Satirical Reading

If you are Emergent or Reformed, you should read these two books by Ted Cluck and Zach Bartels:

Kinda Christianity: A Generous, Fair, Organic, Free-Range Guide to Authentic Realness

Younger, Restlesser, Reformeder: A Good Natured Roast

Both will have you rolling if you are familiar with these movements. Note that the Kindle editions are significantly cheaper.

If you are a Dispensationalist, you really must read N.D. Wilson's Right Behind

If you are a general evangelical Christian, Acuff's Stuff Christians Like is hilarious.

If you are not a fan of satire, don't get any of these!

A Book for Grown-Ups

"There is no need to worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of 'Heaven' ridiculous by saying they do not want 'to spend eternity playing harps'. The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them. All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold, etc.) is, of course, a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible. Musical instruments are mentioned because for many people (not all) music is the thing known in the present life which most strongly suggests ecstasy and infinity. Crowns are mentioned to suggest the fact that those who are united with God in eternity share His splendor and power and joy. gold is mentioned to suggest the timelessness of Heaven (gold does not rust) and the preciousness of it. People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like does, He meant that we were to lay eggs."

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 114.

You've Been Left Behind

The eternal salvation of your friends and family is very important. So, just in case you are too busy or ashamed to share the gospel, and just in case Rapture Letters drops the ball, you better have a back-up plan. Here is where You've Been Left Behind comes in. It is similar to Rapture Letters, but with these guys, you get to write the letter to you lost friend or family member. But you should know that it will cost $40 per year. From their website:

"We all have family and friends who have failed to receive the Good News of the Gospel.The unsaved will be 'left behind' on earth to go through the "tribulation period" after the "Rapture". You remember how, for a short time, after (9/11/01) people were open to spiritual things and answers. (We are still singing "God Bless America" at baseballs' seventh inning stretch.) Imagine how taken back they will be by the millions of missing Christians and devastation at the rapture. They will know it was true and that they have blown it. There will be a small window of time where they might be reached for the Kingdom of God. We have made it possible for you to send them a letter of love and a plea to receive Christ one last time. You can also send information based on scripture as to what will happen next. Each fulfilled prophecy will cause your letter and plea to be remembered and a decision to be made."

Rapture Letters

Once you have made sure that Toodles will be taken care of during the tribulation, you may now want to consider your lost friends and family. This is where Rapture Letters comes in! So the rapture comes and you haven't quite got around to being faithful in sharing the gospel with those you care for, don't worry. Its not too late! From the website:

"After the rapture, there will be a lot of speculation as to why millions of people have just disappeared. Unfortunately, after the rapture, only non believers will be left to come up with answers. You probably have family and friends that you have witnessed to and they just won't listen. After the rapture they probably will, but who will tell them?
We have written a computer program to do just that. It will send an Electronic Message (e-mail) to whomever you want after the rapture has taken place, and you and I have been taken to heaven.
How is this accomplished, you might ask. It's a dead man switch that will automatically send the emails when it is not reset.If you wish to do something now that will help your unbelieving friends and family after the rapture, you need to add those persons email address to our database. Their names will be stored indefinitely and a letter will be sent out to each of them on the first Friday after the rapture. Then they will receive another letter every Friday after that.This rapture letter service is FREE and will hopefully gain the person you send it to an eternity in heaven."

Here is what the letter will look like. So don't worry about being faithful in evangelism now, after all, that could have negative consequences. Instead, let Rapture Letters do it for you. Besides, they are more likely to convert during the tribulation anyway, right?

Toodles & the Tribulation

Are you a dog-loving dispensationalist? Do you enjoy cuddling with your kitten while watching Kirk Cameron? Have you ever wondered if you could grab Toodles the poodle as you are being raptured so you can bring him with you? If so, "Eternal Earth-Bound Pets" is for you. From their site:

"You've committed your life to Jesus. You know you're saved. But when the Rapture comes what's to become of your loving pets who are left behind? Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind. We are a group of dedicated animal lovers, and atheists. Each Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you've received your reward. Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus.We are currently active in 22 states. Our representatives have been screened to ensure that they are atheists, animal lovers, are moral / ethical with no criminal background, have the ability and desire to rescue your pet and the means to retrieve them and ensure their care for your pet's natural life.

Our service is plain and simple; our fee structure is reasonable. For $110.00 we will guarantee that should the Rapture occur within ten (10) years of receipt of payment, one pet per residence will be saved. Each additional pet at your residence will be saved for an additional $15.00 fee. A small price to pay for your peace of mind and the health and safety of your four legged and feathered friends."

Now, I must admit I am jealous I didn't think of this idea first. If I had, my seminary tuition would have been easily covered, sadly. Wow.

(Props: Beebz)

Evangelical Subculture

I am very interested in the surrounding culture's view of evangelicalism. This being the case, I am always looking out for articles, books, and movies dealing with (or usually mocking) the Christian subculture. Sadly, usually the secular world is right on. I love going to bookstores, but usually get nauseous when visiting mainstream Christian bookstores. Anyway, all that to say, read this review by Hanna Rosin of Daniel Radosh's recent book, "Rapture Ready: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture." Here is an excerpt:

A Christian friend who'd grown up totally sheltered once wrote to me that the first time he heard a Top 40 station he was horrified, and not because of the racy lyrics: "Suddenly, my lifelong suspicions became crystal clear," he wrote. "Christian subculture was nothing but a commercialized rip-off of the mainstream, done with wretched quality and an apocryphal insistence on the sanitization of reality."
For more, see:
And from a Christian perspective:
All of David Wells' books. Wells is a little more difficult to read, but does a great job of applying Refomed theology to contemporary culture (a sociological systematic theology).