Jefferson Bethke burst into the cultural conversation in 2012 with a passionate, provocative poem titled Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus. The four-minute video of Bethke''s spoken-word performance literally became an overnight sensation, with seven million YouTube views in its first forty-eight hours. The message hit like a blizzard on social-media sites and in forwarded e-mails, triggering an avalanche of responses running the gamut from encouraged to enraged. In Jesus > Religion, Bethke unpacks the stark contrasts that he drew in the poemcontrasts between teeth gritting and grace, law and love, performance and peace, and 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.