Sunday, June 21, 2015

What If Jesus Came On Earth Again? (Fiction Book Review)

Photo by Tammy Sue
One reason why I seldom read novels, is that I only stop reading them when I reach the end. Stories can be highly fascinating and I have often stayed up until late at night (or early in the morning) just because of a book.

Every now and again I do let myself be seduced by a book. It is usually unplanned and absolutely spontaneous - a title that catches my attention in the library, at a book store or at a car boot sale.

This week I stumbled upon “Apocalypse Next Tuesday” by the German author David Safier. I live in Germany, so the copy I found was the  German original. I don’t think that I would have ever read the book in English simply because apocalypse has never interested me. However, the German title - “Jesus Loves Me”, is definitely more endearing, and made me check what the book was all about.

It discusses the “what if Jesus came again” thematic, and surprisingly (especially as it is written by a man) is in the romantic comedy genre. It is an easy and fun read that also contains touching emotional and spiritual insights. As a matter of fact, it even made me read the Sermon on the Mount again!

The main character is a milder and definitely more sensible version of Bridget Jones, who meets Joshua just a day after realizing that she cannot spend her entire life with her bridegroom: the only problem is that the realization comes while walking down the aisle in front of all guests. Joshua is Jesus just the way you know him from the New Testament. He appears as a grown man in order to fight against Satan in the upcoming Apocalypse, which is planned to take place in Jerusalem next Tuesday. However, as Archangel Gabriel has shun his immortality and chosen to live as a normal man many years before, Jesus decides to stay with him for a week and have a first-hand experience about modern life on earth. This is how he meets Marie, who immediately feels attracted to him and asks him out on a date.

Another story line I enjoyed was the beautiful relationship between Marie and her lesbian caricaturist sister and cancer sufferer Kata. Kata is another key figure in the book, because she unwittingly gets herself enlisted as one of Satan’s apocalyptic riders.

Interestingly enough, I happened to read another “what if Jesus came on Earth again” book just a few months ago - “The Second Coming” by the British journalist John Niven. In his version Jesus is born again to another unassuming virgin (who doesn't play any role in the book) and leads a rough life among homeless people and drug junkies. He has a talent for guitar-playing and singing and almost wins an American Idol/ X Factor type of reality show before running away with the money from the winner’s contract and founding a community. I found the book quite interesting but felt repulsed by the excessive usage of swear words in it.

Both books made me think about the reason behind such stories. The New Testament presents Jesus as a pure, loving, and absolutely perfect being. However, many churchgoers fail to connect wholeheartedly to him, despite accepting his teachings. Could it be that made-up stories about his second coming are an attempt to connect to him in order to love and live his principles easier?

In any way, I was surprised that a romantic comedy made me open the Bible again and gave me new inspiration to live according to Christ’s principles. Chick lit can be a good thing after all!


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