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Rapture Ready!: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture Hardcover – Apr 8 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (April 8 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743297709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743297707
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.2 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #926,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Praise for "Rapture Ready" "Daniel Radosh writes about evangelical culture with brilliance, humor, and understanding. Everyone should read this book." --A.J. Jacobs, author of "The Know-It-All" and "The Year of Living Biblically" "A rich exploration of the realm . . . Reading Radosh's book is like coming across another planet hidden somewhere on Earth where everything is just exactly like it is here except blue or made out of plastic." --"Slate" "Radosh is open about his own biases and shortcomings, and responds with astonishing intellectual and emotional honesty to the people and ideas he encounters." --"The Boston Globe Magazine" Praise for Daniel Radosh: "Radosh has the astute sense of a journalist and the evocative humor of a stand-up comic." --"Publishers Weekly" "Entertaining, often enlightening . . . Radosh takes his role of reporter in an unfamiliar land seriously, yet he isn't afraid to use his well-honed wit to good advantage." --"Booklist" "What happens when a secular liberal enters a conservative Christian subculture? Yes, he's grossed out at times, appalled at least once, amused sometimes, and cussin' mad at other times--and maybe even a little scared on occasion. But in the end, he offers evaluations and insights that might be considered downright prophetic, and compassionate too. No evangelical insider could have down as good a job as Daniel Radosh. He's a witty, energetic, and insightful writer who grabs your attention and interest on page one and won't let go until he's escorted you to a powerful conclusion in the final paragraphs." --Brian McLaren, author of "A New Kind of Christian" and "Everything Must Change" "Radosh has discovered a world that is hilarious, unpredictable, and lucrative! It seems there's a foreign country in America and it's right down the street . . . and now I'm not so sure that I'm not the foreigner." --Sam Seder, Air America Radio "This book . . . deserves t --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It all began with a Christian salesman and a wife who applied make-up by the metric ton; Jim and Tammy Faye Baker. The PTL organization felt that the religion that they held so dear could be commericialized and sold to both the Christian and secular public. Due to the scandels that arose around them, their dream quickly crumbled. But its impetus was taken up by countless entrepreneurs who quickly took up the Baker mantle. Thirty years later we have a cacophony of clanging Christian symbols that go from well done professional works to the ridiculous "Jesus junk". The theme through all of these changes remains the same, however; Christian separatism and their spiritual superiority over all other religious concepts. The range includes Christian apolgetics and works of fiction, Christian praise bands, rave dances, creationist theme parks, and abstinance education to include a few.

"Will the concept of secularizing Christianity work in the long range?" is the question the author attempts to answer throuhout his text. My sense is that it probably will not. Anytime you mix two things together, neither one of them remains the same, they both change. In this instance secular society has changed to a small degree through the quasi acceptance of pop-Christianity into its mix. Christianity, on the other hand, if it maintains its path down this road, will change significantly. The period of the peaceful, holy little church in the valley will be gone. It will be replaced by religious extravaganzas that are more confrontive and egotistical than humble and spiritual. The author shows that the percentage of young adults who turn away from the church remains at 65%. This is in spite of the pop-Christian campaign to reach a population they feel is critical to the church's future.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one amazing read. I recommend it to anyone, christian or non christian, for its well researched information and Radosh's witty style. It is full of surprising and interesting facts and the author provides background information to help the reader understand the context of all that's described in it. There's a webpage where the reader can see photos and videos of many of the things described in the book. It is written in a conciliatroy style with the purpose of bringing cultures closer. The research and effort that's been put into it is invaluable.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 48 reviews
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Surprisingly complex April 11 2008
By David Coulter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up last night expecting an entertaining, snarky take on evangelical Christians and the sometimes very strange pop culture artifacts they've produced. Daniel Radosh provided that, but when I put the book down at one in the morning, I'd been through something much more valuable. What I'd expected was a "Wow, Christians sure are wacky!" tone. And while Radosh certainly encounters plenty of colorful characters (from the Christian professional wrestling troupe to the Christian superhero Bibleman), he's much more interested in really communicating with people and trying to understand where they're coming from.

Radosh's book embraces a complex, nuanced view of evangelical culture, and argues that secular liberals may have much more in common with at least some Christians than they would imagine. For every narrow-minded fundamentalist or weird, misguided extremist, there's a surprise: the encounter with Christian thriller writer Frank Peretti will come as particularly unexpected for anyone who grew up reading his books.

Whether you're a Christian who wants some perspective on the outside world might see you or a non-Christian who wants to see what makes them tick, this book is a must-read. I think it could be a really valuable tool for establishing common ground for a dialogue between the two groups.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Enlightening, engaging, and entertaining May 16 2008
By Justin G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I must confess that I bought Daniel Radosh's book Rapture Ready hoping he would deliver a cynical expose on the Christian pop culture industry. I grew up in an evangelical Christian home and as such received my fair share of Christian rock cassettes, David & Goliath action figures, and Bible-themed comic books. Without fail, these sanitized versions never held up to their "secular" counterparts and it always seemed like the whole Christian pop culture industry was based on the imitation, if not outright theft of, other people's ideas, products and logos.

On some levels, Rapture Ready is the cynical analysis of the industry I was hoping for. I think it's impossible for an outsider to look at this kind of industry without a certain wry amusement. I was surprised, though, at just how even handed Radosh's approach was. He talked to people involved at every level (musicians, pastors, writers, fans, critics, etc.) and presented an array of opinions. Radosh doesn't hesitate to point out the flaws, inconsistencies, and downright absurdities of the products, performances, and not so hidden agendas he encounters, but he does it without any malicious intent. He's just as likely to draw attention to the things he finds admirable or effective. Some of his observations are laugh out loud funny, and some deeply personal, but all are well thought out and well written.

Rapture Ready is a great (though no doubt frightening at times) primer for outsiders on the fascinating "parallel universe of Christian pop culture", but more than that the observations and insights presented by both the author and the people he encounters really should be read by anyone who produces or consumes Christian pop culture.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining and Insightful April 7 2008
By Jacob Freydont Attie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is the rare bird that will have you laughing out loud often and stopping to think more than a few times, too. The author has done what alot of us would like to do, but don't dare; go undercover into christian fundamentalist culture. He's not out to risk his life, but is more interested in exploring the dichotomies between the ascetic lifestyle of Jesus, and the much marketed christianity of today. He exposes many hypocrisies, but what is more interesting is seeing how capitalism and big money corporations are manipulating Christians for their own ends. I think most readers of this book will be like myself, pretty much lefties looking for a good laugh, well you'll get that, but you'll also find some surprises that will make you question your own presumptions about christian "wackos." The book is really well written and moves along quite nicely, you'll be sad when it's over!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Rapture Ready! April 11 2008
By Robert Groppe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. My favorite chapters were the Passion play and the pro-wrestling chapter. I laughed out loud when the Christian pro-wrestler explained that their policy has always been to "not bleed on purpose" (p.241).

I was raised without religion, so my perspective is admittedly skewed, but it is shocking to me that many of these products are conceived, and more importantly consumed, in earnest. Bibleman? Christian theme parks (excuse me, "themed ministry")? Pastel bibles for women? Christian pro-wrestling? It sounds like the making of a great South Park episode. But it's all real, and well worth reading about.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Peering Under the Edge of the Evangelical Bubble May 22 2010
By Mark Jackson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Daniel Radosh is NOT an evangelical - in fact, he's a Humanistic Jew (his own description) - which for the purposes of this book is a very good thing. One of the pieces of advice you're often given when getting ready to sell your house is to have someone who's never been there come to walk through & look for all the things that need fixing or repainting. There's a reason - you've lived there for so long that you've become used to the imperfections, blemishes & outright broken stuff. Mr. Radosh's book that does just that for Christian pop culture (primarily evangelical pop culture).

I was impressed with the breadth of his knowledge, his willingness to have his pre-conceived notions corrected (or confirmed), and his sense of humor. (Honestly, we evangelicals are a pretty funny bunch sometimes... and occasionally even on purpose.) Particularly interesting is his interview with Frank Peretti & Ted Dekker.

He deals with Jesus junk, CCM, passion plays, Bibleman, Hell Houses, the sad state of Christian fiction, niche marketing for Bibles, "Left Behind" (and not kindly, which I wholeheartedly approve!), abortion politics, Christian comedians (including lots of time w/Dan Rupple), creation science museums, abstinence education & Christian sex therapy... even Christian wrestling. He admits that his coverage isn't exhaustive, but it's still pretty darn good.

His confrontation at Cornerstone with the volunteer at the Rock for Life booth should be required reading for every pro-life person... and I'm one of those people. Daniel Radosh does an amazing job of pointing out one of our biggest blind spots - the very accusation we make (that pro-choice folks treat babies/people as objects) is all too often the way we treat those who do things we think are wrong - we objectify them as "the enemy".

There's really only one clunker chapter in the book - his "fake interview" with Stephen Baldwin reads more like "I'm ticked at this guy for standing me up" than "I've found a humorous way to deal with the fact that Mr. Baldwin is kind of a knucklehead."

Some warnings for those who've lived inside the Christian bubble: the language here can be pretty raw - both from Mr. Radosh & from the folks he's interviewing. There are going to be theological & political things that you disagree with espoused both by the author & by some of the folks he talks to. If you don't like the way your faith is expressed being challenged, this book will make you downright uncomfortable.

But, I think you'll be making a mistake if you don't take this book seriously. We need to see ourselves through the eyes of the secular culture - not so we can change our theology or our faith in God, but so we can stop doing things that keep people from hearing the truth of Jesus Christ because our cultural expressions are shouting too loudly.

Some quotes that stuck out to me:

--

"If you are trying to communicate to people, it makes sense that you want to find a common currency, a bridge which you can communicate across." He glanced around. "Now, having said that, you can do it with style or you can do it tackily. But that's true of any endeavor, not just the Christian retailing world."

I nodded. "That's true, but I have to say that from what I've seen, it kind of looks like tacky is winning."

Butcher sighed ruefully. "When you are born again, God gives you a new heart & a new opportunity. He doesn't necessarily give you new taste."

--

Cameron Williams is one of "Left Behind"'s two main heroes. His friends call him Buck, "because they said he was always bucking tradition & authority." The other hero is Rayford Steele, an airline pilot. That's right, Buck Williams & Rayford Steele. There's also Steve Plank, Bruce Barnes & Dirk Burton. Apparently, having a porn star name is enough to keep you from getting raptured.

--

As I discovered when I asked Christians about it, the secular world's continued fascination with LEFT BEHIND is seen as a sign of how out of touch we are with evangelical culture. Imagine thinking that THE REAL WORLD still defined American TV.

--

R.T. asked if he could pray for me, which didn't surprise me. And then he prayed that my book would help Christians see some hard truths about themselves, even if it hurt. Which I hadn't expected at all.

--

Escape from the hard work of thinking about everything was, in fact, one of the main reasons I listened to music. Not only is it all right for Christian kids to want that same avenue of retreat, but more non-Christian kids would do well to develop the kind of critical listening skills that Christians bring to secular music. It is to the great credit of evangelical teens that they aren't as thoughtless as the rest of us about such things.

--

As Christians make their mark on the mainstream, the rest of us will feel their influence. If our response is hostile, it will only... feed the growth of the most mean-spirited strain of Christian pop culture, and mainstream culture will be warped accordingly. But if we are welcoming, we help nurture a form of Christian culture that can in turn enrich our own.

--

NOTE: this review is based on the hardcover edition of the book.


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