July 17, 2010

Stuff Christians Like: an Audiobook Review


I've been thinking for a while how I would approach reviewing Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff. To begin with, listening to an audiobook always feels a little awkward (this is only the third one I've ever listened to), and Acuff's book is not exactly one that would normally be grouped with the books I usually read (John Piper, John MacArthur, CJ Mahaney, etc.)

However, I say neither of these things to discredit Acuff or say that I disliked it. To the contrary, as an overall statement I enjoyed Stuff Christians Like immensely. It had me laughing and thinking deeply about some things that deserve much thought. But before I get into that more, let me express the purpose of this book.

In his book, Jon Acuff uses satire as a means of communicating the absurdity of certain things that Christians do, or that are associated with Christians. And he does this as a Christian, often poking as much fun at himself (if not more so) than others. Acuff uses his satire expertly, in such a way that he is able to disarm the reader (or listener, in my case) and present a side of an issue that they might not otherwise listen to. However, there was at least one time when listening to the audiobook when I was confused as to what Acuff was trying to defend. Also, one caveat I would give is that, once or twice, I feel that I would have used different words or language than he used in the book. But I maintain that any such language was minimal.

For all the sarcasm and the laughs that came from it, at times, I was saddened by some of the things Acuff pointed out. It is unfortunate that Christians are perceived in certain negative lights. But it is especially unfortunate that Christians are perceived this way often because these things are true.

The final chapter of this book, in my opinion, was the most helpful. In it, Acuff puts aside the sarcasm and bares his heart for all to see. Much of what he says in that chapter resonates with my own soul, and how I too often rely on and love Christ too little, and depend on myself too much.

Ultimately, I am thankful for what God has taught me through Jonathan Acuff in this book. It was good to let down my guard enough to be able to laugh at myself and the foolish things I (and others) try to do to impress others or earn favor with God. I recommend this book to you if you can spare your pride long enough to read it (or listen).

NOTE: I would recommend listening to this book rather than reading it for two reasons. 1) There is something about hearing the author's sarcastic, satirical tone that is simply irreplaceable. 2) There are a few points throughout the book where Acuff stops reading for a few minutes to give background or extra information regarding what he is saying.

2 comments:

John8com said...

Acuff is just a little too glib for my tastes, and I'm suspicious of how far you can get with a ministry that's predicated on poking fun of Christian culture rather than exalting a risen Christ.

I'm not saying that Acuff doesn't love Jesus or anything, only that the thrust of his ministry is more entertainment driven than Gospel driven.Good review. Peace.

Brad

Daniel said...

Thank you for your comment. I have to admit that as much as I enjoyed this book, I couldn't take in a steady diet of it. Part of the reason I liked the end of the book so much was that he showed more than his sarcastic side.

That being said, I felt the book was helpful in pointing to some very real problems that I need to think more about, and to that extent I appreciated what he said.

Thanks for your gracious comment,
Daniel

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