Monday, May 24, 2010
Big Book Read #10
Rapture Ready: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture by Daniel Radosh
Rapture Ready follows author Daniel Radosh on various adventures within the diverse and somewhat misunderstood world of Christian pop culture. What follows is a humorous and insightful look through the eyes of a secular outsider (Radosh describes himself as a humanistic Jew) that is light on mockery and heavy on what I would call an amused understanding. Radosh does not generally speak only with the weirdos (unlike Bill Maher in ‘Religulous’) but also with perfectly normal people. His goal is not to humiliate but to understand. He is honestly curious.
Radosh visits a Christian music festival (where the amount of times a band prays during their set determines how popular they are), a Christian wrestling match, hangs out with Bibleman, goes undercover to take park in a gigantic passion play, and wades through a warehouse full of “Jesus Junk” (Tchotchkes and knickknacks. Think bobblehead Jesus, purity rings, Salvation Challenge board game, etc.). He tries to understand that whole “Left Behind” series (I’m still trying to figure that one out…), learns just how much money Christian bookstores make, listens to a little Christian comedy and walks through a “Hell House” (I won’t even go into how disturbing those things are. Google it.).
Rapture Ready is an insightful, slightly snarky introduction to Christian pop culture. It doesn’t sanitize but looks at it honestly and with humor. Because Radosh is coming into this Christian bubble from the outside I believe he’s best suited to write about the topic. To quote another review:
“One of the pieces of advice you're often given when getting ready to sell your house is to have someone who's never been there come to walk through & look for all the things that need fixing or repainting. There's a reason - you've lived there for so long that you've become used to the imperfections, blemishes & outright broken stuff. Mr. Radosh's book that does just that for Christian pop culture (primarily evangelical pop culture).”
I’d recommend this book for people, like me, who did not grow up in the world of Christian pop culture and for anyone interested in reading about it with a fresh pair of eyes.