“You had one job: Love” – John Pavlovitz, pg 2 (paraphrased from Matthew 22: 35-40)
I’ve been reading the work of John Pavlovitz for years. He has a fantastic blog right here on WP, which can be found by clicking on his name. I linked it!
If God is Love Don’t Be a Jerk is a book I waited for with anticipation. He is someone I seek out on social media… and I knew this book would be great. It did not disappoint!
I don’t want to take a deep dive into his history… it’s the message I want to focus on… however, I will share a couple of pertinent notes.
First, from the biography on his site:
John Pavlovitz is a writer, pastor, and activist from Wake Forest, North Carolina. A 25-year veteran in the trenches of local church ministry, John is committed to equality, diversity, and justice—both inside and outside faith communities. When not actively working for a more compassionate planet, John enjoys spending time with his family, exercising, cooking, and having time in nature. He is the author of A Bigger Table, Hope and Other Superpowers, Low, and Stuff That Needs to Be Said.
Second, he recently went through a serious health scare that included brain surgery. He hasn’t been given the “All clear” quite yet… but if the hopes and prayers of his followers and supporters count, he will!
He’s also an excellent writer and storyteller… and… um… has no problem standing up for what he believes in. What is that? In a sentence, as seen on page 169: Expanding our understanding of God and the world.
Let me also tell you what it’s NOT:
- The old white man in the sky
- Original sin
- Putting theology over people
- Hurting people in God’s name
- One path, 100%, no room for movement, differences, or diversity
If you’ve been reading ME for any length of time, you know that I don’t love talking about religion. That’s because I have a complicated relationship with all things church-y. I have no problem with God (Goddess, Universe, whatever you call a Higher Power) and have great respect for your – as in the collective – belief system (or if it’s no belief system at all).
The thing is… I DO have a belief system and it’s been years in the making. I have been a part of the most fundamental churches you can imagine… and also the member of an Episcopal church with a female priest who smoked cigarettes and was a beloved counselor, mentor and person.
As an aside, she retired and I’ve tried but haven’t been able to find her. I loved her dearly!
It is, however, the fundamental churches that I had a problem with… although… even in saying that I do have some fond memories of the community. *SOME*
That said, I am a very open minded spiritual person who has no desire to cram what I or anyone else thinks down your throat.
Same with Pavlovitz.
Therefore it was no surprise to me that I picked up this book and couldn’t put it down.
It was by no means a deep read… not because the message isn’t deep… it is! But because I love his writing and already buy into what he’s writing about. It felt almost breezy! Kind of like an extension of his blog posts… or maybe… addendum essays.
Pavlovitz has had plenty to work with over the last six years or so, what with the evangelical renaissance and a loud political voice to match.
And… that’s all I’ll say about that!
The bottom line is that his message is on point and it’s in the title of the book…
If God is love… don’t be a jerk.