OUCH! Yesterday I started reading Daniel Radosh’s Rapture Ready!: Adventures In The Parallel Universe Of Christian Pop-Culture. It is an outsiders observations of the Christian subculture. And the author really nails his intended target.
Back in my younger, athletic playing, days from time to time I would take a hit right on a muscle that would somehow simultaneously make me wince and chuckle. The chuckling wasn’t because I was necessarily tough, it was just the nature of the hit. I knew some bruising and stiffness was sure to develop in the days that followed. But it didn’t hurt quite enough to cause actual pain. So my response would be a dull chuckle with just a hint of an ouch.
That’s how I have felt when reading this book. I have had to both chuckle and wince at the same time. Radosh, a self professed Jewish Liberal, is funny and not unkind. He simply points out the absurdity of some of the things he has encountered and observed. Unless you take yourself way to seriously you’ll laugh too. But he also points out some things that should leave a mark on any Christian who reads this book.
A few things have already come to mind as I peruse these pages:
1) Many Christians will go to great lengths to be a “witness” for Christ without actually developing relationships with people. The ineffectiveness of such evangelism is understandable. Sadly such gimmicks have become acceptable substitutes for evanglism.
2) Many Christians seem to have given very little thought to what it means to be “worldly”. It is not the tackiness of the products that makes them worldly, but the values and thought-process that leads to the production of this…, uh, stuff, that reflects worldliness.
3) We need a serious reappraisal of our priorities. Christian kitsch is a $7-billion per year industry. What impact could be made toward the alleviation of poverty, illiteracy, AIDS and other health issues, if we invested that money directly? How long would it take to plant churches among the reamaining UnReached People Groups and translate the scriptures into the languages of those Peoples at a rate of $7-billion per year? And that’s how much cash we would free up just by passing up on stuff that no one needs, and few could possibly really want.