do in this book is discover with you what we can learn from Jesus about our emotional authenticity," writes the Rev. Peter Wallace in THE PASSIONATE JESUS: What We Can Learn from Jesus about Love, Fear, Grief, Joy and Living Authentically (SkyLight Paths / January 2013 / Quality PB Original / $18.99). "Sometimes what we already 'know' about Jesus only gets in the way of our really knowing him. It is easy to be lulled by the familiar stories rather than to allow ourselves to be stimulated by the real life, full of emotions, that courses underneath the printed words of the gospels."
In this eye-opening spiritual study, Day1 radio program host Peter Wallace examines Jesus's actions as well as his teachings to uncover a passionate figure who was involved, present, connected, honest and direct with others. Through Wallace's deeply personal insights and compelling examples, readers will be encouraged to model this passionate Jesus by building personal authenticity in every area of their own lives, particularly in self-acceptance and self-expression, relationships with others and, above all, their relationship with God.
The Rev. Peter Wallace is the host and executive producer of Day1, the acclaimed ecumenical radio ministry, and the president of the parent organization, the Alliance for Christian Media, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the author of eight books, including Connected: You and God in the Psalms and Living Loved: Knowing Jesus as the Lover of Your Soul and has contributed to many books, study Bibles, lectionary resources, devotional guides, magazines, teaching curricula, and websites. He is the writer and host of a series of twenty-six video webisodes titled "What Is God Saying to You Today?" An Atlanta resident, Wallace is a postulant for holy orders in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. He maintains a website at www.petermwallace.info and blogs on HuffingtonPost.com, Patheos.com, Day1.org, Facebook, and other sites. On Twitter he is @pwallace.
THE PASSIONATE JESUS: ** What We Can Learn from Jesus about Love, Fear, ***Grief, Joy and Living Authentically*
By The Rev. Peter Wallace
"To read this book is to experience the 'off-kilter sense of deep familiarity juxtaposed by newness' which Peter Wallace winsomely finds in the Gospel accounts-and in his real, embodied, Gospel-informed life. This is ... for twenty-first-century people looking for a whole-body, whole-spirit faithfulness between the lines and within the words of the Bible."
- Krista Tippett , host/producer, On Being, American Public Media
"An illuminating and powerful personal meditation that underlines feeling and emotion as an important component of seeing and following Jesus."
- Marcus J. Borg , best-selling author, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time and Speaking Christian
"Wallace does a masterful job of pointing to the emotional-spiritual wholeness of the Word made flesh, who is clearly both fully human and fully divine. Offers hope and encouragement to every human being seeking a more holy and wholly integrated life."
- The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori , presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church; author, Gathering at God's Table: The Meaning of Mission in the Feast of Faith
"Helps open our eyes and expand our hearts to experience a new Jesus-one who feels as passionately as we do. You will not read the Gospels the same way after allowing [these] finely tuned reflections to seep into your consciousness."
- Edward L. Beck , author, God Underneath: Spiritual Memoirs of a Catholic Priest; Religion and Faith Contributor, CBS News
"By exploring Jesus's emotions, Wallace helps us to understand our own. With personal stories and deep questions at the end of each chapter, we come to know a Jesus who has all the complex emotions we do. This book is a treasure for both the introspective reader in search of inner awareness and the friendly book group in search of a more lasting intimacy with one another and with God."
- Lillian Daniel , senior minister, First Congregational Church (UCC); co-author, This Odd and Wondrous Calling
"A must-read! Wipes off the pious veneer we often layer on our familiar portraits of Jesus and introduces us to a fully realized, passionate Companion, one who can help us consider our own love, fear, anger, grief, joy ... and perhaps become more truly human in the process."
-** The Rev. Canon C. K. Robertson, PhD**, author, A Dangerous Dozen: 12 Christians Who Threatened the Status Quo but Taught Us to Live like Jesus
"Through his own courageous story, Peter Wallace shakes us from hypocrisy and pretense. He breaks us free from a proper, suitable, 'freshly shampooed' Jesus and hits us in the solar plexus with a raw, firebrand messiah. This Jesus is a true composite of humanity; a Jesus in whom each of us sees a reflection of our broken soul; a Jesus that invites us into a fully integrated life of truth, intimacy and realness. Thank you, Peter Wallace, for inspiring us to rediscover Jesus-while rediscovering ourselves."
- Rev. Susan Sparks , senior pastor, Madison Avenue Baptist Church; author, Laugh Your Way to Grace: Reclaiming the Spiritual Power of Humor
"Gives us something I didn't think possible: a truly fresh perspective on Jesus. Through this insightful exploration ... we not only learn something new about him, we can also learn how to live more authentically with our own emotions."
- Martin B. Copenhaver , senior pastor, Wellesley Congregational Church (UCC); co-author, This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers
"Eloquent ... encourages us passionately to embrace the God who has so lovingly embraced us. Jesus called us to do more than to calmly think about him, consider him, or argue the merits of his way. In loving us, he called upon us to passionately love him. Peter's book helps us to do just that."
- The Rev. Will Willimon, PhD , author and professor, Duke University Divinity School
"Masterful ... Wallace not only puts the claws back on the Lion, but adds a passionate-and compassionate-heart and soul along with it. From page to page, you find Jesus becoming more three-dimensional, more real and, frankly, more like someone you'd throw your heart and soul into following."
- Rev. Eric Elnes, PhD , senior minister, Countryside Community Church (UCC); author, The Phoenix Affirmations
"With style and grace ... takes us on a journey into a spiritual practice that is passionate, compassionate and courageous. Reminds us that a Jesus who feels deeply is our model to do the same and our truest guide to authentic life."
- Greg Garrett , author, Faithful Citizenship and The Other Jesus
THE PASSIONATE JESUS: What We Can Learn from Jesus about Love, Fear, Grief, Joy and Living Authentically (6" x 9", 208 pp, Quality PB Original, ISBN 978-1-59473-393-2, $18.99) is available from Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Indigo/Chapters, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, Day1.org, and many other booksellers, or directly from SkyLight Paths Publishing, P.O. Box 237, Woodstock, VT 05091; Tel: (802) 457-4000; Fax: (802) 457-4004; www.skylightpaths.com. Also available as an e-book.