To be entirely honest I’m a bit flummoxed by this book. The Bad Habits of Jesus by Leonard Sweet is not the book I’d hoped for and was so much worse than I imagined it could be. I struggled all the way through this one. From the ADHD style of writing to the obsession with alliteration, I had a difficult time figuring out what the book was actually supposed to be about. I admit that the title grabbed my attention and I wondered where Sweet would go with it, but I was truly disappointed with the book.
Each chapter focuses (sort of) on a “bad habit” of Jesus, which is really just something Jesus did or didn’t do that was different than the norm. I was particularly annoyed by the chapter about how Jesus spit. As I read it I wondered if I was just missing the joke or the angle entirely. It felt a bit tongue in cheek, but in a way that rode the line between annoying and actually funny. See, that’s the problem, I’m not sure the author was trying to be funny. But to spend an entire chapter about how Jesus was always disappearing and how rude that was, but how we should emulate him because he’s Jesus was confusing at best and at the very least felt contrived and pointless. I kept waiting for some profound truth to be dropped, but sadly, none ever was. Yes, Jesus wasn’t what they expected. Yes, Jesus did things differently than the people of the time. Yes, Jesus had different priorities than the people around him. Did I need to read an entire book about these three pretty obvious ideas? Nope.
I’ve read so many books this year that were so far superior in quality of writing that The Bad Habits of Jesus was a severe disappointment for me. Dr. Sweet wrote in circles, very rarely coming to any sort of point. You know how preachers like to start every point of their sermon with the same letter (to make it easier to remember maybe)? Sweet did that throughout the whole book – used multiple words with the same beginning letter. I assume it is the way he teaches, but I found it really annoying. It felt super cheesy, like this one: “Solitude is not solo time but soul time with God.” (p47)
I very much wanted to like this book. I believe the intentions were good, but the writing is sub-par and it felt like the author’s purposes could have been captured in a much shorter article, rather than an entire book of random ramblings. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this book.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.