If God Is Love, Don’t Be a Jerk: Finding a Faith That Makes Us Better Humans

Westminster John Knox. Sept. 2021. 238p. ISBN 9780664266844. $18. REL
With blogger, author, and pastor Pavlovitz (Hope and Other Superpowers), what you see is what you get. Fans of his Twitter account or his blog Stuff That Needs To Be Said know that he’s a progressive plain talker in his writing, religion, and politics; his latest book is no exception. Pavlovitz identifies dangerous and destructive paths that the United States has taken, particularly in the early 21st century, as the result of the union of the MAGA movement and Evangelical Christianity. Pavlovitz was raised Catholic and now identifies as a Unitarian Universalist, and he points out that by some right-wing standards, neither he nor Jesus is a Christian. With candor, the former megachurch pastor states that we can all do better; he powerfully advocates for a more equitable and loving society and emphasizes that Christians shouldn’t oversimplify or cherry-pick from Scripture in order to justify beliefs. Pavlovitz decries mistreatment of LGBTQ people, immigrants, and other marginalized groups, while exploring the purpose of prayer and the value of anger. The basic tenet of his personal and professional philosophy is “Thou shalt not be horrible.”
VERDICT Complete with a discussion guide, this is a sobering yet inspiring discourse for open-minded, thoughtful readers.
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