Acuff, Jonathan. Stuff Christians Like. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010.
Admittedly, I was nervous to read this book. I had seen and read my share of in-house Christian satire and found most of it unhelpful, even spiteful. It’s easy to make fun of interpretive dance, church potlucks, framed Bible verses, homeschooling families—all the things that are presumably “uncool” about segments of evangelical culture.
In Stuff Christians Like, Jon Acuff chooses instead to satirize the things we think are cool. For example, rather than making fun of fundamentalists, he makes fun of those who make fun of fundamentalists. Instead of satirizing Christians who are conservative in their television watching, he jokes about those who watch Family Guy in order to be “culturally relevant.”
Jon is a pastor’s kid in his mid-thirties who lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife and two daughters. After working for years in advertising, he has recently joined the Financial Peace organization headed by the well known Dave Ramsey.
I spent a weekend reading this book (yes, when I should have been studying), and I laughed more than I had in months. Jon has a gift for observation and a nose for irony. I, for one, am certainly guilty of complaining about not being “fed” at church, watching R-rated movies . . . but only if they’re violent, finding typos in the worship music, and maybe even judging people who use the table of contents in their Bible. The book also includes an analysis of the seven people you’ll meet in a prayer circle, a guide for what kind of meals require prayer, and a 47-point quiz to see how metrosexual your worship leader is. In the midst of all the comedy, the book is quite insightful, lovingly pointing out our hypocrisies, misplaced priorities, and unbelief. Jon’s love for the church and compassion for the individual Christian are overwhelmingly apparent.
If you need a break from overanalyzing complex issues, I suggest that you curl up with this book, willing to laugh at yourself and maybe even to relearn some of the simple truths of the gospel. And more specifically, if what you’re learning in your classes is making it increasingly difficult not to be critical of your church experience, you’ll benefit from the fresh perspective that Jon Acuff brings.
Stuff Christians Like is available in the Regent bookstore. You can also check out Jon’s blog at stuffchristianslike.net.