Unless you live under a rock and completely avoid social media, you’ve at least heard of my man Jeff Bethke’s viral YouTube video “Why I Love Jesus, But Hate Religion.” If you haven’t, watch it here. At the time of this post, just six weeks after its release, the video is sitting at 19.3 million views (I remember when it was a big deal to get to ONE million!).
Jeff was kind enough to take a few minutes between speaking engagements and appearing on shows such as ABC Nightline to do a quick interview with me about his story and the making of his poems.
For more interviews like this, click here.
Brandon: Give us a little bit of your testimony and what brought you into writing/performing spoken word.
Jeff: I was raised in a single parent household all my life. Section 8 housing, food stamps, etc. I played the church game as a cover up for my insecurities and then lived the worldly life for the same reason. I came to faith four years ago and have only been writing the past year because I thought the medium was unique and hit home with my generation.
B: Your “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” poem was a YouTube sensation overnight. How have you dealt with all the attention and what has changed for you since then?
B: There was some minor backlash from pastors and others that felt you were too demeaning of religion, something Christians and even Jesus technically practice(d). Did you see much of this on social media, blogs, etc. and what is your response?
J: Here’s my dissertation- 🙂 http://jeffbethke.com/my-thoughts-after-writing-why-i-hate-religion-but-love-jesus/
B: Your next popular poem was focused on marriage (watch here). Is this a topic that you feel is misunderstood and overlooked by the world in general, and Christianity in particular?
J: Totally! I read Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller and it was a one-hitter-quitter to my soul. We have butchered marriage today which is God’s primary means of revealing Himself.
B: What’s next for you? Any new poems or other endeavors that we’ll be seeing soon?
J: Not sure! Still letting the dust settle; hoping to continue to do what I do! Thinking about doing poems in a more topical, systematic way (with Bible studies, etc.).
Find Brandon on Twitter.