[REVIEW] Love is Oxygen: How God Can Give You Life and Change by Jarrid Wilson


Love is Oxygen

By Jarrid Wilson

You may not of heard about Nashville-based pastor and blogger Jarrid Wilson, but there’s a good chance you’ve read some of his writings before. 

The millennial pastor first came into the spotlight with his article An Open Letter to Miley Cyrus back in 2013, and he has since been featured on numerous talk shows and had tens of millions of hits on his personal website. 

With three books to his name (Have you heard of anything more millennial than ‘Jesus Swagger’?), the next natural step was his creation of a non-profit.

He formed the Christian mental health charity Anthem of Hope in 2016 with his wife Juli, which illuminates hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicide and addiction.  

Given this, it’s difficult to pinpoint a more quintessential millennial Christian than Wilson. And that’s why he’s become so popular over the last few years — teens and young adults relate to him. 

In a sense, he is a spokesperson for the young Christian millennial who holds to the truth of the Bible, but seeks to express it in a new, authentic and relatable way.

As he states in his latest book Love is Oxygen, sometimes this means he will take his anti-depressant medication on stage, and other times he will clang a cymbal when preaching to literally communicate the futility of arguing with people online with judgement.  

In Love is Oxygen, he sidesteps into the faith-based memoir come theological expose on God’s love, with his trademark ease and conviction. This makes it a powerful tool for Christians seeking biblical understanding about mental illness and our ultimate purpose in life. 

Beginning with Wilson’s recollection of being suicidal, the narrative of Love Is Oxygen springboards from his own personal revelation of God’s love for him, to his observations about God’s love for us individually, how this empowers us to live boldly for God, and how we are to express this unconditional love to the world. 

He links these concepts together well, showing how a healthy relationship with God leads us to live an outward focused life, however the constant jumping between his anecdotes (his greatest strength), chunks of Biblical text and quotes by notable people makes it a bit sporadic. 

Each chapter in this book contains numerous gems, but they come and go so fast it’s hard to keep track of the core concept of the book. In many ways, reading this feels like you are hearing ten different sermons. Each chapter contains so much content, and is spoken with such preacher-like authority, that you are left somewhat rudderless, trying to identify whether this is strictly a memoir or Christian how-to book. 

It’s important to note that Love is Oxygen is full of Christianese —something I struggled with due to my time working with both non and faith-based non-profits, as this language can alienate people around the topic of mental illness. 

However, the purpose of the book isn’t strictly to educate people around mental illness, it’s to provide a religious frame-work for anyone searching for hope, help and identity in Christ. 

Due to this, Wilson’s target audience will love this book. It fills a largely empty niche in the Christian market surrounding faith-based books on mental health, which means it will have a great impact on people in the church. 

Love is Oxygen is available now on Koorong and in bookstores across Australia.