Non-Fiction Review: Paul Rock and Bill Tammeus’ “Jesus, Pope Francis, and a Protestant Walk into a Bar”

It would seem I have a lot of bar-themed book titles this month. One of those funny coincidences that happen when you pick up a lot of books to read!

This is a book that sticks with you, that you ruminate on over and over, and that inspires conversation with those around you. The points the authors make drive deeply home, in a caring and real tone that resonates with readers from any point on the spectrum they are addressing. In short, this is a great book!

And in addition to all these points, the book also starts with the best water-into-wine joke I’ve ever heard. You have to check it out!

There were a couple of points that really spoke to me specifically. The first was about realizing and obeying our true calling. As the authors put it, “If we can’t trace what we’re doing back to love, then we’ve lost our way. We’re in the wrong boat and are fishing with faulty nets.” They pointed out that the disciples, while originally fishermen, were called to something different, and greater. And so after the crucifixion when they tried returning to fishing, their comfort zone, they didn’t catch any fish. But as the authors remind us, “God didn’t go to such great lengths to be near us in order to condemn us or shame us, but to love us.” So Jesus, when he found the disciples off-track in their calling he didn’t chastise, but teach.
Turn completely around, throw in again.
Get our of your comfort zone, get into the hard stuff of living with and for people.

That brings me to the next point that I took away from this work: “We are always blessed in order to be a blessing.” This is God’s promise to Abram in Genesis 12, that I have to admit, I had completely overlooked. This truth made me sit back in wonder, looking at all the parts of my life – all the times I’ve wanted, yet hesitated, to get involved with those around me, and seeing with clarity how much I’ve gotten in my own way. The authors say it very succinctly.
“The thing that keeps invite lists from growing and circles of inclusion from expanding is not the pressure encountered from without but the reticence, insecurities and fears from within.”

While all these points in the work are framed in the premise of Catholics and Protestants understanding one another and working together to reach the world for Christ, the ideas can be applied to other themes as well. This book is well worth a second or third read, to dig out all the truths and application therein.

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley.

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2 thoughts on “Non-Fiction Review: Paul Rock and Bill Tammeus’ “Jesus, Pope Francis, and a Protestant Walk into a Bar”

  1. What you read in this wonderful book is what we actually experience in our faith community at Second Presbyterian Church. Its so good to know that the love shines through the authors’ words.

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