Saturday, May 23, 2015

Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate: Book Review

I first heard about John Thompson's book Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate: Crafting a Handmade Faith in a Mass-Market World on Phil Vischer's podcast.  Thomson talked about his love of good music and of good artisanal foods.  He spoke about something he called "twang" and how it's missing from so many mass-marketed products (music in particular) and even from some church communities.  I was so interested in what he had to say, that I immediately requested this book for review.  And I was not disappointed.

Thompson's book is one part memoir of his difficult childhood; one part exploration of different handcrafted products (bread, chocolate, beer, coffee, and music); and one part call to the church to become less mass-market driven and more Christ-filled community.  Far too often the church aligns itself with the values of the Industrial Revolution more than the life of the early church.

I found the chapters on artisanal food fascinating.  Thompson admits to being a food-snob and it would be easy to dismiss him as just another hipster Christian.  But he displays a humility of spirit and vulnerability that kept me reading and made me think.  I was particularly interested in how the manufacture of bread has changed over time.  We process all the nutrients out of dough, then inject them back in creating bread that contains nutrition but does not satisfy.  Likewise, in an effort to please the masses, we sometimes remove the grain of the gospel in order to make it easier to digest.  Then we inject a feel-good message that only fills us temporarily.  We seek a relationship with Jesus, but we settle for less that His best.

This would make a great book study and would definitely start some discussions.  Some might not like the chapter on beer, but no matter your opinion on alcohol, there are applicable lessons there too.

I received a free copy of this book from Booklook Bloggers in return for an honest review.