Monsters Aren’t Imaginary – A CSFF Tour Special Report

Yesterday I asked if you were ready.

If you’re back today, I’m assuming you are.

The CSFF Tour is featuring a book with a very intriguing title. Night Of The Living Dead Christian.

You’d think it would be the most interesting book we’ve ever featured. However, it has to settle for a tie.

The tie is with a book called My Imaginary Jesus (known then as Imaginary Jesus), which features time travel, sledding mishaps, and talking donkeys chasing after the real Jesus among a multitude of fake ones.

Oh, and they’re both by the same warped mind: Matt Mikalatos*.

These books are unique. They are fiction, but the main character is Matt himself, inserted into a wacky world where anything can happen. They preach more than any other novel you’ll read this year, but they are so fun you won’t really notice. Matt manages to poke fun and satirize the Church, our religious goofiness, and himself whle making the reader laugh. Then the reader will be asking what kind of monster they could be.

In Night Of The Living Dead Christian, intrepid Matt is the lone Neighborhood Watchman for his street. After happening upon a mad scientist, his android sidekick, and a horde of zombies, he finally ends up doing something interesting.

He meets a Lutheran werewolf. His name: Luther Anne Martin.
Luther seems like a perfectly decent fellow. Other than he’s a Lutheran but not a Christian. He has a wife and daughter. But they’ve moved out because Luther has an itch he can’t quite scratch. At least, not in his human form.

Lycanthropes have much sharper claws with which to itch.

Matt, being the helpful fellow he is, and being stuck in his own story, tries to help Luther make a transformation for good rather than evil. Along the way they dodge well-dressed zombies, a reluctant vampire, and Matt’s pregnant wife in their quest.

Confused? Yeah, you’re just going to have to read it.

I’ll have more on the meat of the story tomorrow, but how about a fun little quiz? What type of monster would you be out of the list below? Leave a comment explaining your choice. I promise I’ll…try to think up something clever for the type that gets the most votes. [And Matt has even provided a guide to help your choice. Sweet!]

  • Vampire
  • Werewolf
  • Gargantuan
  • Mummy
  • Invisible Person
  • Mad Scientist
  • Troll
  • Robot (Androids and Cyborgs count too)
  • Sasquatches
  • Troll
  • Zombie

For even more interactive fun, Becky Miller lists all the current posts for the CSFF Tour at her website. So hurry on over and see what others are saying.

 —
*Nobody noticed my dangling asterix. When I crossed through warped in describing Matt, I realized it takes one to know one…

Monsters Aren’t Imaginary – A CSFF Tour Special Report

Yesterday I asked if you were ready.

If you’re back today, I’m assuming you are.

The CSFF Tour is featuring a book with a very intriguing title. Night Of The Living Dead Christian.

You’d think it would be the most interesting book we’ve ever featured. However, it has to settle for a tie.

The tie is with a book called My Imaginary Jesus (known then as Imaginary Jesus), which features time travel, sledding mishaps, and talking donkeys chasing after the real Jesus among a multitude of fake ones.

Oh, and they’re both by the same warped mind: Matt Mikalatos*.

These books are unique. They are fiction, but the main character is Matt himself, inserted into a wacky world where anything can happen. They preach more than any other novel you’ll read this year, but they are so fun you won’t really notice. Matt manages to poke fun and satirize the Church, our religious goofiness, and himself whle making the reader laugh. Then the reader will be asking what kind of monster they could be.

In Night Of The Living Dead Christian, intrepid Matt is the lone Neighborhood Watchman for his street. After happening upon a mad scientist, his android sidekick, and a horde of zombies, he finally ends up doing something interesting.

He meets a Lutheran werewolf. His name: Luther Anne Martin.
Luther seems like a perfectly decent fellow. Other than he’s a Lutheran but not a Christian. He has a wife and daughter. But they’ve moved out because Luther has an itch he can’t quite scratch. At least, not in his human form.

Lycanthropes have much sharper claws with which to itch.

Matt, being the helpful fellow he is, and being stuck in his own story, tries to help Luther make a transformation for good rather than evil. Along the way they dodge well-dressed zombies, a reluctant vampire, and Matt’s pregnant wife in their quest.

Confused? Yeah, you’re just going to have to read it.

I’ll have more on the meat of the story tomorrow, but how about a fun little quiz? What type of monster would you be out of the list below? Leave a comment explaining your choice. I promise I’ll…try to think up something clever for the type that gets the most votes. [And Matt has even provided a guide to help your choice. Sweet!]

  • Vampire
  • Werewolf
  • Gargantuan
  • Mummy
  • Invisible Person
  • Mad Scientist
  • Troll
  • Robot (Androids and Cyborgs count too)
  • Sasquatches
  • Troll
  • Zombie

For even more interactive fun, Becky Miller lists all the current posts for the CSFF Tour at her website. So hurry on over and see what others are saying.

 —
*Nobody noticed my dangling asterix. When I crossed through warped in describing Matt, I realized it takes one to know one…

CSFF Tour – Review of Imaginary Jesus

What, pray tell, is Imaginary Jesus?

First of all, you’ll have to check out my introductory post from yesterday. It is considered a novel by its publisher. It has a memoir-feel about it, if a memoir can have time travel and a talking donkey, along with a huge supporting cast of fake Jesuses.

I wonder a little bit how the Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy blog tour came to review it. It counts as “speculative” due to the bizarre unusual premise and the time travel aspect, I suppose. Suffice to say, it isn’t our usual fare of swords, magic, or space travel.

First, the writing. It is hard to discuss characters, as the main character is the author, Matt Mikalatos, and a plethora of Jesuses. Not your traditional novel in this aspect (I sense a theme here…). The writing is funny, quick to read, and generally quite clever. There is a patch toward the end that just gets frentic and confusing, but overall this book moves fast and fun. Again, it is a very non-traditional novel, but you can’t call it “creative non-fiction” either.

So, what about the message/theme/theology of a book that starts off with “Jesus” getting punched in the face? The whole premise is that Matt is confronted with the idea that the construct he believes is Jesus is an imaginary Jesus. This Jesus is a mash-up of ideas that makes Matt confortable. He feels chastened mildly by his Jesus, but usually this construct keeps him happy enough.

Matt has a visit by the apostle Peter who exposes this fraud, and the two chase off after the runaway Jesus. Matt is forced to confront this imaingary Jesus before he can meet the real Jesus. He takes a trip to the first century and gets a glipse of the Rabbi from Galilee. He then returns to modern day Portland, where he encounters many fake Jesuses (very creative here: Perpetually Angry Jesus, Testosterone Jesus [the Jesus of men’s retreats], and New Age Jesus are among the copies).

Finally, after confronting some tragedy in his own past, Matt pushes through all the distractions and cultural assumptions and meets the Master.

If one is to read this book, you have to realize that it is full of whimsy and satire. As someone else said in the tour, Matt never makes fun of Jesus – he is always highly respectful of the true Jesus. It distinguishes from the other Jesuses running around. It may be a little disconcerting seeing how he plays off of modern American church culture to construct these fakes, but if the reader keeps his eyes open, they should see the critique is on us Christians and how we all can create our own ideas of Jesus.

One could say it is the fun (and more theologically correct) version of The Shack. Sometimes the humor is thick enough to be distracting, but overall the message is potent. Is such humor appropriate to communicate a serious message? Mike Duran discussed this idea this week. I think the humor disarms us to allow the message to get past our defenses.

Final impressions: this is a book that takes chances. Hard to consider it a novel, but it doesn’t really fit anything else. It is an entertaining, quick read, especially if one has a sense of humor. There are some good challenges to how comfortable we get with our own Imaginary Jesuses, rather than fully seeking the Holy One of Israel, the King of Kings. George Barna even gets in on the action, having an appearance in the book and discussing our American habit of redefining Jesus.

Don’t let the back copy or cover scare you off. If you want a challenge to look at Jesus clearly, this book has a humorous poke at our sacred cows. And if you want other opinions from the CSFF crew, Becky Miller always keeps a running tab.

Special thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for supplying me with a review copy of Imaginary Jesus.

CSFF Tour – Review of Imaginary Jesus

What, pray tell, is Imaginary Jesus?

First of all, you’ll have to check out my introductory post from yesterday. It is considered a novel by its publisher. It has a memoir-feel about it, if a memoir can have time travel and a talking donkey, along with a huge supporting cast of fake Jesuses.

I wonder a little bit how the Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy blog tour came to review it. It counts as “speculative” due to the bizarre unusual premise and the time travel aspect, I suppose. Suffice to say, it isn’t our usual fare of swords, magic, or space travel.

First, the writing. It is hard to discuss characters, as the main character is the author, Matt Mikalatos, and a plethora of Jesuses. Not your traditional novel in this aspect (I sense a theme here…). The writing is funny, quick to read, and generally quite clever. There is a patch toward the end that just gets frentic and confusing, but overall this book moves fast and fun. Again, it is a very non-traditional novel, but you can’t call it “creative non-fiction” either.

So, what about the message/theme/theology of a book that starts off with “Jesus” getting punched in the face? The whole premise is that Matt is confronted with the idea that the construct he believes is Jesus is an imaginary Jesus. This Jesus is a mash-up of ideas that makes Matt confortable. He feels chastened mildly by his Jesus, but usually this construct keeps him happy enough.

Matt has a visit by the apostle Peter who exposes this fraud, and the two chase off after the runaway Jesus. Matt is forced to confront this imaingary Jesus before he can meet the real Jesus. He takes a trip to the first century and gets a glipse of the Rabbi from Galilee. He then returns to modern day Portland, where he encounters many fake Jesuses (very creative here: Perpetually Angry Jesus, Testosterone Jesus [the Jesus of men’s retreats], and New Age Jesus are among the copies).

Finally, after confronting some tragedy in his own past, Matt pushes through all the distractions and cultural assumptions and meets the Master.

If one is to read this book, you have to realize that it is full of whimsy and satire. As someone else said in the tour, Matt never makes fun of Jesus – he is always highly respectful of the true Jesus. It distinguishes from the other Jesuses running around. It may be a little disconcerting seeing how he plays off of modern American church culture to construct these fakes, but if the reader keeps his eyes open, they should see the critique is on us Christians and how we all can create our own ideas of Jesus.

One could say it is the fun (and more theologically correct) version of The Shack. Sometimes the humor is thick enough to be distracting, but overall the message is potent. Is such humor appropriate to communicate a serious message? Mike Duran discussed this idea this week. I think the humor disarms us to allow the message to get past our defenses.

Final impressions: this is a book that takes chances. Hard to consider it a novel, but it doesn’t really fit anything else. It is an entertaining, quick read, especially if one has a sense of humor. There are some good challenges to how comfortable we get with our own Imaginary Jesuses, rather than fully seeking the Holy One of Israel, the King of Kings. George Barna even gets in on the action, having an appearance in the book and discussing our American habit of redefining Jesus.

Don’t let the back copy or cover scare you off. If you want a challenge to look at Jesus clearly, this book has a humorous poke at our sacred cows. And if you want other opinions from the CSFF crew, Becky Miller always keeps a running tab.

Special thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for supplying me with a review copy of Imaginary Jesus.

“Imagine,” If You Will… (CSFF Blog Tour)

Prepare yourself. You are about to enter a blog post where anything can happen. Anything you can imagine may pop up.

A talking donkey?

Check.

A romp through space and time and Portland, Oregon?

Yup.

Jesus getting punched in the face?

Say what???

Welcome to the June edition of the Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy Blog Tour, a lively place to find some people talking passionately about speculative fiction with a Christian bent. I can promise you that this is the most interesting book we have ever talked about.

Imaginary Jesus.

This is the first book from Matt Mikalatos. I’ve interacted with Matt since the old faith*in*fiction blog days and have followed him off and on at his blog “Burning Hearts Revolution” since. His humor kept it very entertaining, as he talked about his girls’ adventures in soccer, traveling for ministry, or off-the-wall observations of life.

The last phrase is a good description of Imaginary Jesus.

It is an unusual novel, as it has a lot of autobiographical elements of Matt’s life woven through the book. In fact, he is the main character. The book starts with him hanging out at a Portland coffee shop with who he thinks is Jesus. At least, it is “his” Jesus.

When a burly fisherman type comes in and joins Matt, he is startled when the stranger accuses Jesus of not being real. This is where Jesus gets pounded in the nose.

Matt protests, but the stranger introduces himself as the apostle Peter, and he informs Matt, “I knew Jesus. That is not the real Jesus.”

From there the book takes the reader on a wild ride to discover the real Jesus. It involves time travel, talking donkeys, comic book shops, dinner with the President, and a “Houdini Dog.”

If that doesn’t pique your interest for my review tomorrow, then I may have to ask Matt to send you the Frog of Hate (TM).

If you require a little more instant gratification, check out the book’s website or my tour comrades below!

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Valerie Comer
R. L. Copple
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Leighton
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher

“Imagine,” If You Will… (CSFF Blog Tour)

Prepare yourself. You are about to enter a blog post where anything can happen. Anything you can imagine may pop up.

A talking donkey?

Check.

A romp through space and time and Portland, Oregon?

Yup.

Jesus getting punched in the face?

Say what???

Welcome to the June edition of the Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy Blog Tour, a lively place to find some people talking passionately about speculative fiction with a Christian bent. I can promise you that this is the most interesting book we have ever talked about.

Imaginary Jesus.

This is the first book from Matt Mikalatos. I’ve interacted with Matt since the old faith*in*fiction blog days and have followed him off and on at his blog “Burning Hearts Revolution” since. His humor kept it very entertaining, as he talked about his girls’ adventures in soccer, traveling for ministry, or off-the-wall observations of life.

The last phrase is a good description of Imaginary Jesus.

It is an unusual novel, as it has a lot of autobiographical elements of Matt’s life woven through the book. In fact, he is the main character. The book starts with him hanging out at a Portland coffee shop with who he thinks is Jesus. At least, it is “his” Jesus.

When a burly fisherman type comes in and joins Matt, he is startled when the stranger accuses Jesus of not being real. This is where Jesus gets pounded in the nose.

Matt protests, but the stranger introduces himself as the apostle Peter, and he informs Matt, “I knew Jesus. That is not the real Jesus.”

From there the book takes the reader on a wild ride to discover the real Jesus. It involves time travel, talking donkeys, comic book shops, dinner with the President, and a “Houdini Dog.”

If that doesn’t pique your interest for my review tomorrow, then I may have to ask Matt to send you the Frog of Hate (TM).

If you require a little more instant gratification, check out the book’s website or my tour comrades below!

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Valerie Comer
R. L. Copple
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Leighton
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher