Friday, January 15, 2010

Salvation on the Small Screen?

*UPDATE: For those expecting a rant about Pat Robertson's latest inane comments, sorry to disappoint you. That would be way too easy. "Look, a barrel of fish! Where's my gun?"

While browsing my Google Reader's recommendations page, I came across one Nadia Bolz-Weber, pastor and author of the blog Sarcastic Lutheran. At first I was like, "Okay, tattooed female Emerging/Lutheran pastor . . . interesting." But the more I read, the more I realized that she has some amazing insights into the Scriptures.

Recently I began reading her book Salvation on the Small Screen?: 24 Hours of Christian Television. The book is a collection of her observations while watching Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) for twenty-four straight hours.

That's a brave woman!

Naturally there are a lot of swipes at TBN's prosperity preachers (Joel Olsteen, Paula White) and apocalyptic fundamentalists (John Hagee, Hal Lindsey). Here are some of my favorite observations:

"[On John Hagee] In just five minutes we've gotten the crippling of the U.S. economy, nuclear holocaust in Israel and the United States, and the end of Western civilization. Is this guy available for children's parties?" (Page 36)

"[On 'Believer's Voice of Victory'] This is Rhonda Byrne's 'The Secret' evangelical style. Just believe and it will come to you." (Page 48)

"[On 'Ancient Secrets of the Bible'] Trying to prove scientifically the historical accuracy of events in the Bible is to faith what having your spouse under twenty-four-hour video surveillance is to marital trust." (Page 91)

The book isn't all snarkiness, though. In fact, at one point Bolz-Weber wonders "if the Word of God can be proclaimed in my preaching . . . as deeply flawed as I am, then on some level I have to allow for the possibility that the healing of God can come through a charlatan like Benny Hinn." I personally think she's more biblical than Hinn, but she might have a point.

Overall the book is clever, well-written, and hilarious. I just hope she never has to suffer through Jan Crouch's drag queen wig again in her life.


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  2. I just know I am going to enjoy this book when I get it!