I hate religion, but I love Jesus.
You may remember that quote from a YouTube video which went viral a few years back. A guy named Jefferson Bethke was using the spoken word to describe something which I imagine had been on the heart of many Christians for a long time, but no one had the words (or perhaps, the guts) to say it.
While that was a fantastic video, today, my friends, I want to talk about a new book- a book SO new, in fact, that it’s not even out yet. I was very fortunate to receive a special, early copy of Jeff and Alyssa Bethke’s new book Love That Lasts, in exchange for an honest review. And so, here goes honesty…
This is a well-written, fearlessly honest book. What I love about this couple’s YouTube channel, is that they don’t shy away from controversial subjects, and this book is just the same. I mean, who would’ve thought a so called “Christian book” would talk about sex?! But they do, as well as discussing a variety of other topics, in a way that humanises Christian folks, and reminds us that even people who seem “perfect” and “pure” have dark pasts, bad thoughts, and desires. It’s a book which made me feel at ease when I was reading it; I always worry that other Christians are better than I am, or that I’m not as good, or too messed up for God to deal with. This book takes those myths and fears, and shows the reader how two very strong, faith-filled people overcame them.
“Love” as we know it today can often feel like this unattainable concept- we are bombarded with romantic comedies where the love-struck heroine is saved by the knight in shining armour, the knight who showers her in kisses and gifts and never farts in her presence. But in reality, love is more than a feeling- love is patience, and kindness, un-boastful, and so much more. Sometimes, it’s hard, and you really have to choose to love someone; you don’t give up when the going gets tough.
In all seriousness, I could rave about this book for DAYS, but I’m going to focus on the two parts which spoke to me the most. Firstly, Jeff talking about his past. He makes no secret of the fact that he wasn’t always the sweet, considerate man he is today, and it took a lot of work for him to get there. His section about dealing with a porn addiction reminds us that nobody, not even Christians, is perfect. We’re all a work-in-progress, but Jesus doesn’t come to us in our perfection- He comes to us in our brokenness. I love that reminder for the days when I’m struggling with my own sin!
My other stand out part was from Alyssa- damn, that girl can write!! She really does bare her soul in this book, and talks about something many of us struggle with- body image. I have been pretty down on myself recently, and so this came as a verrrrrrrrrrrrrry important and necessary truth for me:
“I clung to the truth that God formed me in my mother’s womb,
and I was fearfully and wonderfully made. He knew me and loved
every part of me. Every part of my body was made by Him. He
didn’t leave it to chance or look away or forget about a certain
part. No, he made each part intentionally. He wanted me to have
brown hair and green eyes. He gave me thighs that were perfect
for me, no matter what their size, so that I could hike, run, and
paddleboard. He gave me a bigger bottom because, well, I’m
sure there are other reasons, but one of them is that Jeff loves it”.
Isn’t that fantastic? The idea that all the parts about me that I hate, God loves. Next time I want to beat myself up over something I don’t like about my body, I will stand in front of the mirror and say “My _______ is meant to be like that. God designed me that way, and He thinks it’s perfect!”
I feel so honoured that I got an advanced reader’s copy of this book- it’ll be out in October, and I really suggest you read it!
Are there any similar books you guys are reading at the moment? Were you already a Bethke fan?