A writer offers a celebration of the life and teachings of Jesus set against a contemporary backdrop.
Bohlen opens his well-designed nonfiction debut with an acknowledgement of an increasingly studied new reality. The heavy use of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter almost invariably leads to a lessening of personal happiness. People, particularly the young, who view these apps excessively end up wasting time, feeling jealousy, and becoming impatient with media and books that demand longer concentration. Bohlen asserts that this “murky collection” of platforms makes people worse: “We become prideful, self-centered, and think we know better than God.” But, as the author lays out in his eloquent and inviting prose, the solution to this problem has been readily handy for 2,000 years: Christianity. “Once envisioned—no, experienced—the story of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ cannot be erased,” he writes. “Why? Because Jesus Christ adds the dimension of eternal light. In a tender, deeply satisfying way, it blows any IMAX movie experience out of the water.” In a narrative move that’s possibly quite wise considering the unprecedented rates at which young people of the “Twitter generation” are abandoning traditional religions, Bohlen largely sidelines the opening antagonist of social media and instead concentrates on celebrating the Jesus story, bringing to it a sense of passionate immediacy that makes all the elements of that narrative feel fresh. Focusing on the Nativity, he relates: “The Christ, born tonight? Generations have waited for this moment, and here it is, tonight?” In the book—which features beautiful, uncredited photographs—the author intersperses his recapitulations of New Testament stories with pedagogical insets (“Doctrinal Points to Ponder”) and explicitly instructional ones (“How It Applies to Me”). Bohlen takes readers through the famous moments of the New Testament because, as he puts it, “Jesus is the gold standard by which we can know what is good, what is wise, and what is truly important.” His Christian readers should love how he treats that gold standard.
A bracingly enthusiastic example of modern-day Christology.