Thursday, October 28, 2010

book: stuff christians like

while i try to do a good bit of reading, i recently realized that i don't read many books that simply make me laugh.  which is why i was so glad to get into "stuff christians like" by jonathan acuff.  acuff is a blogger who started the absolutely hilarious blog:, which became so successful that he used it as a platform for writing this book, which is really just a printed form of his great blog. 

there are two reasons why christians should read this book:

1.  it will make you laugh.  acuff has the uncanny ability to look at the traditions and rituals of american christianity and find the ridiculous in it.  as one who has grown up in the church (he is a pastor's kid), and who still very much practices his faith, this isn't done in a spirit of mockery or bitterness, but in great humility.  for the most part he mixes sarcasm, poignant honesty, and humility in just the right amounts to convince you that it is ok to laugh at yourself and your "tribe."  for example, he tackles such subjects as raising your hands in church; telling someone that you'll 'keep them in your prayers;' and using the Bible to justify our opinions.  and in the process of dealing with all of these (sometimes difficult or even taboo) subjects, he makes you laugh.  as one who believes that we sometimes take our faith journeys a bit too seriously, i think there is some real value in that. 

2.  it will make you think.  acuff isn't just making fun.  it is done in a way that often causes you to laugh until you nearly pee your pants, and then stop and think about why we do things the way we do, and how we implicitly participate in some of this stuff out of routine or habit.  he comes across (for the most part) as neither condescending nor mean-spirited.  his ability to laugh at himself and ask himself some really funny but really difficult questions is completely contagious and makes the book a worthwhile read, particularly if you've grown up in the church.  not every "essay" in the book is a home run, but many are, and i would recommend not reading it bed with a glass of sierra mist.  not that this happened to me, but you're probably going to read something like the part about "the seven people you meet in a prayer circle" and end up spewing that sweet and clear soda all over the bed spread, which your wife will then subsequently wash while threatening to take the book away from you not only because of the soda debaucle but also because "when you read that thing in bed you shake the whole bed you're laughing so hard."  so, maybe read it on the couch.  or in a pew. 


Emoly said...

I wrote it down to go purchase when our non-profit has its book fair at Barnes and Noble (I'll have to send you the number so you can support us too!) :)

Now as long as the cat doesn't eat the post-it note, I'll be enjoying the book in the near future.

greg. said...

i think you'll love it. plus, since it is so funny, you can read it really quickly. just watch out for the sierra mist.