Updated: Aug 2, 2019
By Nadim Nassar
The Syrian Jesus: Reading the Divine Mind, Sailing into the Divine Heart
Blog by Josie Child
Over the past two months (or perhaps two years since Nadim started writing the book!), here at the Awareness Foundation we have been living and breathing The Culture of God. Published on 6th September by Hodder Faith, it has brought an exciting whirlwind of praise and attention from both the secular and religious media.
The Culture of God has a strong personality. It is a cocktail of genres; a dash of theology, a glug of autobiography, finished off with a liberal dusting of old-fashioned storytelling. What it is (thankfully) not is an exegesis – it’s much more personal than that. There is a lot of the author within its pages, from the passionate and conversational delivery, down to the multi-cultural touch points and anecdotes.
The book has stirred up a lot of questions, mostly from other Christians. How can God, who is beyond space and time, exist in a culture? How can Jesus have been Syrian if he was born in Bethlehem, and grew up in Nazareth? How can you say that the Church is afraid to talk about the Trinity? Just like the author himself, the book swims firmly against the current of popular Christian thought and isn’t afraid to step out of the Christian comfort zone.
Nadim makes it clear that what Jesus brought to the world was radically different from anything that humanity could offer. As he says, ‘the point of the Incarnation is God saying to us all, ‘I think differently, and I want to share this with you! God is shockingly different’. This was my big takeaway from reading the book. God is not humanity’s best idea, but someone infinitely more amazing and perfect than our limited perspectives can grasp.
We can be so dogmatic about the how, where, and what of Christianity. Living out God’s divine culture of love here on earth can be a challenge with so many competing opinions about what that looks like. But it really is so simple when we return to the way that Jesus loved people – really loved people – and strive to do the same.
You can watch my interview with Nadim, where we delve deeper into the subject of the book, here: