Book Review of ” Honestly: Getting Real about Jesus and our Messy Lives”

Federal Trade Commission compliance notice: Tyndale House Publishers has provided  a complimentary copy of this book or ARC.


Honestly, Getting Real about Jesus and our Messy Lives. ©2016 by Daniel Fusco.  ISBN 978-1-63146-386-0.


About the author

Daniel Fusco is a musician/pastor/author who currently pastors at Crossroads Community Church Vancouver; has shepherded Calvary Chapel churches; & blogs: among numerous other things.

Using John Coltrane’s album A Love Supreme:  [ ] or  and the book of Ephesians as the bass line, or supporting theme, throughout this combination memoir/Biblical hermeneutic (interpretation) Fusco seems to aim at demonstrating “that Jesus is real in the midst of life’s messiness…” (p. xvi).  I use the word seems because Fusco does not state, “the purpose of this book is to….” unless I missed it or forgot it.  I think the use of Coltrane’s jazz album to  underscore the book resonates with reality in that jazz sometimes sounds “messy” or disorganized but there is a master musician working out a sound picture.  I really love the metaphor Fusco makes of it all.


Things I didn’t like or revisions I would make:  (Please stick around for the things I did like, which follow.)

*Use of The Message always makes me cringe.  Here’s a sample of why taken from Acts 1:2 in the NIV and in the Message, respectively:

“…after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.” NIV

“…the apostles, the ones he had chosen through the Holy Spirit….” MSG

See the difference in the role of the Holy Spirit?  My suggestion would be to change to a more reliable version.  In support of Fusco, most of his in text scripture references do go to various reliable versions of the Bible.

*Cultural references like “nasty” (p. xvi) and “sick” (p. xvii) as compliments need defining for future readers who may not be privy to the same cultural experiences and may or may not have access to Google.

*I wonder what is meant by “our truest selves” (p. 142)?  I also wonder why Fusco thinks we “reflect” the light (p. 142) when Paul makes the reader think that the light that has been “shed abroad” in our hearts spills out of us since it “dwells in our hearts”, Romans 5:5 and 2 Corinthians 4.

*I’m always cautious of works that seem to imply that life here is going to be “redeemed” by our better behavior.  Jesus said, “in the world you will have trouble but I leave you my peace,” my paraphrase of John 16:33.

Things I did like

I personally love the transparent Christian memoir because the author allows readers to see a less than polished perfect (read more realistic) view of their life and, in Fusco’s case, gives the author a method for sharing how Christ overcame and faith in Christ overcomes the messy.  Like D.A. Horton, Fusco goes straight to the heart in the first pages revealing his mother’s diagnosis and untimely death from cancer and its effects on him and his family.  The reader gets the immediate impression that Fusco knows what he is talking about having been there, meaning lived through some painful events.


For anyone needing encouragement, Fusco’s work would be an uplifting choice.  I think this work would make a fascinating study for aspiring writers in many ways:  the interplay of music and life; writing sectioned according to the parts of music as well as an album; and last but not least a study of the memoir genre.

Thank you @DanielFusco for a very interesting and thought provoking read!





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