You don’t have to be a Christian to read Stuff Christians Like (SCL) and enjoy it. It even says so in the book. This book, written by John Acuff, is a collection of old and new essays from the immensely popular Stuff Christians Like blog. Acuff is a Christian satirist, gifted with remarkable wit and a fantastic sense of humor. In the book he discusses (and stiffly mocks) the many oddities of being a Christian and the strange situations we find ourselves in in our daily lives.
You know you’re in for a ride when the first chapter is titled “Ranking Honeymoon Sex Slightly Greater Than the Second Coming.” And this is only the beginning. Acuff addresses prayer, God, church, work, love, alcohol, friendship, witnessing, metrosexual worship leaders, and practically anything else you can think of. Need to know how to deal with your unruly kids? Check. Looking to find out if your “Christian” friend drinks a little? Check. Need an excuse to watch Family Guy to be culturally relevant? Check.
The best thing about the book, though, was the dead-on sense of humor when dealing with awkward, normal Christian things. Acuff is outlandish and belittling, enough to the point that he’s received hate mail from people thinking he’s serious. His honesty is compelling. He’s never shy about making fun of himself or pointing out the many ways he’s screwed up. The way his mind works (especially when thinking of allegories or metaphors) is hysterical. At one point I burst out laughing so hard that I was afraid people around me would think I was crying.
There are hundreds of little lines that make this book worth reading. Here are a few of my favorites:
Stuff Christians Like: The Book CS Lewis Would Have Written If He Had Been 40% More Sarcastic or 100% Less Dead.
“Judging Fundamentalists for being Judgmental”
…why would I hire a full-time youth minister when I can get a real working traffic light for only $378?
I started thinking about the devil. He’s at home, sitting in a chair by a never ending fire of sulfur and sorrow, eating a deviled egg. He’s reading The DaVinci Code when someone knocks on his door.
Perhaps these don’t seem funny to you, but maybe that’s because you have no context. Trust me. This book is hilarious, and I can’t stress it enough. For anyone who wants a glimpse into the life of an average American Christian, this book does it.
Another appealing thing is the reader can easily see the love Acuff has for God. It’s in the words he writes, but he does it without thumping you over the head. There’s something true about his ministry, and his book/blog are impacting people. Every Wednesday on his blog he does a serious essay, and the Stuff Christians Like book contains a few of these serious essays in the last chapter. All are worth the read.
If this isn’t enough to make you want to read the book, then I’ve got two things left for you. The first is opening of the Introduction: “If you buy this book, God will make you rich.” That alone really should do it. Secondly, if you don’t want to purchase the book, it’s currently available for FREE as an audio download from christianaudio.com. This was what I did. The book is short (a little over 4 hours) and read by the author, who adds in a few extra words and explanations. Also, at the end, he “raps” a chapter, complete with autotune.
So there you have it. And if you already don’t follow the SCL blog, check it out. I really can’t recommend it anymore.