Tuesday, March 30, 2010

‘Stuff Christians Like’ by Jonathan Acuff – Book Review

Buzz this

In my travels across the World Wide Web and the blogosphere – not to mention social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter – I became acquainted with the musings of Jonathan Acuff.  He is the owner of a blog called ‘Stuff Christians Like’ which had half a million readers from 200 countries in a little over a year.  He is now the author of a book by the same name.

Jonathan, the “pastor’s kid with a mind for branding, a sarcastic mouth, and a heart for God, is challenging how we laugh about faith” (as described on the back of the book). 

Here is an example of Jon’s interesting worldview!:

Jon is a wacky guy!  

Being in the church his whole life, he has made some interesting observations about Christians.  He asks the question, “So how did we [Christians] get such a bad reputation for being serious 
people?”  His theory – Somber Christian Syndrome:

Somber Christian Syndrome (SCS) is a disease that tells you that to be considered to be a good Christian, you have to be serious all the time.  That to really reach people for God’s kingdom, you have to be holy and reverent, and instead of laughing out loud, you have to quietly remark, “That’s funny.  I see the humor in that situation.  That’s funny.”….
What’s the cure for SCS?  The verses in Matthew suggest putting oil on your head and washing your face [Matthew 6:16].  If that doesn’t work, put some oil on your face and tell people it’s “Sermon Sheen” and that you’re pretending to be a sweaty minister.  Sweaty minister material always kills. (pp. 15-16)

Another example of ‘Stuff Christians Like’ is “Thinking You’re Supposed to Go Into Full-Time Ministry.”  I think we all go through that on occasion; I know I do.  Here’s how Jon describes it:

And here it comes again.  You start to think about how awesome it would be to go into full-time ministry.  Reading the Bible all day and worshipping God at work.  You’ll never feel frustrated or bored because you’d constantly be doing exactly what you were handcrafted by God on high to do.  Then you meet a minister your age.  And he’s all stressed out and having a difficult time making room for God in his life and you think, “What?  You’re a professional Christian.  You’re not supposed to struggle with the things I struggle with.”  But he does, so you stop thinking about going into the ministry full-time.” (p. 29).  

And on it goes!

Jon also describes the Seven People You Meet in a Prayer Circle (pp. 53-56):

1.   The Opener
2.   The Almost-er
3.   The Rambler
4.   The Cave-In
5.   The Gunslinger
6.   The Shot Blocker
7.   The Closer

He also comes up with some alternatives to the Hedge of Protection, which he thinks is “slow growing, easily jumped, not nearly enough protection for these crazy times” (pp. 68-70):
  •          A Beaded Curtain of Wasps
  •          A Trampoline Moat of Lions
  •          A Rugby Scrum of Angels
I think my favorite part of the book is how Jon confessed to God that he wanted to be famous – and God’s response:

One night while jogging, I confessed that to God.  As ugly and as shallow as that sounds, I said to him, “God, I want my story to bring me fame.  I want fame.  I want to be famous.”
In a split second, I felt like God laughed. Not AT me, but WITH me, which is something I feel like he regularly does.  In my heart, I heard:
“Ha!  You want fame?  The creator of the universe knows your name.  The Alpha and Omega knows who you are and what you care about.  That’s as famous as you’re ever going to be.  Whose acknowledgement of you is going to stand up next to mine?”
…Is whatever you’re doing right now in life going to make you famous?  Maybe it will, maybe it won’t.  But ultimately it doesn’t matter.  As Christians, we’ve already peaked.  We can stop worrying about trying to become famous Christians.  That’s done.
We are all famous.  (p. 195)

 I really love Jon’s heart – and his sense of humor knows no bounds!  I look forward to continuing to read his thoughts on his blog and seeing the sequel to this book!

Jonathan, with his wife and two daughters, lives in Alpharetta Georgia and attends North Point Community Church, the megachurch founded by Andy Stanley.  In addition to writing the blog and the book, he has spent the last 11 years writing to clients such as his church and Home Depot. 

You can order this book here.

This book was provided to me by Zondervan Press for review purposes. 

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