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The Passionate Jesus

What We Can Learn from Jesus about Love, Fear, Grief, Joy and Living Authentically

By The Rev. Peter Wallace

6 x 9, 208 pp, Quality Paperback


Large Print edition also available from

Finalist—The Georgia Author of the Year Awards

Sometimes what we already “know” about Jesus gets in the way of our really knowing him.

Many depictions of Jesus show him as a character who coolly and calmly floats above the grit and grime of human existence. He doesn’t hurt, he doesn’t fear, he doesn’t laugh and, most tragically, he doesn’t love very passionately. He seems not to feel at all. But a closer look at the Bible reveals something surprisingly different.

In this eye-opening spiritual study, Peter Wallace examines Jesus’s actions as well as his teachings to uncover a passionate figure who was involved, present, connected, honest and direct with others. Through Wallace’s deeply personal insights and compelling examples, you will be encouraged to model this passionate Jesus by building personal authenticity in every area of your own life, particularly in your self-acceptance and self-expression, your relationships with others and, above all, your relationship with God.

“An illuminating and powerful personal meditation that underlines feeling and emotion as an important component of seeing and following Jesus.”

Marcus J. Borg, best-selling author, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time and Speaking Christian

“Wallace does a masterful job of pointing to the emotional-spiritual wholeness of the Word made flesh, who is clearly both fully human and fully divine. Offers hope and encouragement to every human being seeking a more holy and wholly integrated life.”

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church; author, Gathering at God’s Table: The Meaning of Mission in the Feast of Faith

“Shun[s] depictions of [Jesus] as a man above emotion.... Strongly recommended [for] any Christian and spirituality collection.”

Midwest Book Review

“Helps open our eyes and expand our hearts to experience a new Jesus—one who feels as passionately as we do. You will not read the Gospels the same way after allowing [these] finely tuned reflections to seep into your consciousness.”

Edward L. Beck, author, God Underneath: Spiritual Memoirs of a Catholic Priest; Religion and Faith Contributor, CBS News

“Gives us something I didn’t think possible: a truly fresh perspective on Jesus. Through this insightful exploration … we not only learn something new about him, we can also learn how to live more authentically with our own emotions.”

Martin B. Copenhaver, senior pastor, Wellesley Congregational Church (UCC); co-author, This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers

“Goes deeply into the scriptures that convey a loving Christ.... Will appeal to the reader looking for a deep Bible meditation.”

Publishers Weekly

“A must-read! Wipes off the pious veneer we often layer on our familiar portraits of Jesus and introduces us to a fully realized, passionate Companion, one who can help us consider our own love, fear, anger, grief, joy … and perhaps become more truly human in the process.”

The Rev. Canon C. K. Robertson, PhD, author, A Dangerous Dozen: 12 Christians Who Threatened the Status Quo but Taught Us to Live like Jesus

“At first blush, writing an analysis of Jesus’s emotional life would seem to be a shocking, edgy, almost heretical idea, but Wallace succeeds in every way. His explorations of the passions of the God/Man give us not only a more complete Jesus, but they also grant us license to find more complete and candid emotional lives for ourselves as His followers.”

Phyllis Tickle, author, Emergence Christianity: What It Is, Where It Is Going, and Why It Matters

“To read this book is to experience the ‘off-kilter sense of deep familiarity juxtaposed by newness’ which Peter Wallace winsomely finds in the Gospel accounts—and in his real, embodied, Gospel-informed life. This is … for twenty-first-century people looking for a whole-body, whole-spirit faithfulness between the lines and within the words of the Bible.”

Krista Tippett, host/producer, On Being, American Public Media

“By exploring Jesus’s emotions, Wallace helps us to understand our own. With personal stories and deep questions at the end of each chapter, we come to know a Jesus who has all the complex emotions we do. This book is a treasure for both the introspective reader in search of inner awareness and the friendly book group in search of a more lasting intimacy with one another and with God.”

Lillian Daniel, senior minister, First Congregational Church (UCC); co-author, This Odd and Wondrous Calling

“Through his own courageous story, Peter Wallace shakes us from hypocrisy and pretense. He breaks us free from a proper, suitable, ‘freshly shampooed’ Jesus and hits us in the solar plexus with a raw, firebrand messiah. This Jesus is a true composite of humanity; a Jesus in whom each of us sees a reflection of our broken soul; a Jesus that invites us into a fully integrated life of truth, intimacy and realness. Thank you, Peter Wallace, for inspiring us to rediscover Jesus—while rediscovering ourselves.”

Rev. Susan Sparks, senior pastor, Madison Avenue Baptist Church; author, Laugh Your Way to Grace: Reclaiming the Spiritual Power of Humor

“Eloquent … encourages us passionately to embrace the God who has so lovingly embraced us. Jesus called us to do more than to calmly think about him, consider him, or argue the merits of his way. In loving us, he called upon us to passionately love him. Peter’s book helps us to do just that.”

The Rev. Will Willimon, PhD, author and professor, Duke University Divinity School

“A breath of fresh air that breaks with an all-too-common depiction of a serene and dispassionate Jesus.... Points to the ways that authentically experienced emotions can be channeled for justice.... [A] cogent and faithful exploration of Jesus’ emotions.”


“Masterful … Wallace not only puts the claws back on the Lion, but adds a passionate—and compassionate—heart and soul along with it. From page to page, you find Jesus becoming more threedimensional, more real and, frankly, more like someone you’d throw your heart and soul into following.”

Rev. Eric Elnes, PhD, senior minister, Countryside Community Church (UCC); author, The Phoenix Affirmations

“With style and grace … takes us on a journey into a spiritual practice that is passionate, compassionate and courageous. Reminds us that a Jesus who feels deeply is our model to do the same and our truest guide to authentic life.”

Greg Garrett, author, Faithful Citizenship and The Other Jesus

“Peter Wallace is a beautiful thinker and a deep, humane soul.”

Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and Telegraph Avenue

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