Being Jesus in Nashville Finding the Courage to Live Your Life (Whoever and Wherever You Are) by Jim Palmer – A Review by Bill Dahl

Palmer, Jim Being Jesus in Nashville Finding the Courage to Live Your Life (Whoever and Wherever You Are) iUniverse, Inc. Bloomington, IN Copyright © 2012 by Jim Palmer

God, do we need story-tellers…those who possess the peculiar talent (aka ‘burden’) to parse meaning from the site of the collision where the chaos of what is, what might be, who, when, where, how and why – lay strewn in the intersections of life.

In Unless It Moves The Human Heart – The Craft and Art of Writing,[i] Roger Rosenblatt summarizes the essence of the above in the following:

To be the writers you hope to be, you must surrender yourselves to a kind of absurdity. You must function as a displaced person in an age that contradicts all that is brave, gentle, and worthwhile in you. Every great writer has done this, in every age. You must be of every age. You must believe in heroism and nobility, just as strongly as you believe in pettiness and cowardice. You must learn to praise. Of course, you need to touch the sources of your viciousness and treachery before you rise above them. But rise you must. For all its frailty and bitterness, the human heart is worthy of your love. Love it. Have faith in it. Both you and the human heart are full of sorrow. But only one of you can speak for that sorrow and ease its burdens and make it sing – word after word after word. [ii]

It seems that every decade produces a voice, typically a displaced person, who has been enmeshed in the contradictions of life – has been throttled by its absurdities, viciousness and treachery. Yet, this voice rises above the rest. Very few writers are able to manufacture meaning out of the tumult of tension that inhabits this existence…word after word after word…book after book after book. For me, Jim Palmer’s writing has uniquely risen to occupy this characterization.

In 2006, Brian McLaren wrote in the jacket of Palmer’s first book; Divine Nobodies – Shedding Religion to Find God (and the unlikely people who help you)a unique voice – Jim Palmer could well be the next Donald Miller. In 2007, I wrote in the jacket of Palmer’s second book, Wide Open Spaces – Beyond Paint-by-Number Christianity“It is a rare achievement for any artist to follow their first work – one that remains as highly acclaimed as Divine Nobodies – with a follow-on work that is unequivocally better than the first. Jim Palmer has done it with Wide Open Spaces.” Now, in 2012, Palmer has achieved the literary trifecta with Being Jesus in Nashville Finding the Courage to Live Your Life (Whoever and Wherever You Are). Dr. Jim Henderson refers to Palmer as a prophetic voice and example that places Jesus the Servant above all and inside of which we find Jesus the Savior. This is the idea that will find traction over the next 50 years and will redefine Christianity.”

With wretched honesty and humility derived from surviving the brutality of the past four years ravaged by shame, two near-death experiences, personal bankruptcy, branded a heretic and abandoned by a major “Christian” publishing house – Jim Palmer emerges with this book: What you’re about to read is an account of how I traded in my Christianity for Jesus, and how this brought me closer to God in the end.”According to Palmer, Being Jesus in Nashville Finding the Courage to Live Your Life (Whoever and Wherever You Are) “is my last book as a Christian author.” Maybe…maybe not. One thing I know for sure: this won’t be Palmer’s last book! Why? Because he is a real writer. The acutely unique kind described by Roger Rosenblatt above. The real deal.

Let me be clear about another thing – the typical Palmer sense of humor inhabits this work as well, as evidenced in the following: If there’s one thing I’ve learned by way of writing three books, it’s that being an author is like being a cow: you’re supposed to produce. I still have nightmares of Donald Miller mooing uncontrollably in the stall next to me. Poor guy. Who knows what growth hormones they used on him.”

 In this review, I am not going to recount the DNA of each chapter or opine on Palmer’s story-telling ability – anymore than I already have.  What you have in Being Jesus in Nashville Finding the Courage to Live Your Life (Whoever and Wherever You Are)  is, in Palmer’s words, “a genuinely honest snapshot of my spiritual journey.” Quintessential Jim Palmer!

 In this book, Jim Palmer rises – again – to “function as a displaced person in an age that contradicts all that is brave, gentle, and worthwhile in you.” Like I said, Palmer has achieved the literary trifecta.

The next Donald MillerBrian McLaren or Anne LaMott?” Perhaps. Yet, Palmer’s trilogy has now legitimately earned that precious place in our daily discourse whereby one might utter the following phrase regarding the work of a uniquely gifted, aspiring story teller:

a unique voice – _____ could well be the next Jim Palmer.”

 

Note to: HarperOne, Jossey-Bass, HarperCollins, Slate, Salon.com, HuffPo etc… – this guy is a free agent!!!

Here’s a YouTube clip about the book: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcsJs641e2s


BUY THIS BOOK!!!

…and be deeply grateful you live in an era where a voice has risen above the rest…read Jim Palmer…one whose work moves the human heart….word by word by word – book by book by book.

 

NOTES:


[i] Rosenblatt, Roger Unless It Moves The Human Heart – The Craft and Art of Writing, Copyright © 2011 by Roger Rosenblatt, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY

[ii] Ibid pp. 154-155.

 

One thought on “Being Jesus in Nashville Finding the Courage to Live Your Life (Whoever and Wherever You Are) by Jim Palmer – A Review by Bill Dahl”

  1. Bill, I really look forward to reading Jim’s latest. In an age when, as we know a lot of people are shedding the old garments of ” christianity ” and finding Jesus still exists with out be propped up, or pimped up with all things ” christian.” If, ” Being Jesus in Nashville “, is anything Like Jim’s previous two we are in for a treat, but at the same time stretched, encouraged…with a huge dose of fresh air. As always Bill, thanks for your reviews.

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