Man, that Jesus guy is really cool, right? I mean, He’s into the same things as us – He has the same likes, dislikes, beliefs, and He really has great hair. What’s that? That Jesus isn’t THE Jesus? Well, who’s the REAL Jesus? In his newly updated book, My Imaginary Jesus, Matt Mikalatos asks the same question.
WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS WRITING MY IMAGINARY JESUS?
I guess my main goals were “Have fun” and “say something that matters.” I was writing it without the certainty it would ever be published, so it didn’t make sense to work on it unless I was having a good time. One of my goals was to make sure that anyone who read it would laugh out loud and want to hand it off to a friend. Likewise, I didn’t want to write something without any eternal value, so I wanted to make sure that the book focused on something really key: who is Jesus, really? Do we really know him? How can we know him better?
WHAT DOES THE NEW EDITION OF THIS BOOK OFFER THAT THE ORIGINAL DIDN’T?
There’s a new cover, of course, and an introduction by David Kinnaman, the author of You Lost Me and UnChristian. We’ve also added in a discussion guide for small groups, and an interview with yours truly in the back.
WHEN MAKING UP STORIES, HOW MUCH DO YOU DRAW ON YOUR OWN LIFE EXPERIENCES AND PEOPLE YOU KNOW, VERSUS DRAWING ON RESEARCH ABOUT COMPLETE STRANGERS?
My Imaginary Jesus is largely autobiographical (which seems funny to say when you have fake Jesuses, talking donkeys and the Apostle Peter all running around in the book). Many of the questions, insights and events are from my real life. In my second book, Night of the Living Dead Christian many of the characters come more from my observations of the world and people around me rather than from my own personal life.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE READERS GET OUT OF YOUR WORK?
My greatest hope is that people will have a real encounter with Jesus through my books. Not that they would learn something about him but that they would interact with him. Also, I would like people to see that theology is and should be fun and interesting. Theology is the study of the most interesting being in the universe, and it shouldn’t be something boring… it should be one of the most interesting fields of study available to us!
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
I have a fantasy novel coming out this fall (probably in September) called The Sword of Six Worlds. You can get a sneak preview of the cover at http://www.sixworlds.com. The Imaginary Jesus stage play comes out this November in St. Louis, which I’m really thrilled about. I’m also working on a couple books I probably shouldn’t talk about too much… one is a non-fiction book about how and why we talk about Jesus, and the other is a re-telling of the stories of Jesus in modern day called Jesus In the Real World.