All Set Free: How God is Revealed in Jesus and Why That is Really Good News
What is the ending to the human drama? Will all be reconciled to God in the end? Does God demand an altar, a corpse, and blood? Or, rather, is the Christian God set apart from all the other gods throughout history? All Set Free sets out to answer some of the more difficult questions Christians today are faced with. It will challenge the Augustinian understanding of hell and the Calvinist understanding of the atonement; replacing them with a more Christ-centered understanding of both doctrines. This book will also use the work of René Girard in order to reshape how many understand “what it means to be human.” Then and only then should we ask: “Who is God?” Come explore what has become Matthew’s theological pilgrimage to this point. Come discover the God of peace.
Michael Hardin, Executive Director of Preaching Peace, editor/author of eight books, including The Jesus Driven Life
Ric Machuga, Professor of Philosophy, Butte College; Author of Three Theological Mistakes: How to Correct Enlightenment Assumptions about God, Miracles, and Free Will
Anthony W. Bartlett, Co-Founder and Contributing Theologian at Theology and Peace; Author of Virtually Christian: How Christ Changes Human Meaning and Makes Creation New
Gregory A. Clark, Professor of Philosophy, North Park University
J. Denny Weaver, Professor Emeritus of Religion, Bluffton University
Tom Truby, Member of Theology & Peace; United Methodist pastor in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference
Andre Rabe, Founder of Always Loved Ministries and Author of Desire Found Me
Bradley Jersak, Author of A More Christlike God
From the Blood of Abel: Humanity’s Root Causes of Violence and the Bible’s Theological-Anthropological Solution.
While millions of believers around the world are finding their understanding of Christianity to be outdated and untenable, Matthew Distefano has managed to paint the Gospel in such a way that even an atheist could appreciate its beauty. Rather than a message of rapture, or rewards and reprisals, Distefano presents the good news of what God has done in history to stem the tide of our own violence and evil—inviting us into a whole new way of living and being in this world. By integrating René Girard’s “mimetic theory” and Ernest Becker’s “death anxiety,” Distefano is able to diagnose the root causes of human violence and then offer the life-giving solution in the person of Jesus. Both the struggling evangelical and unbeliever alike can take refuge here, finding in this Gospel the thing their soul—and the disintegrating world around them—is thirsting for.
Brad Jersak, Editor at CWR Magazine, Faculty at Westminster Theological Centre, and author of A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel
Caleb Miller, author of The Divine Reversal: Recovering the Vision of Jesus Christ as the Last Adam and Saving God: Freeing Abba from the Captivity of Religion
Brandan Robertson, author of Nomad: A Spirituality for Travelling Light
Doug Stuart, regular contributor for The Libertarian Christian Institute
Suzanne Ross, cofounder of The Raven ReView and author of The Wicked Truth: When Good People Do Bad Things
Dan Wilkinson, editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians blog on Patheos
Wendy Francisco, author and animator of the book and viral video, GoD and DoG
Stephen R. Crosby, D. Min., founder of Stephanos Ministries and author of How New is the New Covenant? and thirteen other titles
Matthew’s book, From the Blood of Abel is an excellent book to recommend to seekers who have begun to question traditional Evangelical teachings on alleged God-sanctioned violence, a sacrificial hermeneutic, doctrines of hell and eternal punishment, and much more. Matthew has processed weightier works on these topics and synthesized their salient points into a volume that is reachable to the majority who may have neither time nor inclination to read academic-level treatments on those subjects. In doing so, Matthew has done the body of Christ a great service. I wish I had read a book like From the Blood of Abel when I was twenty-one. If I had, my life would have charted a much different and much more Christ-conformed path, much earlier.
Chris Kratzer, pastor and blogger at chriskratzer.com
James Alison, Catholic Priest, theologian, and author
Michael Hardin, executive director at Preaching Peace and author of The Jesus Driven Life
Thomas Talbott, author of The Inescapable Love of God
So, as Distefano advises, “Take your time and enjoy these discussions. They are transparent and hopeful, refreshingly liberating, and are imbued with complete awe toward the goodness of the Creator and her creation.”
Julie Ferwerda, author of Raising Hell
Charles Watson Sr., author of Hell In a Nutshell
Adam Ericksen, Education Director at The Raven ReView and blogger at Teaching Nonviolent Atonement on Patheos
Michael Hardin, Executive Director at Preaching Peace and author of The Jesus Driven Life
Rev. David R. Froemming, ELCA pastor and author of Salvation Story
Anthony W. Bartlett, author of Virtually Christian and Pascale’s Wager
Eric Alexander, founder of Jesism
Chris Kratzer, pastor and blogger at chriskratzer.com
Daniel Skillman, husband, father, counselor, writer, teacher, speaker, sinner, saint, singer, survivor, follower of Jesus
John E. Phelan, Jr., Senior Professor of Theological Studies, North Park Theological Seminary
Eric Reitan, Oklahoma State University
Contrary to what some may say, this book, rather than being the product of a demonic lie, is an open and honest set of answers to the questions wrestled with by countless Christians the world over. And while nothing in Heretic! is completely unique—that is, much of the theology contained herein goes as far back as Christianity itself—Distefano creatively puts his unique perspective and humor onto the pages with care. Refreshing and liberating, this is a must read for any who dare question their inherited doctrines.
Available now on Amazon!
Professor of Word Vomit
We are no match for this professor of word vomit, who, in all reality, is getting ninety percent of his info from Wikipedia or a bitter Rabbi who has no reason to revere Scripture as holy.
Matthew knows nothing about Christianity.
This is a demonic lie. It directly goes against the very words of Jesus and it is a Gospel of the spineless who are not willing to face the hard truth. It’s an affront to Jesus’ work on the cross. It is deceptive, a completely perverted understanding of the Gospel. And people who spread these lies are one with the devil.
I know it’s hard, but actually reading the Bible can really illuminate what God actually thinks on topics [sic]. Distefano is either a severely ignorant believer or a false teacher. Either way, he needs to stop discussing the Bible until he has read more of it beyond what Google tells him.
A perfect cocktail of disgusting lies (front cover).
If you’re looking for a cheery, always-uplifting devotional, then you’ve come to the wrong place. Not that Devoted As F*ck won’t uplift and renew your spirit at times, it’s merely that the goal of this book is not to make you feel good. Instead, it is an irreverent look at today’s version of Christianity that is meant to shake you to your core. Sometimes cheeky, other times profound, but mostly in your face, Distefano has constructed the perfect devotional for the spiritual misfit who doesn’t quite fit the cookie-cutter mold.
Available now on Amazon!
Paul J. Wheeler
This book is both hilarious and thought-provoking. As you can probably tell from the title, this book is definitely not for anyone easily offended. But if you want a “devotional” that is out of the ordinary, it is highly recommended!
Got the book today, sat down with my wife and read the quick devotional, and had one of the best talks about God we’ve had in a long time. I love it and look forward to reading it daily.
Karen E. Leidy
One minute, the author expounds on seeing God through the love in his daughters eyes. The next, he is excoriating the religious for their hypocrisy with scathing language.
Matthew J. Distefano doesn’t expect you to like him. In fact, he offers this missive knowing full well that some readers will want to use it as fuel to burn his unyielding heretic heart at the stake.
And yet, Matt generously shares authorship with the reader, providing space for both dissension and verbal high-fives.
Devoted As F*ck is a journal that will either inspire or piss you off. Or, maybe both, on occasion.
I especially love the cover art design, and cannot wait to carry it into my next bible study.
Karl J. Forehand
Matthew’s work always surprises me, not because I underestimate him but just because he keeps upping the ante.
Like most of his work, this devotional is a little provocative and not just in the title. I love it because it is challenging. Most of us don’t really want someone to tell us what we want to hear–we really want to be challenged.
I’m glad I got to see a preview of this and I’m looking forward to interacting with it throughout the year!
The Bonfire Sessions: Spring is a thought-provoking booklet that discusses: deconstruction and how it impacted the authors’ friendship, suffering and how it fits into the human narrative, doubt and how it is not the opposite of faith, evangelicalism and living an authentic life, and how Buddhism and Christianity can co-exist.
With rawness and vulnerability, as well as a large dose of salty language, this set of conversations delivers quite a punch. Sometimes funny, sometimes profound, but always honest, the two hosts of The Bonfire Sessions podcast come together to deliver the first in a collection of four booklets that will be sure to challenge your heart, soul, and mind. So, pour your favorite drink and fill your long-stemmed pipe, and get ready for some high-quality fellowship.
The Bonfire Sessions: Summer is a thought-provoking booklet that discusses: the tragic Camp Fire that burned down the town of Paradise and Mike’s house along with it, how to live in the present moment, racism and white privilege in America, and how free will is often misunderstood in the West.
With rawness and vulnerability, as well as a large dose of salty language, this set of conversations delivers quite a punch. Sometimes funny, sometimes profound, but always honest, the two hosts of The Bonfire Sessions podcast come together to deliver the second in a collection of four booklets that will be sure to challenge your heart, soul, and mind. So, pour your favorite drink and fill your long-stemmed pipe, and get ready for some high-quality fellowship.
Available now on Amazon!
The Bonfire Sessions: Autumn is a thought-provoking booklet that discusses: the current climate crisis and racial tensions in the United States, how power can and often does corrupt those in leadership positions, why tragedy and loss are often a catalyst for appreciation, and why, in spite of all the suffering in the world, both authors have at least some hope for the future, even if it is just a fool’s hope.
With rawness and vulnerability, as well as a large dose of salty language, this set of conversations delivers quite a punch. Sometimes funny, sometimes profound, but always honest, the two hosts of The Bonfire Sessions podcast come together to deliver the third in a collection of four booklets that will be sure to challenge your heart, soul, and mind. So, pour your favorite drink and fill your long-stemmed pipe, and get ready for some high-quality fellowship.
Available now on Amazon!
The Bonfire Sessions: Winter is a thought-provoking booklet that discusses: what happens to friends and family when you deconstruct your faith, whether or not conversations such as these are actually important, the divisiveness of American politics, and how Michael is handling his cancer diagnosis.
With rawness and vulnerability, as well as a large does of salty language, this set of conversations delivers quite a punch. Sometimes funny, sometimes profound, but always honest, the two hosts of The Bonfire Sessions podcast come together to deliver the fourth in a collection of four booklets that will be sure to challenge your heart, sould, and mind. So, pour your favorite drink and fill your long-stemmed pipe, and get ready for some high-quality fellowship.
Available now on Amazon!
What happens when two philosophically-minded friends sit down around a firepit to chat about life’s biggest topics? Within these pages, you’ll find out. In The Bonfire Sessions: A Year of Shadow and Flame, authors and podcasters Matthew J. Distefano and Michael Machuga give their readers a glimpse into their very real lives, modeling for others what they believe conversation should look like.
With rawness and vulnerability, as well as a large dose of salty language, this set of conversations delivers quite a punch. Sometimes funny, sometimes profound, but always honest, the two hosts of The Bonfire Sessions podcast come together to deliver the entire Year One collection of booklets that will be sure to challenge your heart, soul, and mind. So, pour your favorite drink and fill your long-stemmed pipe, and get ready for some high-quality fellowship.
Available now on Amazon!
Karl Forehand, author of Apparent Faith and The Tea Shop
“Matthew and Michael cover a wide variety of topics in this book. Their language is adult like the beverages they consume as they talk. The topics cover such things as suffering and their individual faith journeys. Because they are not trying to necessarily convince each other of anything, it is just a beautiful transparent journey between two great people.”
Mark Karris, licensed therapist and author of Religious Refugees: Deconstructing Toward Spiritual and Emotional Healing
“In the midst of fake news, scripted reality TV shows, and deep fakes, Matthew J. Distefano and Michael Machuga’s The Bonfire Sessions is as authentic and real as it gets. I appreciate their down to earth conversations that are beautifully raw and filled with plenty of wisdom about life, God, theology, mental health, tragedy, and everything in between. This is a great book to pick up to learn, grow, and get a rare glimpse into what true friendship and intimacy looks like.”
Seth Showalter, MHA, LCSW, Clinical Trainer and host of the Mental Podcast
“Vulnerable. Refreshing. Relatable. Three words that describe Matthew and Michael’s newest book. While vulnerable throughout, this book carries with it a balance in perspective which leads the reader to come to their own conclusions. This book is funny in parts while daring to ask hard questions in others. It boldly demonstrates nuance interspersed with humor and vulnerability.”
Michelle Collins, heretic, gym rat, and all-around badass
“There is a proverb that says conversation is food for the soul! I personally believe conversation is the answer to much of the world’s issues. While the theme of this book revolves around a bonfire, drinking whiskey, and working through diverse and difficult subject matter, it does so in a way that also answers many of humanity’s issues. Grab a glass, take a seat, and treat yourself to a great conversation. Your soul will thank you!”
Keith Giles, author of the “Jesus Un” series and cohost of the Heretic Happy Hour podcast
“Trust me when I tell you that this book is unlike anything else you have read before. The conversations between Matthew and Michael recorded here range from deeply profound to hilariously irreverent, with a few dick jokes sprinkled along the path. But you’ll find yourself wishing you could pull up a chair and warm yourself next to this bonfire where bullshit is eternally condemned and simple truth refined until it becomes the purest gold. Worth every penny.”
Jason Elam, columnist for Patheos and host of The Messy Spirituality Podcast
“Reading The Bonfire Sessions: A Year of Shadow and Flame is like sitting down with two of your most brilliant friends who invite you into their most unguarded conversations about God, faith, and the human experience. Don’t miss this opportunity to walk with two mystics on the road away from certainty as they journey toward a more love-centered life.”
The biblical book of Genesis is a violent masterpiece. Deception. Treachery. Murder. But it is also a book of redemption, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
In The Genesis of Violence, author Matthew J. Distefano and artist Zak Parsons collaborate on a one-of-a-kind creative project that details and highlights the main themes of the book of Genesis. From the fall of humankind, to the murder of one brother at the hands of another, this work of art explores it all.
Rev. Roger Wolsey, author, Kissing Fish: Christianity for People Who Don't Like Christianity
“In an era when organized religion, especially Western religion, is being rejected by many, Distefano and Parsons present a needed reminder of the original merit and beauty of the biblical creation myths. The centering of human and Divine love and reconciliation instead of wrath and estrangement is welcome and needed. This reminds Christians that human love and forgiveness can come about outside of the popular substitutionary atonement story. A needed dose of humility and reminder of God’s consistent love and the capacity for humans to embrace it and each other.”
Nora Sophia is a survivor, an author and a teacher, and her passion is to heal humanity with harmony
“Matthew Distefano and Zak Parson’s The Genesis of Violence is a refreshing and illuminating work. Though brief, it leaves you with a belly full of thought and evocation of emotion. Through the simple yet complex illustrations, it captures the brevity of life, its fleeting joys and unavoidable pains. Through its pronouncement of a story that we tend to see as rote, we are refreshed with the facts that we in humanity all face an inevitable invitation: that we should all practice more kindly and considerate thought toward each other. This beautiful work will awaken and remind us all to use our best gifts and offerings to help our fellow travelers on the journey and to make the path brighter and easier. It will foster a closer kinship, more empathy and a deeper understanding for each of us who want to live an extraordinary life and die knowing we did our very best to leave humanity greater.”
Keith Giles, author of the 7-part Jesus Un book series
“The Genesis of Violence is perhaps the most unexpected book anyone would ever anticipate from the mind of Matthew Distefano. It’s not irreverent. It’s not snarky. There are no F-bombs to drop. In truth, The Genesis of Violence is actually a very beautiful, profound and, dare I say, “Christian” book, gorgeously illustrated by Zak D. Parsons, that reframes the Genesis narrative into a visual storybook for adults that even your mom would love.”
Paul Young, author of The Shack
“A deeply touching work of art with crafted words and images that reach into the places that matter and from the heart calling to the mind to both confess and repent. I loved this simply profound work and hope it to be the first of more!”
James Alison, Catholic Priest, Theologian, and Autho
“A wonderfully imaginative retelling of the central themes of Genesis for all ages. The mixture of a judiciously pared-down text and extraordinarily evocative and appropriate artwork brings out with great clarity the ways in which imitation and violence structure some of our greatest ancient stories. They reveal how much those stories, told in this way, have to offer us.”
Kevin Miller, author and filmmaker
“Through a combination of evocative images and text, this book challenges readers to reimagine the violence in Genesis as a product of humankind’s misguided search for God rather than God’s unrelenting judgments against humanity.”
Bradley Jersak, Dean of Theology & Culture, St. Stephen's University
“Distefano and Parsons have given us a compelling message through both words and illustrations that have beautifully captured the reality of the human condition and the way of grace through the glorious story of Joseph and mind of Rene Girard.”
“Don’t be a dick.” In today’s world, these four words can be the key to making our existence a kinder, more loving place. Within the pages of this book lives 69 practical ways of helping out your fellow human being. Between advice on how to not be a dick to your family and friends, to how to not be a dick to people online, this little hurricane of a page turner covers it all. By the end of it, you’ll be returning your shopping carts, cleaning your sweat off the gym equipment, and getting consent prior to any sexual encounter like a boss. Read Don’t Be a Dick, put the advice into practice, and I guarantee you’ll see your life and the lives of those around you improve.* (*Results not guaranteed.)
Dr. Rev. Katy Valentine, ordained minister, New Testament scholar, and metaphysical engineer
“The book had me at ‘return your shopping carts.’ Holy hells bells, YES. Are you worried that you have a wee bit of dickishness in you? Then grab your copy of Don’t Be a Dick and make sure you excise all the unwanted things that could make you a dick from your life. Besides being a delightful and funny read, you might actually pick up a few valuable lessons on what it means to be a great person without being a dick.”
Maria Francesca French, post-Christian thinker and writer
“Matthew has written the book that we all never knew we needed! This quick-witted and clever little read is equally mad as it is brilliant, and it is the book I wish someone handed to me and made me read when I was in my 20s, moving out of Evangelicalism and figuring out how to be a human in the world. This admittedly self-help book is a practical guide to humanity in the 21st century West and is a must read for anyone who recognizes the complexities of the times in which we live in, yet wants it told to them like it is—plain, simple, and without all the highfalutin mumbo jumbo. The wit kept me laughing, the wisdom kept me reading. Well done and bravo!”
Laci Bean, Certified Trauma Recovery Coach
“Don’t Be a Dick is a wonderful mix of brutal honesty and hilarious comedy. I went from cheering on Matthew’s points to feeling convicted to do better, and then to rolling over with laughter and back again. Definitely a must read!”
Desimber Rose, author and spoken-word artist
“Complete with golden rules you never knew you needed on just about every topic, from tipping to toilet paper, this book covers it all. Somewhere between comedy and conviction, you’ll find the absolutely candid words of wisdom by Matthew J. Distefano in Don’t Be a Dick. Distefano’s cadence and style of delivery make heavy topics such as outdated gender roles, toxic religious culture, and dysfunctional parenting easy to digest. In a time where most of what we see on TV and social media is scripted, embellished, and exaggerated, this book offers a real, refreshing opportunity for self-reflection. If you’re committed to being a dick, then this book will offend you, but for the rest of us who know we’ve got to put in a little more work to become the best version of ourselves, I offer the words of Distefano, “Trust me, together we can handle this.”
Keith Giles, author of the “Jesus-Un” series and cohost of the Heretic Happy Hour podcast
“This is the book that most people will buy for someone else to read without realizing they need it even more themselves. Matt pulls no punches here, and spares no punchlines either. After reading this you’ll be a better human being and you’ll have fun along the way. Don’t be a dick. Buy this book today.”
Derrick Day, author of Deconstructing Religion and cohost of the Heretic Happy Hour podcast
“When is good to be a dick? When you’re an actual penis! Others, just don’t be a dick! In his latest book, Matthew J. Distefano takes on the role of a modern-day Emily Post, articulating the kind of etiquette that will save your ass. One of the great problems of the Information Age is that we can say things without fear of getting hit in the mouth. However, we can be banned from social media, fired from our jobs, expelled from school, and otherwise become a pariah in society. Matt, himself, is no shrinking violet—he is a champion for the downtrodden and a voice of reason in theology. He also keenly understands how to be vocal without making a complete ass of himself. In Don’t Be a Dick, he shows you how to be meek without being weak, how to simultaneously not be a dick while not being a “limp dick.” If you want to know how to navigate this modern world without being confused with a phallus—while remaining uncompromised in your principles—this book is for you. Matter of fact, this should be required reading in every high school in America!”
The Bonfire Sessions: Second Spring is a thought-provoking booklet that discusses: human sexuality and all its complexities, Buddhism and the meaningless of life, how philosophy and ethics should be more emphasized in schools, what peace looks like in the midst of a chaotic world, and much more. With rawness and vulnerability, as well as a large dose of salty language, this set of conversations delivers quite a punch. Sometimes funny, sometimes profound, but always honest, the two hosts of The Bonfire Sessions podcast come together to deliver the first in a collection of four booklets that will be sure to challenge your heart, soul, and mind. So, pour your favorite drink and fill your long-stemmed pipe, and get ready for some high-quality fellowship.