Larry James Peacock is pastor of Malibu United Methodist Church, Malibu, California. For over 20 years he has visited monasteries and retreat centers to chant the Psalms and learn a daily rhythm of prayer. Among the places he has traveled are the Taizé Community in France and the Iona Community in Scotland. A spiritual director since 1988, Larry has served on the faculty for both the Five-Day and Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation (sponsored by Upper Room Ministries) and has led numerous retreats. Beyond college and seminary, Larry’s continuing education includes a sabbatical at Pendle Hill, a Quaker center for study and contemplation; the Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation; and the Institute for Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership. Larry is married to author Anne Broyles; they have two children. He is a part-time potter and an occasional juggler.
Abandon dead, dry, rule-keeping and embrace the promise of being truly known and deeply loved.
Jefferson Bethke burst into the cultural conversation in 2012 with a passionate, provocative poem titled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” The 4-minute video literally became an overnight sensation, with 7 million YouTube views in its first 48 hours (and 23+ million in a year). The message blew up on social-media, triggering an avalanche of responses running the gamut from encouraged to enraged.
In Jesus > Religion, Bethke unpacks similar contrasts that he drew in the poem—highlighting the difference between teeth gritting and grace, law and love, performance and peace, despair and hope. With refreshing candor he delves into the motivation behind his message, beginning with the unvarnished tale of his own plunge from the pinnacle of a works-based, fake-smile existence that sapped his strength and led him down a path of destructive behavior.
Bethke is quick to acknowledge that he’s not a pastor or theologian, but simply a regular, twenty-something who cried out for a life greater than the one for which he had settled. Along his journey, Bethke discovered the real Jesus, who beckoned him beyond the props of false religion.