So You Thought You Knew Media/Press Kit
Contact: Joshua Tongol
Title: So You Thought You Knew: Letting Go of Religion
Author: Joshua Tongol
Date of Publication: January 30 (Kindle), February 26, 2014 (Paperback)
Retail Price: $14.99 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-9914639-0-9, 5.25” x 8” paperback
Tired of religion?
What if almost everything you were taught about Christianity is wrong?
Would you give up on faith altogether? Or is it possible to rediscover—with fresh eyes—a richer and more satisfying understanding of God and spirituality?
So You Thought You Knew is a refreshing journey written straight from the heart. It’s about thinking outside the “institutional walls” of Christianity and asking the hard questions. It boldly says in public what many people are thinking in private. And its hilarious stories and life-changing insights will inspire those who are dissatisfied with fear-driven religion but believe—deep down—there’s a better message out there for the world to hear.
Bishop Carlton Pearson, author of the controversial book The Gospel of Inclusion, has this to say about So You Thought You Knew:
“This brilliantly thought-out and daringly provocative book is a must read for all who ask questions.”
If Joshua Tongol isn’t watching breakdancing videos, eating Korean barbecue, cracking jokes, or making silly faces, then you’ll probably find him challenging traditional religious ideas and sharing to people the message of God’s love.
Joshua is a graduate of Biola University and Talbot School of Theology. He studied under some well-known evangelical theologians, philosophers, and apologists. His dream was to travel the world and defend the “Christian faith” against all the “false religions and worldviews.” But, in recent years, he became disillusioned with organized religion, and ended up abandoning several of his long-held “Christian” beliefs. He later discovered a better message for the world to hear.
Joshua has been interviewed on popular blogs such as The Huffington Post and Examiner.com. He has appeared as a guest twice on apologetics.com, which is found on the #1 Christian radio station (99.5 KKLA) in Los Angeles. He has been featured on The 700 Club Asia, and also had his personal story written about in Biola University’s The Point magazine.
Joshua is no stranger to social media. He has a huge following from all around the world. Thousands of his audio messages on are downloaded every month on iTunes. And his Youtube channel has over half a million views.
Here’s what Darin Hufford, author of The Misunderstood God, has to say about Joshua:
“I’ve heard preachers from almost every Country in the world and to date my absolute favorite is a young man by the name of Joshua Tongol. He is one of the most passionate and exciting grace preachers I’ve ever encountered. He understands God’s heart in a way that few people do, and his simple and raw delivery of the message is unlike anything I’ve heard.”
Joshua is a popular speaker who has spoken to thousands of people all throughout the United States and abroad at church services, seminars, retreats, and conferences. The topics include: progressive Christianity, grace, healing, spirituality, and organic church life. He has a raw style and a big heart for people.
Joshua, with his fun and amazing wife, Remy, live in California.
Letting Go of Religion
by Joshua Tongol
Praise for So You Thought You Knew
“A fresh wind is sweeping 21st century Christianity. It challenges our assumptions, it invigorates our faith and it motivates us to love. Joshua Tongol is one of those moved by this fresh wind. This book is easy to read yet it is a thought provoking story of a journey with Jesus in his upside-down kingdom. This is one of those rare books where faith and questions both meet in one person’s quest for honesty in Christianity. I am reminded of The Shack.”
— Michael Hardin, executive director of Preaching Peace and author of The Jesus Driven Life
“This brilliantly thought-out, carefully worded and daringly provocative book is a must read for all who ask questions, answer questions and perhaps more importantly, question the answers we’ve habitually used and traded down for millennia. This book forces us to reconsider what we believe, why we believe it, and whether those beliefs add to or subtract from the quality of our lives.”
— Bishop Carlton Pearson, author of The Gospel of Inclusion and God Is Not a Christian, Nor a Jew, Muslim, Hindu…
“In this artful, thoughtful and accessible work, Joshua Tongol asks some very disconcerting questions and offers equally liberating proposals. His challenges should not be misread as simply setting up polarizing binaries. Rather, I believe he’s faithfully shaping a generation of critically thinking believers with the capacity to perform a very specific and unlikely miracle: making Christianity possible for my grandchildren. What matters to God and what matters to me is a theology and practice that magnifies the love of God and ministers the love of Christ. The rest, apparently, really is up for grabs.”
— Dr. Brad Jersak, author of Can You Hear Me? and Kissing the Leper
“Accessible, winsome and provocative, Joshua Tongol has written a powerful book arising out of his own spiritual journey that seeks to inspire ‘those who have ears to hear’ to step out of their carefully circumscribed faith and into something that more closely resembles the freedom available through Christ.”
— Kevin Miller, director of Hellbound?
“In a personable and approachable style, Joshua Tongol fearlessly helps us to face the hard questions of faith so many of us struggle with. This is not a book with “all the answers” so much as it is one that models that it’s okay for us to ask those questions as a healthy expression of faith. That can be scary—even isolating—but Joshua continually brings the focus back to a grace that just won’t let go, allowing us to have the courage to ask those difficult questions together.”
— Derek Flood, author of Healing the Gospel: A Radical Vision for Grace, Justice, and the Cross
“Many of us have inherited a version of the ‘good news’ that, honestly, doesn’t seem very good. We wrestle with the disparity between the god we are told exists, and the God our hearts tell us must exist. Unfortunately, few of us have a conversation partner with which we can process this incongruity. Enter Joshua Tongol. This is more than a book; it’s an invitation. An invitation to allow yourself to ask the hard questions of the faith you have inherited. So, grab a beverage, pull up a chair, and allow Josh to give voice to the questions your heart has been asking. I think you might just find something that you can finally call ‘good news’.”
— Raborn Johnson, co-host of BeyondtheBoxPodcast.com
“Joshua Tongol has restored to Christendom the Good News of God’s driving passion to be in a love relationship with all humanity. Beautiful, simple, yet profoundly deep, Joshua calls the church to an authentic Christian way of life that, if lived out, will transform the world. A must-read that will thoroughly, theologically, rock the status quo!”
— Sharon Baker, author of Razing Hell: Rethinking Everything You’ve Been Taught About God’s Wrath and Judgment
1. What is so unique about this book?
Well, my name is on the cover. I’m just kidding. I’ve read many theological books throughout the years very similar to mine–ones challenging traditional Christian doctrines. But, to be honest, I felt they were too academic. I wanted to write a book which is easy to understand–one people can relate to. I share a lot of stories, and even encourage introspection. Yet, at the same time, I also wanted it to be theologically and philosophically persuasive.
2. When did you start writing the book?
I started writing back in 2010. In fact, I almost finished writing the entire manuscript. However, I had a radical shift–a “theological crisis” you might say–which kept me from finishing it. I got so nervous to write again because I wasn’t sure what to believe anymore … at times. If I published my first manuscript, I would’ve had to do revise it at least a million times that year! (Of course I’m exaggerating. But I think you get my point.) In 2013 I decided to start writing again and didn’t stop until the manuscript was finished.
3. What do you want readers to take away from the book?
I want to inspire honesty. I find many religious folks struggling with this. They were told what to believe, how to think, and how to live–without actually thinking things through. I want my readers to keep an open mind, to question everything they’ve been taught, to learn from others, and to do their own research. I want them to come to their “own” conclusions–not somebody else’s. But most of all, I want them to know that, on this journey we call “life,” they are unconditionally loved … no matter how much of “life” they understand.
4. Why should anyone read the book?
That’s a good question. Should people read it? Well, for those fed up with religion, I think this book offers a more satisfying view of God and spirituality than what fundamentalism has to offer. As for those not fed up with religion, well, I’m hoping it’ll give some food for thought.
5. What’s the funniest story in the book?
Hmmm … I share a lot of funny stories in the book. Probably the “rapture” and “peeing in the Philippines” stories.
6. Who would benefit from reading this book?
I think the main ones who’d benefit the most would be those who see something wrong with organized religion. And if someone is the type who loves to ask questions, then I think this book is for good for them as well.
7. How did you come up with the title?
For most of my adult life I had this certainty–a theological kind–where I claimed to have all the “answers” to what some people consider the “big” questions of life. I felt like I knew it all. (Or “so I thought I knew” it all.) I went through this intellectual/emotional roller coaster ride of having to learn and unlearn many things. The title basically summarizes my (and I’m sure many others) experience.
8. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. It’s simple. Love is unconditional.
9. Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
This is my first book. Thing is, I do a lot of traveling already. I make a living as a speaker. It’s my “job” (or whatever you want to call it). But now I get to talk about my book at future engagements.
10. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Throughout the process, I experienced several setbacks. These challenges sometimes made me question the value of my work. But, I had to believe, no matter what–if people didn’t believe in my book, then I still would. I knew I had to write it–for myself and others. In other words, believe in your work. Persistence pays off.
11. Why did you write in your particular style?
I remember when I was a young pastor, I used to imitate my favorite preachers at the pulpit. I wasn’t confident with being myself. It was so stupid. I later realized how silly I sounded. As for my book, it’s cool because many people said they heard my voice as they read it. I wanted the book to sound like me.
12. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t be afraid to write your book. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, or that it won’t be a success. Write on something you’re passionate about, and let your audience find you.