Book Review: Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate: Crafting a Handmade Faith in a Mass-Market World, by John J. Thompson

Jesus, Bread, and ChocolateIn Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate: Crafting a Handmade Faith in a Mass-Market World, John J. Thompson takes the reader on his journey into artisanship through bread, chocolate, coffee, beer, gardening, and music-making. Throughout, he uses handmade vs. mass-produced as a metaphor for how we are (or are not, as the case may be) being Jesus’ disciples. A resident of East Nashville (or East Nasty [shout out to my old peeps!]) and world traveller, Thompson has had the privilege of experiencing (and being spoiled by) some of the best the handmade world has to offer. I admit, though I already make my own bread, it made me want to stop eating white bread. Will I? Probably not. It also made me want to stop using sugar and cream in my coffee. Will I? Probably not. And though I don’t drink alcoholic beverages, it even made me think about what it’d be like to try a microbrew (certainly not any of the mass-produced stuff I think smells like horse pee). The point being, it’s a good read, and I learned a lot about what it takes to make and appreciate some really beautiful things. But that’s not all: it also made me consider how I relate to my creator and others in service to the King. Of course, one may always have questions and push back against the author (he admits that there is good in the mass-produced), but if one refrains from being pulled in the direction of criticism (like that the book is mass-produced by Zondervan and not by a small publishing team that had it printed or handwritten on handmade paper or parchment!) and engages with him in the point he’s trying to make, I think it can be quite helpful. (All analogies break down at some point, but I do think potential rebuts against his handmade vs. mass-produced points often fail when attempted to be made in relation to our discipleship.)

Here’s a taste:

Christians, especially evangelicals like me, often like to pulverize the gospel into small, fine, easy-to-digest particles. But if our creed can fit on a bumper sticker, we’re doing it wrong. I believe this is a by-product of our well-intentioned and laudable desire to be understandable and relevant to our peers. In the process, however, we risk turning the Bread of Life into a Twinkie. At some point, the essence of the thing we are trying to sweeten is compromised beyond usability. This processed, refined gospel feels good going down, but when the energy buzz wears off, we are left with nothing but a headache. No white-bread gospel can satisfy the deep hunger of the human heart. (68)

Boom!

Enjoy.

 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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