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JESUS CLONED comes from my pastor’s heart, not a scientist’s query. Through the technology of cloning we enter the ageless conversation of how Jesus is both fully human and fully divine. With new light, new warmth, and new understanding, the characters here help us see how we are like Joe in that God is within us, too.
This plot literally fell from heaven in record time. Boom. Done. In three months, JC was framed from tip to toe. Years of revisions later (ah, sweat and tears!), this novel gently opens this message: we all have the potential to be God-like, or do God-like things.
Praise for Jesus Cloned
A must read. This unique novel combines the possibilities of modern genetic science with the incarnation for a great story. The reader is left asking: 'Where and how is God in me?'
Will Hagenbuch has turned a potential science fiction plot—cloning Jesus (perhaps) from the DNA on ancient burial cloths—into a deeply moving and very serious story of loves, sins, and redemption of many kinds. The clone, Joe Messiah/O’Day, is a 19-year-old student at a Bible college who does not have a clue to his unusual identity. He has grown up with his adoptive father without knowing of his supposed ancestry, but has extra-strong gifts of spiritual strength and presence that he shows his beloved gay roommate, Mike, and the girl whom he instantly loves, Betsy. When he discovers his identity as a clone, and realizes how the scientist who cloned him is a genius control-freak, he crashes to alienation, alcohol, and addiction. His slow, unwanted, rehabilitation addresses the sins and redemption of those around him. This is the best treatment I know of how the divine and human might have been combined in Jesus, and in Joe. The book is a page turner, weaving strands of the basic human (and divine) emotions into a fast-paced story. I highly recommend it for non-Christians as well as Christians.
While much of this plot-driven novel is voiced in Christian language (the message of love, compassion, mystery and the need to endure), Hagenbuch enables our universal God to come through with an inclusive, solid, and much-needed message of love. JESUS CLONED allows people of other faiths to understand the impact religion and belief have on daily life of his followers. At the same time it transcends Christianity and reaches out to all. Speaking of love, I was moved to tears by the words Hagenbuch put into one particularly intimate scene between Joe and Betsy. In fact the whole story holds your interest and contains surprises until the very end.
No doubt the science (cloning) piece to this breakthrough novel propels the plot through the first third of this novel (which is written in three parts "Father" "Son" and "Holy Spirit"), but the gentle, sometimes funny voice of the author is showing us more than a page-turner. Through a variety of characters including a darling girl who is four-years-old, this pastor/author brings us a new lens to see how Jesus interacted with people then, and how that same love is accessible to us now. Now I think that's genius. Theology over science is being sold here. I cried in places, and I'm no fountain of sentiment. I rooted for Joe and Betsy, Dunk and even Roland, and I'm no cheerleader.
What is the overall theme of this book?
JESUS CLONED is about relationships, how God can enter into them in a myriad of ways, and how, with God, our lives change, broaden, and lead us to understanding, peace, and ultimate love.
A Jewish seventy-something with little Christian experience has read JC. She remarked to Hagenbuch, “I see through your characters how the Christian Jesus is directly involved in everyday matters. Prayers and proximity. I didn’t know this.”
Jesus is involved in our every day matters, our “business.” He seeks a relationship with us. And JC speaks of how messed up we can all be, yet our steadfast God calls us back to receive His love again and again.
To speak of God’s love and our Father’s desire to be in a relationship with Him, Jesus often spoke in stories (parables). JC is an extension of this teaching style. Jesus used common, everyday imagery to show His listeners the relationship God wants with us. JC does the same.
What inspired you to write this book?
“My people” (those I feel called to) have been bored or burned by organized religion. The modern technology of cloning is the vehicle I use to bring new light and life to the parables. We have a completely identifiable Jesus in scripture. You see a completely identifiable Joe in this novel. Jesus’ recorded interactions with people are profound. In simple and in profound ways, Joe helps us see the nature of Christ.
God is good. How God reveals Godself is endless, creative, and incredible. JC (Jesus Cloned) is another way for us to experience God’s great love. I was called to reveal this great love through this work, and I’m grateful.
JC is a new way to enter into the age old conversation of how Jesus is both fully human AND fully divine. To create a landscape where this conversation continues is one great joy. And, oh, yes, this novel was definitely God-inspired.
Why do you think that this book will appeal to readers?
This books appeals to readers because we all have questions. Readers will find themselves relating to at least one character. The subjects of loss, grief, self-worth, dating, relationship struggles, and parenting are included.
JC is no sprint with a single focus. It’s a marathon that includes so many points and places for thoughts, reflections, and discoveries along the way.