Rapture Ready!, an outsider’s tour of many facets of evangelical Christian culture was entertaining and informative, lucidly and sometimes even beautifully written. I already knew about the existence of the near-oxymoronic music genre Christian black metal and Left Behind novels, but I had no clue about Christian wrestling or superheroes like Bibleman. Depending on how outside your own perspective is, you may find it in places laugh-out-loud funny, enraging, or even horrifying. My highest praise is that I found it genuinely illuminating: it’s changed the way I think. Now I see how evangelicals can feel threatened by secular culture at the same time I can feel threatened by evangelical culture. Public school curricula influenced by a powerful religious lobby? Still makes me see red. But I better understand how deeply offensive and alienating, for instance, a campaign fundraising letter referring to the “damn election” can be. I even get how looking through a certain set of cultural lenses could suggest a vast anti-Christian conspiracy.
Radosh winds up with an impassioned plea for us all to get along a little better, to let our better natures triumph over our tendency to exclude the “other.” Unfortunately his book has some back-sliding; he’s not above the occasional cheap shot. I read those with mixed emotions; on the one hand, they were often very funny to me, but I can easily imagine them closing doors in the minds of any evangelicals who might read Rapture Ready! to gain insight into how evangelical culture is viewed from the outside. Which is a bit of a shame, but not enough of a detriment to prevent me highly recommending the book.
needs more demons? Not only does it not need more demons, it makes me wonder how the tongue-in-cheek name of this blog could itself offend and alienate some potential readers. But on the other hand, I probably write about a lot of books anyone easily offended by the name wouldn’t care for, anyway.