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"Into a country divided by partisan politics, into a world turn by hatred and war, at a time when it seems that everyone and no one has a solution to the problems that plague humankind, there suddenly appears someone who can rise above the madness, someone with knowledge and power, someone with a finely tuned sense of the ridiculous - someone, in short, who can make it rig "Into a country divided by partisan politics, into a world turn by hatred and war, at a time when it seems that everyone and no one has a solution to the problems that plague humankind, there suddenly appears someone who can rise above the madness, someone with knowledge and power, someone with a finely tuned sense of the ridiculous - someone, in short, who can make it right. And thus we finally have an answer to the long-simmering question, "What would Jesus do?"" "Roland Merullo's novel American Savior posits an inspired "what if" scenario: What if Jesus, alarmed at how the earth's most powerful nation has lost its spiritual footing and dismayed at how His own teachings have been distorted - used by politicians and religious zealots to turn love into hatred and faith into a call to arms - returns and announces that he is running for President of the United States? What if He becomes a third-party candidate, is heralded as the Son of God, and not only threatens to disrupt the status quo but poses a serious threat to the already established Democratic and Republican candidates? What would happen? How would the media react? And, more important, how would we react?" "Narrated by a more than slightly cynical young TV reporter, American Savior puts the reader inside the campaign waged by what is quickly dubbed the Divinity Party and follows Jesus and his modern-day disciples as they travel across the nation making speeches, reaching out to the people, and in the process arousing the ire of those who believe they know God, and who know, most assuredly, that this is not He." By turns amusing and heartbreaking, affirming and disturbing, American Savior is a novel sure to createcontroversy among those for whom self-righteousness is its own religion. Holding up a mirror to our society and the world in which we live, it is a passionate and penetrating look at the America that is and the America that could be.


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"Into a country divided by partisan politics, into a world turn by hatred and war, at a time when it seems that everyone and no one has a solution to the problems that plague humankind, there suddenly appears someone who can rise above the madness, someone with knowledge and power, someone with a finely tuned sense of the ridiculous - someone, in short, who can make it rig "Into a country divided by partisan politics, into a world turn by hatred and war, at a time when it seems that everyone and no one has a solution to the problems that plague humankind, there suddenly appears someone who can rise above the madness, someone with knowledge and power, someone with a finely tuned sense of the ridiculous - someone, in short, who can make it right. And thus we finally have an answer to the long-simmering question, "What would Jesus do?"" "Roland Merullo's novel American Savior posits an inspired "what if" scenario: What if Jesus, alarmed at how the earth's most powerful nation has lost its spiritual footing and dismayed at how His own teachings have been distorted - used by politicians and religious zealots to turn love into hatred and faith into a call to arms - returns and announces that he is running for President of the United States? What if He becomes a third-party candidate, is heralded as the Son of God, and not only threatens to disrupt the status quo but poses a serious threat to the already established Democratic and Republican candidates? What would happen? How would the media react? And, more important, how would we react?" "Narrated by a more than slightly cynical young TV reporter, American Savior puts the reader inside the campaign waged by what is quickly dubbed the Divinity Party and follows Jesus and his modern-day disciples as they travel across the nation making speeches, reaching out to the people, and in the process arousing the ire of those who believe they know God, and who know, most assuredly, that this is not He." By turns amusing and heartbreaking, affirming and disturbing, American Savior is a novel sure to createcontroversy among those for whom self-righteousness is its own religion. Holding up a mirror to our society and the world in which we live, it is a passionate and penetrating look at the America that is and the America that could be.

30 review for American Savior: A Novel of Divine Politics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Jesus Christ has come back and he is running for President of the U.S. This book taught me more about religion than most religion books and more about politics than any book I've read on politics. And it did all this while weaving a tale that was both exciting and at times funny. I knew where the author was heading in this story, but I got a bunch of delightful surprises along the way. This is the perfect book to read in the midst of all our religious and political craziness. Jesus Christ has come back and he is running for President of the U.S. This book taught me more about religion than most religion books and more about politics than any book I've read on politics. And it did all this while weaving a tale that was both exciting and at times funny. I knew where the author was heading in this story, but I got a bunch of delightful surprises along the way. This is the perfect book to read in the midst of all our religious and political craziness.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karol

    Ummm ... an interesting read. I agree with Patty who said that there were some things in the book that bugged her. I felt the same way . . . and if there were half stars on Goodreads I'd give a 4 1/2. One of the criteria for me in giving a book 5 stars is whether I would want to pick it up and read it again. And with this book, I would. The novel was readable, and somewhat predictable. Yet, it made me expand my thinking. I was initially offended at some of the personal things Jesus knew about and Ummm ... an interesting read. I agree with Patty who said that there were some things in the book that bugged her. I felt the same way . . . and if there were half stars on Goodreads I'd give a 4 1/2. One of the criteria for me in giving a book 5 stars is whether I would want to pick it up and read it again. And with this book, I would. The novel was readable, and somewhat predictable. Yet, it made me expand my thinking. I was initially offended at some of the personal things Jesus knew about and commented upon - and yet, if He is God, He certainly would know these things! Why is it that I would think anything I considered private would not be known to Him? The novel made me expand my thinking on some political issues, too. As someone who avidly watches local and national politics, it was a perfect time to read this story. It clearly shows what's wrong with our political system and our media in a way that made me laugh out loud a time or two. And yet it showed deep compassion for the things that make us people. Also, between the focus on Sarah Palin's youngest child and the character of "Stab" in this book, I'm finding I'm changing my thinking about people with special needs. (Less pity, and more acceptance from me). Still, I can't buy the premise of Jesus running for president of the U.S. But it did make for an entertaining read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ron Charles

    Given the fawning coverage of Barack Obama during this election season, a story about Jesus Christ coming back to Earth and running for president seems almost redundant. But American Savior is blessed with enough gentle humor to keep this "novel of divine politics" fresh and even a little inspiring. The author, Roland Merullo, is developing something of a specialty in comic fiction with religious overtones or, if you prefer, religious fiction with comic overtones. In a previous novel, Breakfast Given the fawning coverage of Barack Obama during this election season, a story about Jesus Christ coming back to Earth and running for president seems almost redundant. But American Savior is blessed with enough gentle humor to keep this "novel of divine politics" fresh and even a little inspiring. The author, Roland Merullo, is developing something of a specialty in comic fiction with religious overtones or, if you prefer, religious fiction with comic overtones. In a previous novel, Breakfast with Buddha, a publishing executive drives across America with a Mongolian monk; enlightenment ensues. And before that, Merullo published Golfing with God, about a golf pro in heaven trying to pull the Big Guy's game out of a slump. The set-up for American Savior sounds like the answer to a satirist's prayer, but the story never rips into our political system with the kind of bitterness you might expect. The narrator, Russ Thomas, is an affable TV reporter for a local station in western Massachusetts. He opens the novel by telling us, "My whole way of looking at life was turned upside down." He knows we'll be skeptical (he was skeptical at first, too), but he goes on to tell us about the man who called himself Jesus and ran for president of the United States. It all starts after Russ covers a few local miracles for the news. He meets someone at a coffee shop who he assumes is a crackpot. Jesus wants Russ and his girlfriend to quit their jobs and join his campaign for the presidency. "I'm going to do things differently this time," he explains. "Last time I wasn't entirely happy with the way it worked out. To be frank, it took hundreds of years for what I did to have much impact on the world, and by then things were so muddled. . . . Well, you people have never really recovered. Look at the Middle East." After considerable soul-searching, Russ is convinced -- sort of -- that this man is the Son of God. He joins the budding presidential campaign and brings along a ragtag group of friends and relatives, including his Roman Catholic mother and his Jewish father, who's sick and tired of all these Jesus freaks but, heck, family is family. Although they know no more about winning a national election than those fishermen knew about saving humanity 2,000 years ago, they have faith. They'll need it: November is just five months away. An adviser warns Jesus: "You're going to be seen as a Jesus-Come-Lately, if you want the harsh truth." Much of the light comedy here arises from Jesus's straight-faced goodness amid the grimy mechanics of campaigning, polling and dealing with the media. When asked about the Divine Party's platform, Jesus tells his staff, "I'm running on the beatitudes." "They'll hammer you on national defense." "It would not be the first time," Jesus says. If you know the Gospels, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Jesus is a pretty savvy campaigner. The novel follows the broad outlines of the Greatest Story Ever Told but with more TV commentary. Multitudes attend Jesus's announcement rally. He arrives in a black Hummer, guarded by biker-gangsters. "You are a nation in grave spiritual danger," he tells 60,000 people -- voters, protesters and fanatics. "I cannot say I will cut your taxes and raise your salaries. What I can say is that you will have a nation based on kindness and goodness." The crowd goes wild: "Jee-zus! Jee-zus! JEE-ZUS!" Merullo spends most of his satiric capital on the news media, including appearances by thinly disguised commentators you won't have any trouble recognizing, like "Jim Wearer," "Lenny Queen" and a particularly vicious beauty named Anne Canter. (On "Meet the Media," George Bill quotes from the New Testament.) The Democratic and Republican candidates aren't quite sure how to respond to this unusual opponent, but their minions quickly go negative. The Washington Times runs a front page photo of Jesus embracing a boy with Down syndrome: "So-called Jesus Candidate Revealed To Be Gay. Former Homosexual Lover Admits to Five-Month Affair." Rather than deny those allegations, Jesus counters with a brilliantly staged stop at the West Edfort rodeo in New Mexico. He's a man's man. The next morning the Amarillo Chronicle cheers: "Candidate Christ Takes Bull By Horns." Merullo was born and raised a Roman Catholic in Boston, but his recent novels are decidedly ecumenical, with a sparkly touch of New Age spirituality. The Jesus of American Savior should be familiar to liberal Protestants who grew up thinking Jonathan Livingston Seagull was, like, really profound. (Guilty.) His theology is a brand of sweet Christian Gnosticism: "We are locked in a dream," he tells his campaign staff. Through many lives, we learn dominion over the "thought-force." He's hunky and hip and all about tolerance, like a Unitarian porn star. And please, don't call him "Lord"; he hates that. "For the record," he says, "I never came to be worshipped, not the first time and not this time. I came to be emulated." The only people Jesus is really against, in fact, are evangelical Christians and conservative politicians, who, if they read this novel, will have to keep turning the other cheek again and again. It's fun to imagine what would happen if a noble candidate threw caution to the wind and ran on a platform of universal kindness that appealed to our higher nature. Unfortunately, this Jesus's statements never strike the startling, iconoclastic note we hear in the Gospels. Instead, American Savior is at its best when Russ is wrestling with his conscience, trying to fathom how the election experience changed him, blessed him. Merullo knows what he's talking about. Before he started writing novels, he was a carpenter. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/20...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ted

    If Jesus were elected POTUS, WWJD? I found the novel entertaining and a good read. Is the Jesus he presents, Jesus as I believe Him to be or as the Orthodox Church proclaims? No, but it is fun to think about how Jesus might interact with the modern political world and deal with contemporary American debates.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    Won this as a First Reads- It's so awesome to have a book with "Advanced Copy- Not For Sale" printed on it! Thanks! **************** When I first began this book, I had a hard time getting Christopher Moore's Josh (Jesus)character out of my head. I will admit that the Jesus of American Savior didn't immediately strike me as much as the Jesus of Lamb. However, after a few chapters, I was able to put that aside and begin to enjoy this book. This is a story that chronicles a presidential run by none o Won this as a First Reads- It's so awesome to have a book with "Advanced Copy- Not For Sale" printed on it! Thanks! **************** When I first began this book, I had a hard time getting Christopher Moore's Josh (Jesus)character out of my head. I will admit that the Jesus of American Savior didn't immediately strike me as much as the Jesus of Lamb. However, after a few chapters, I was able to put that aside and begin to enjoy this book. This is a story that chronicles a presidential run by none other than Jesus Christ. One reason that I liked it so much is that the politics of the book were more or less politics I could agree with. I imagine that there are quite a few people who would disagree with Merullo's Jesus' take on abortion: he had no position because abortion is neither right nor wrong. I think that if the historical Jesus came back to run for President, it would be much like this book: half of the country embracing him and half (including the religious right) eschewing him as a crazy liberal hippy. I think what this book spoke to me the most about was my desire to see a politician who 1) really wants to make things better and 2) wants to involve everyone, regardless of race, class, creed or religion in the discussion of how to do that. *sigh* Anyway, it was a humorous book that was extremely topical. Identifying the thinly veiled newscasters was a lot of fun. One thing that I really appriciated was that this book wasn't preachy, Jesus wasn't constantly telling people to go to church and as a matter of fact, never even promoted Christianity as a religion. The last scene between Jesus and the narrator, while predictable, I found to be very touching. Oh, and in full disclosure- one scene involves Jesus giving a stump speech in a "pretty little college town named Kearney." Kearney actually was my pretty little college town, so I got a huge kick out of that. Go Lopers!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    I went back and forth between 3 and 4 stars for this novel. It is the story of Jesus Christ (yes, THAT Jesus Christ) returning to earth in a small town in Massachusetts sometime around 2008-2012. After performing a few miracles and coming to the attention of the media, he decides to run for President of the United States. He chooses his staff (apostles?) from ordinary folks and as in the Gospels, he just tells them to leave their jobs and work for him. He has a motley crew of people running his I went back and forth between 3 and 4 stars for this novel. It is the story of Jesus Christ (yes, THAT Jesus Christ) returning to earth in a small town in Massachusetts sometime around 2008-2012. After performing a few miracles and coming to the attention of the media, he decides to run for President of the United States. He chooses his staff (apostles?) from ordinary folks and as in the Gospels, he just tells them to leave their jobs and work for him. He has a motley crew of people running his campaign, including a cynical and doubting TV anchorman along with his Jewish father, Catholic mother and brother with Down Syndrome, a psychologist, a drug-using gang member, and other misfit characters. Jesus runs on a platform of returning the US to a place where kindness replaces cruelty, generosity replaces greed, and truth replaces lies. He talks about issues of abortion, war, healthcare, the economy – everything a candidate would talk about. The cheesiness and clichés come in with the media people he meets. He is interviewed by Lenny Queen (Larry King?), and Ann Canter (Ann Coulter?) is constantly railing about what an imposter he is. There are numerous other news people and media and movie stars with similar names. I won’t even begin to try to remember how to spell the take-off on George Stephanopoulos. There were some truly funny moments in this book and some truly inspirational moments, but also some that made me groan. No, Jesus did not wear sandals and robes, but he did take walks in the desert, order Indian food and then wash a few feet, and ride a bull in a rodeo. In short, the book is a satire on the life of Jesus as it would be in the 2000’s.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lucy McCoskey

    6 stars--they left one off what if Jesus ran for President? a depiction of American politics, religion, and the state of mankind interspersed with spiritual lessons this would be great for book clubs as a lot of thoughtful discussion should result from reading this

  8. 4 out of 5

    glynis

    Fantastic!!!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    The Second Coming has occurred. Jesus Christ now lives in the US...and is running for president. He assembles his campaign staff from a small town, including Russ, a local news network reporter and his therapist fiancee, Zelda, along with Russ's parents and brother with Down Syndrome. Also joining the campaign are Russ's former boss and his wife, and families who have been touched by Christ through life-saving miracles affecting their children -- the Simmeltons, whose daughter was saved by Jesus The Second Coming has occurred. Jesus Christ now lives in the US...and is running for president. He assembles his campaign staff from a small town, including Russ, a local news network reporter and his therapist fiancee, Zelda, along with Russ's parents and brother with Down Syndrome. Also joining the campaign are Russ's former boss and his wife, and families who have been touched by Christ through life-saving miracles affecting their children -- the Simmeltons, whose daughter was saved by Jesus, and Dukey and his baby-mama Ada, whose son was brought back to life following an accident. The campaign plays out in less-than-typical fashion, with Jesus mounting his campaign with only two weeks to go until Election Day. He chooses as his running mate his Native American mother. He campaigns on the basis of making America kinder, gentler, a better world leader. And the tension mounts as the campaign moves closer to voting day. The story is sometimes humorous, always consistent and entertaining. The characters are interesting, and I cared about all of them. It follows a familiar path, and has a somewhat predictable ending. All in all, though, it's a fun, uplifting tale.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I have enjoyed every book I have ever read by Roland Merullo. His style of writing and subject matter of every day life is something with which I can identify. American Savior is no exception. With great imagination and forethought, he fictionalizes a world gone sour and a savior who comes to help us all out of our quagmire. And in realistic fashion, as happened before, long ago, the savior is rejected and doubted by many. Merullo's depiction of our modern society is so point-on that I had to lo I have enjoyed every book I have ever read by Roland Merullo. His style of writing and subject matter of every day life is something with which I can identify. American Savior is no exception. With great imagination and forethought, he fictionalizes a world gone sour and a savior who comes to help us all out of our quagmire. And in realistic fashion, as happened before, long ago, the savior is rejected and doubted by many. Merullo's depiction of our modern society is so point-on that I had to look to check when it was written. It was 2008. Amazing, as I thought he was describing American today, 2017. I guess our unrest, divisiveness and lower moral standards have been going on longer that I realized.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brooke Jones

    Roland Merullo's writing is causing me to exhaust my supply of superlatives! You've probably heard the song "What If God Was One Of Us" (it was used as the theme song of the former network TV Show, "Joan Of Arcadia"). If you overlook the grammatical error in the song's title, and just open your heart to the "What If" of it, the next thing you SHOULD do is read Roland Merullo's breathtaking "What If" novel, "AMERICAN SAVIOR: A Novel of Divine Politics". I could go on and on about this book's Divi Roland Merullo's writing is causing me to exhaust my supply of superlatives! You've probably heard the song "What If God Was One Of Us" (it was used as the theme song of the former network TV Show, "Joan Of Arcadia"). If you overlook the grammatical error in the song's title, and just open your heart to the "What If" of it, the next thing you SHOULD do is read Roland Merullo's breathtaking "What If" novel, "AMERICAN SAVIOR: A Novel of Divine Politics". I could go on and on about this book's Divinely inspired storyline and Merullo's pitch-perfect writing, but, frankly, I'd rather settle back and read it again, for the 4th time!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I enjoyed this book from page one and would recommend it to anyone looking for inspiration regarding how American elections could be radically different. The story line was surprisingly believable and the characters were engaging. There's also some unexpected commentary on what it takes to live a good life (surprise: it isn't church). That being said and on this day of all days ever, it turns out that even if Jesus Christ runs for president, it all ends in tragedy. I enjoyed this book from page one and would recommend it to anyone looking for inspiration regarding how American elections could be radically different. The story line was surprisingly believable and the characters were engaging. There's also some unexpected commentary on what it takes to live a good life (surprise: it isn't church). That being said and on this day of all days ever, it turns out that even if Jesus Christ runs for president, it all ends in tragedy.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paul Nimon

    An interesting take on the gospel of Jesus as told from a modern day election campaign in America. Clever and interesting, but not terribly deep or emotionally investing. Some might find issue with some of the religious liberties taken by the author on some deeper theological discussions. Still, an enjoyable experience overall.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Terry Croyle

    Contains the same common sense wisdom of peace, love, and tolerance that we have come to expect with this author. I thought the thinly disguised personal attacks on contemporary media was petty, whether or not one agrees with the portrayal. But, in the end, very glad to have read it and to have discovered Merullo.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jerry Peace

    To paraphrase a George Bernard Shaw quote (which was eloquently paraphrased by John, Bobby and Teddy Kennedy)- Some books look around and say "Why?" while Merullo's dreams what is not and asks,"Why not?" To paraphrase a George Bernard Shaw quote (which was eloquently paraphrased by John, Bobby and Teddy Kennedy)- Some books look around and say "Why?" while Merullo's dreams what is not and asks,"Why not?"

  16. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    A book that made me think alot. Scary that the issues presented in a book written in 2008 mirror our troubled world today.

  17. 5 out of 5

    db

    Jesus comes back and runs for office. I liked parts of this book, other parts made me jump out of the book and say, “no way.” So it was jolting.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rena

    Enjoyed the ride, but really wanted a different ending.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Intriguing concept; satire with a somewhat different message than I expected.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marvin

    This lightweight, modestly entertaining novel missed the mark for me. In it, Jesus comes back to the U.S. in the near future to run for president & gathers a group of everyday people to staff his campaign & to teach life's lessons. It's not witty enough to work as satire, & it takes itself too seriously but is too naive & unbelievable to pull off any serious theology or politics. Jesus teaches a bland, New Agey, "Oh, God" style of theology, reassuring his followers that they just need to take re This lightweight, modestly entertaining novel missed the mark for me. In it, Jesus comes back to the U.S. in the near future to run for president & gathers a group of everyday people to staff his campaign & to teach life's lessons. It's not witty enough to work as satire, & it takes itself too seriously but is too naive & unbelievable to pull off any serious theology or politics. Jesus teaches a bland, New Agey, "Oh, God" style of theology, reassuring his followers that they just need to take responsibility for making the world a better place. ("It was amost as if he were simultaneously running for national office and conducting a private seminar in spiritual healing." (200) And somehow I think Jesus would be much more radical than the candidate we see here riding around in limos, wearing Armani suits, riding bulls, & surfing. "Jesus went out and bought a gorgeous black Armani suit and other clothes, tossing money around Manhattan like a rap star. Shined shoes, off-white shirt open at the collar, the Armani, the great haircut, the cheekbones, the smile. If Jesus didn't look like God when he sat down opposite Bobby Biggs, nobody did." (245) Yuck! And the attempts at satire strike me as something like my feeble high school attempts at satire. Late in the campaign, staffers appear on TV & radio talk shows: The Jim Weavers News Hour, the Lenny Queen Show, the Harry Linneament Radio Show (a conservative who's been divorced multiple times & has a drug problem), a panel show with Roger Popopoffolous, Anne Canter, and Corker Lobbits ("who I thought was the prettiest mature woman on television and who'd switched over from public radio years before because the money was better and she was no fool"), the Bulf Spritzer Hour, and Bobby Biggs's Meet the Media. Not very imaginative. Furthermore, there are so many foreshadowings of the ending that I thought surely the author must have a surprise twist in store for us, but, no, it ends just as we think it will. Some will undoubtedly appreciate the alternative political vision Jesus represents here, but I longed for it to tip one way or the other--either more believable as a viable alternative religious and political vision or much sharper as satire.

  21. 4 out of 5

    G.d. Brennan

    "American Savior" is an intriguing book because of the tension inherent in its premise--Jesus returning to earth not in judgment, but to be judged, by the American people, as a candidate for president. There's something inherently un-Christian about all politics. Red state or blue, left or right, all politicians have to reward their friends and punish their enemies. They have to do good in order to be seen; they have to cozy up to the powerful and ignore the powerless, even if they pretend otherw "American Savior" is an intriguing book because of the tension inherent in its premise--Jesus returning to earth not in judgment, but to be judged, by the American people, as a candidate for president. There's something inherently un-Christian about all politics. Red state or blue, left or right, all politicians have to reward their friends and punish their enemies. They have to do good in order to be seen; they have to cozy up to the powerful and ignore the powerless, even if they pretend otherwise. And they need people willing and able to do harm on their behalf, even if only to protect them; as Chairman Mao famously said, "Political power flows from the barrel of a gun." Merullo's book is fun and bright and breezy as it sets itself up, and it offers some genuinely funny and touching moments along the way. Unfortunately, when it comes time to truly face these contradictions, he shies away. Worse yet, he takes sides. His Jesus is decidedly a blue-state Jesus--a yoga student and avid surfer and open-minded philosopher, not, say, a humble small-town carpenter with traditional values. (There's nothing wrong with open-mindedness, mind you, but Merullo's Jesus calls to mind one comedian's definition of a liberal--a person so open-minded he can't take his own side in an argument.) That's not to say the Right is right, either; Merullo rightly skewers the subordination of church to state that characterized much of Republican politics over the past eight years. But it feels like beating a dead horse, and his Jesus sometimes feels like a stalking horse for his own philosophies, rather than the real thing. What Merullo misses is what most people on both sides miss--the real Jesus simply had no desire for worldly power, even as a vehicle to get people to think about the world differently. The real Jesus didn't try to co-opt the machinery of state; the real Jesus allowed himself to be crushed by it, while leaving behind something that would outlast it--a religion whose relation to political power can be encapsulated in a simple statement made to Pilate: "My kingdom is not of this world."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kathy (Bermudaonion)

    Russ Thomas is a reporter for WZIZ, a TV station in Massachusetts, when he is sent to report on the story of a young child who had fallen three stories, seemed dead, and came back to life when a stranger came up and touched him. Others were calling it a miracle, but Russ remained skeptical. Later, he's sent to a hospital where the same stranger has visited a young girl and seemingly cured her of a chronic illness. The stranger becomes known as "The Good Visitor," and he turns out to be Jesus Chri Russ Thomas is a reporter for WZIZ, a TV station in Massachusetts, when he is sent to report on the story of a young child who had fallen three stories, seemed dead, and came back to life when a stranger came up and touched him. Others were calling it a miracle, but Russ remained skeptical. Later, he's sent to a hospital where the same stranger has visited a young girl and seemingly cured her of a chronic illness. The stranger becomes known as "The Good Visitor," and he turns out to be Jesus Christ. Jesus calls Russ on his private phone and tells him that he's running for President of the United States and would like for Russ to work on his campaign. Russ is not convinced at first, but finally agrees when Jesus visits Russ's girlfriend in a dream. Jesus assembles a ragtag campaign team and heads out on the road as the candidate for The Divinity Party and chooses his mother as his running mate. Jesus runs an unusual campaign - he doesn't criticize his opponents and he's available for questions. American Savior by Roland Merullo started out with a bang for me. The middle of the book, with all of it's campaign details, did drag a little bit, though. When it gets to the end of the campaign, the book really picked up again. It is worth reading for all of the questions it brings up. When a woman screams that the candidate is not Jesus, "I might not be," he said slowly. "I might not be. But my question to you is this: would you know him if he came into your midst? If he came into your midst and did not look the way you expected him to look, and did not speak as you expected him to speak, would you know him?" That really made me sit and think for a little while. This book is humorous as well as thought provoking and I enjoyed reading it. Roland Merulla has written ten books, including Golfing with God and Breakfast with Buddha. He lives with his wife and children in Massachusetts.

  23. 5 out of 5

    jillian

    What if Jesus Christ returned to Earth? What if he returned to America? What if he returned to America and RAN FOR PRESIDENT? And what if, once he appeared in the spotlight that goes with that race, he espoused his platform and it didn't mesh with the right wing Christians at all? After all, Jesus' messages AREN'T anything like what Conservative America preaches. How would those people recognize him when their image of Him is skewed? So here's the story as told through the eyes of a cynical half-Cat What if Jesus Christ returned to Earth? What if he returned to America? What if he returned to America and RAN FOR PRESIDENT? And what if, once he appeared in the spotlight that goes with that race, he espoused his platform and it didn't mesh with the right wing Christians at all? After all, Jesus' messages AREN'T anything like what Conservative America preaches. How would those people recognize him when their image of Him is skewed? So here's the story as told through the eyes of a cynical half-Catholic, half-Jewish small time reporter. Who joins Jesus' campaign, along with his family and his fiancee. Russ Thomas tells the story of Jesus' campaign, including that of his own doubts and fears and eventual hopes and love of Him. In telling it, he also takes the opportunity to satirize and take shots at most of the big-name political news commentators ("Bulf Spritzer" sound familiar?) - and also exposes the flyover states' beliefs as having nothing to actually do with Jesus. I enjoyed this book because it rolled along in the sarcastic, amusing voice of a smartass narrator. But I also enjoyed it because I voted for Barack Obama. And I don't know if any of his platform made it into this book, but Jesus has a lot of common ground with Obama. That comparison was certainly made during the campaign, because the media LOVED Obama, and hailed him as if he WAS the Savior. Hillary made fun of it in her speeches during primary season. So when Jesus refuses to condemn OR support abortion, and when he promises to revitalize the economy AND save the planet with green jobs, after a year of election coverage, it sounded familiar. Roland Merullo does a fabulous job of writing a religious-comic novel, which, as it turns out, has some pretty solid parallels with what actually happened this season.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    I waited for months to obtain this book from my library. When I finally received it, it didn't disappoint. The story revolves around Jesus Christ's second return to Earth, in which he decides to run for President of the United States. He chooses a variety of "suspect" individuals for his crew of campaigners/assistants: a TV reporter, his girlfriend, parents, and brother (who has Down Syndrome) a low-income boyfriend/girlfriend pair, and various others. What I really liked about this book was the p I waited for months to obtain this book from my library. When I finally received it, it didn't disappoint. The story revolves around Jesus Christ's second return to Earth, in which he decides to run for President of the United States. He chooses a variety of "suspect" individuals for his crew of campaigners/assistants: a TV reporter, his girlfriend, parents, and brother (who has Down Syndrome) a low-income boyfriend/girlfriend pair, and various others. What I really liked about this book was the powerful message that Merullo communicates through his depiction of Jesus: what would it look like if the inhabitants of arguably the most affluent nation in the world addressed the root causes of their disagreements, rather than their symptoms? An especially powerful example concerns abortion - when questioned by reporters about his stance on this issue, Jesus states that some people feel like begins at conception, and others that life begins at birth - rather than nitpick over which is "right," could proponents of both sides sit down and discuss a resolution (not necessarily regarding abortion, but addressing the division that issue has caused the inhabitants of the USA). The depiction of some of Jesus' ideas will no doubt grind against some of traditional Christian belief (in much the same way The Shack did. However, the historical perspective that Jesus exists to break apart preconceived notions on life exist easily here. While very well written, the one difficulty with the book is the ending. Sufficed to say, it leaves one with a feeling of, "After all that story, that's it?" It's unfortunate that such a well written book ends so abruptly; a more devised ending would have wrapped up an otherwise tremendous story.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Jesus reappears on earth in America and declares himself a candidate for US president. He draws together a small election team from some folks in NJ. Story told through the eyes of a very skeptical tv reporter who is recruited by him in the early pages. Merullo has an interesting thesis, and paints Jesus in a way that is true to the stories told in the New Testament as opposed to how people have come to visualize him through the paintings, righteous sermons and divisive political rhetoric heard Jesus reappears on earth in America and declares himself a candidate for US president. He draws together a small election team from some folks in NJ. Story told through the eyes of a very skeptical tv reporter who is recruited by him in the early pages. Merullo has an interesting thesis, and paints Jesus in a way that is true to the stories told in the New Testament as opposed to how people have come to visualize him through the paintings, righteous sermons and divisive political rhetoric heard today. One of the nice aspects of the story is that Merullo has events parallel to Gospel without explicitly saying, "see, here we have Jesus doing business with an underworld Mafia-type person, just like he did with the despised tax collector," and "hey, look at this, he is writing on a dusty motel room table just like he did in the sand when people wanted to stone the adulteress" I'm sure given my own sketchy knowledge of the scripture that I missed more of these than I noticed, but the point is that Merullo is not heavy-handed about this aspect. The small band of people on the campaign staff include the tv reporter's Jewish father, Catholic mother, Down Syndrome brother, and psychologist girl friend. As they struggle to understand the meaning or all this, the main message Jesus wants the earth to get this time becomes more clear to the reader. Again, Merullo is not heavy handed about this - but has Jesus trying to teach them truths also found in Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, as well as Old/New Testament. Example: we all have what we need within us. Example: God really does love everyone. People probably will draw their own major insight from reading this, but for me, it seemed that the last thing Jesus intended was for people to become "Christians" - Christ-like, yes, but "Christians" - no.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    There were definitley profound moments in this book. I am not sure where to really begin to describe this book.. I loves the premise, but it didn't play out the way that I thought it would. I was disappointed at the end, and yet, I TOTALLY agree with what "Jesus" taught about Ameican politics. I believe that our nation is in grave spiritual danger and that all political sides are at fault. I feel that politicians are mostly in it for themselves and what they can gain--rather than what is best fo There were definitley profound moments in this book. I am not sure where to really begin to describe this book.. I loves the premise, but it didn't play out the way that I thought it would. I was disappointed at the end, and yet, I TOTALLY agree with what "Jesus" taught about Ameican politics. I believe that our nation is in grave spiritual danger and that all political sides are at fault. I feel that politicians are mostly in it for themselves and what they can gain--rather than what is best for our country. I think we need to be kinder, and do more to help others. I believe religions who think they have market cornered on spirituality are wrong. I wonder at times if I myself would be willing to accept and follow a Savior who returned in a way that I did not expect... kinda like the Jews... There were parts that were silly and annoying--like the talk show names and persons, and the names of some of the towns. And at times, I even thought the Savior acted dumb--not in the way that I would ahve expected. I was unhappy with the ending. I wanted more, and it made me sad that I didn't get it. I liked the main character and I wish I had gotten more about what his life was like after the election. Overall, I am glad I read this book. It really talked about my political beliefs, but this book was nto as good as Breakfast with Buddha. I wish there had been more!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bunny

    I had kept this book out from the library because I wanted to quote it for the review, but it just didn't work out. So I have to paraphrase. I desperately wanted to like this book. I mean it, I did. People asked what I was reading, and I got excited explaining the premise. How can you not love a book that has Jesus running for president? THE Jesus. I half expected it to turn out he was a fraud in the end. But one paragraph did me in. One conversation between the narrator and His Holiness. They wer I had kept this book out from the library because I wanted to quote it for the review, but it just didn't work out. So I have to paraphrase. I desperately wanted to like this book. I mean it, I did. People asked what I was reading, and I got excited explaining the premise. How can you not love a book that has Jesus running for president? THE Jesus. I half expected it to turn out he was a fraud in the end. But one paragraph did me in. One conversation between the narrator and His Holiness. They were in a car, driving, and Jesus mentioned, quite casually, that things would be so much better in the world if people would stop sinning. Not for themselves, but all of these 'horrible things' that happened, such as FLOODS and HURRICANES and TERRORISM. Excuse me? As someone who was FUCKING ANGRY when 9/11 was blamed on NY'ers sinning, and EXTREMELY FUCKING LIVID when Katrina was because Louisiana's a bunch of assholes and sinners? That is not something I want to read in a book. Especially not from the fucking mouth of Jesus. Have someone else say it, and I'll live with it. I liked the physical description of Jesus. I liked that he got angry, and that he was firm, but also gentle. The narrator I could've done without. He tried too hard to be sarcastic and clever. Overall, I was just sad and disappointed by the whole book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Raymond

    There's a meme among much of the political left that the liberal viewpoint is devoid of ideology and is inherently pragmatic. There's also the meme that Jesus Christ, were he alive today, would be a liberal. American Savior, perhaps inadvertently, is the literary result of those memes. The idea is simple, in this case: Jesus has returned, and he wants to run for president. He gets together a small group of reporters and their families to make the run, and the book follows the campaign through elec There's a meme among much of the political left that the liberal viewpoint is devoid of ideology and is inherently pragmatic. There's also the meme that Jesus Christ, were he alive today, would be a liberal. American Savior, perhaps inadvertently, is the literary result of those memes. The idea is simple, in this case: Jesus has returned, and he wants to run for president. He gets together a small group of reporters and their families to make the run, and the book follows the campaign through election day. The book is mostly well-written. The annoying "we're going to name people who are famous without actually naming them, so here's a guy who has a first name that sounds like 'Wolf' and the last name 'Spitzer'" is throughout. The concept of Jesus is kind of weird, and the main character is frustratingly annoying. It's just a weird book. And, at the end of the day, it just feels like a stealth ideological attempt to co-opt a religious figure. The rest of the ideology hinted at in the book is pretty standard stereotyping as is, and Jesus keeps talking about how he's a different way of thinking while pretty much adopting left wing viewpoints. It's not really groundbreaking and mostly frustrating, especially if you have any political knowledge. Skip this one if you ever have the opportunity. It's not really worth the energy.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    I really liked this idea for a book. I was looking forward to reading it. I had even looked at some of the other books by this author and thought about going ahead and ordering them. However, it's just ok. It's not a great book. The premise is that Jesus comes back to American to enter into the presidential election months before November. He picks several "normal" people to become his staff of advisors. 13 of them to be exact. The book has a religious slant to it but mostly it's about finding y I really liked this idea for a book. I was looking forward to reading it. I had even looked at some of the other books by this author and thought about going ahead and ordering them. However, it's just ok. It's not a great book. The premise is that Jesus comes back to American to enter into the presidential election months before November. He picks several "normal" people to become his staff of advisors. 13 of them to be exact. The book has a religious slant to it but mostly it's about finding yourself and being the best you can be. However, how the author does this is borderline boring. The dialogue was stilted. It was like the author didn't know if he wanted to write in modern day language or Biblical sentence structure. Some of his characters are just not fully developed. You don't really get a chance to know them and feel what they are experiencing. The author jumps around a lot from one thought to an event to a thought. It makes you want to shake the author. I really wanted to love this book and be able to recommend it to anyone and everyone because I thought the idea was fascinating. Sadly I can't.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    This is an extremely interesting book. The premise: Jesus comes back, this time running for President of the United States. Religion plays only the smallest of rolls in this book--it mostly deals with political and social realities that are achingly current though dressed up slightly differently (eg: The Neverending War, which is in South America instead of the Iraq War, and hilarious name substitutions like Hurry Linneament and Shawn "No So" Mannily). It's an intense mixture of humor and social This is an extremely interesting book. The premise: Jesus comes back, this time running for President of the United States. Religion plays only the smallest of rolls in this book--it mostly deals with political and social realities that are achingly current though dressed up slightly differently (eg: The Neverending War, which is in South America instead of the Iraq War, and hilarious name substitutions like Hurry Linneament and Shawn "No So" Mannily). It's an intense mixture of humor and social criticism that I found extremely appealing. While Merullo's writing reminded me a bit of Christopher Moore's style, there is a deep vein of serious message running through it that keeps it from being simply entertaining fluff. The characters are a well thought out collection of stereotypes that become so much more, ultimately leaving the reader with an optimistic feeling even after the predictable ending.

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