Wednesday, July 28, 2010

God Told Me To Review @GodMadeMeDoIt

A couple of months ago, I shared about a book I found (er, God led me to) that told of the wondrous things He tells people to do. After being given the revelation of the existence of this tome, God then told me to review it. God told the author and his publicist to grant me a review copy. And so today you get a review.

Marc Hartzman does a much better job at humor than I do in God Made Me Do It. The premise is summarized in the subtitle: "True stories of the worst advice the Lord has ever given his followers." In 1-2 page vignettes, Hartzman summarizes tales of times people have used God as an excuse to do a variety of things. The book is a sort of Darwin Awards of God's advice.

As a Christian, I don't think God actually told people to do these things. As I'm sure Hartzman was well aware, I bet some people could be offended by his sarcasm. He does include some high-profile people in his work (particularly from the prosperity gospel tradition).

However, I saw nothing blasphemous in this book. In contrast, I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it if you enjoy this kind of humor. I would suggest reading only a few stories at a time, though. I read many more than that at one point, and they stopped being as entertaining, so I think they're more effective on the humor side in the short-term.

My reaction to reading more at once may be telling of another, perhaps unintended message of this book: I kept thinking, "This is really sad." In fact, it is sad how much we, as a society, use God to explain things we want. And how much we accept that from others without really challenging those comments. Granted, it's hard to challenge.

But perhaps this book is not just useful for its humor: Perhaps it can remind us that we really need to get back to truly listening to God and knowing what he will and will not say. I guess that is a function of humor--it lets us look at something with a fresh eye with less defensiveness involved.

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