Humor is tricky business. For one thing, tastes vary. Some like it dry, with hints of cherry and oaken undertones. Some prefer a pie in the face. It's no small feat to find a humor groove that consistently connects with millions of laughter lovers world wide, but that's exactly what Jonathan Acuff has managed to do -- first with his popular blog, Stuff Christians Like, and now with his recently released book by the same name.
Unless this post is your first exposure to me and/or my writing, chances are you already know I love to laugh, I give points to anyone who makes me laugh out loud, and I spend an inordinate amount of time searching for people to give those points to. Discovering SCL was like finding the Old Faithful of humor blogs, guaranteed to erupt in a daily deluge of points. Indeed, if points were raindrops, Jon Acuff would need an Ark. If points were gumdrops*, Jon Acuff would need a dentist. Jon Acuff is funny. And he's a good writer. And a deep thinking Christian. And I really think you should buy his book.
Some may ask, "Why should I buy the book if I can get my laughs reading his blog?"
Good question. And I have a good answer.
But first, a book review. I read Stuff Christians Like on an airplane. This was both a good and a bad idea. Good, because four hours of cramped discomfort was transformed to a mental romp through a fun house of church-related absurdities. Bad, because I wore myself out trying to keep my laughter under control. My poor seatmates probably thought I was having convulsions. (Great ab workout, though. Another reason to buy the book.)
Here's the thing I love about Jon's humor. He makes fun of the church, but he manages to include the whole church (and himself) in the joke. It's like we're all one big family, and he's the lovable kid brother who can get away with pointing out our quirks, because a.) we know he's right, and b.) he has them, too. He lets us see our silliness without belittling us in the process.
Satire and sarcasm are hard to do well without stepping on toes, and some Christian humorists don't even try. They outright mock segments of the church, coming across as superior and judgmental. Only those who agree with them are amused. I suppose they think they're showing the world that there are Christians who aren't as (choose your kool-aid flavor) as others. But does an unbelieving world really need to see us throwing darts at each other? How much better if they see us all laughing at our shared imperfections and choosing to love each other in spite of them.
This is what Jon does so well. He takes Christian culture and filters it through his crazy brain, and you end up with gems like a "how metrosexual is your worship leader?" checklist, or a break down on different styles of hand raising, complete with illustrations. (I tend to limit myself to The Pound Cake, but if you're a Double High Fiver, I'm pretty sure we can still have fellowship.) If you've been in the church for any length of time, you'll find yourself in this book. With pie on your face. And you'll love it.
Which brings me to the real reason I think you should buy at least one copy. It's the perfect gift for that friend, relative, or co-worker who thinks that Christians are stodgy sticks in the mud who take themselves too seriously. They'll see that we're not only aware of our idiosyncrasies, we find them funny. And in the process, they'll also glimpse the goodness and grace of God, because He's in there, too, abiding between the lines. He's patiently waiting while we trip over our own feet in our efforts to know and worship Him.
Oh, and He's probably laughing.
Here's Jon's book:
You can buy it here. (Or anywhere else awesome books are sold.)
*Points actually can become gumdrops! All you have to do is click your ruby slippers three times while singing the chorus of "I'm Trading My Sorrows." Then post the video on YouTube. You won't be sorry. I won't either.
Jeanne Damoff sincerely hopes you'll buy this book. She also sincerely hopes you'll strive to earn lots of points. Think of the joy, delight, and ab workout you'll give her. Think of the gumdrops! (Yes, Lord, yes, Lord, yes, yes, Lord . . .)