How to be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living is a satirical book about how to attain complete sanctification this side of eternity. By the folks at the Babylon Bee (a satirical Christian news site), this book lives up to their usual method of using humor to make a point, only this time, instead of a small news snippet, you get a whole book full of pointed humor. Having enjoyed much of their writing already I thought that it would be interesting to see how it would work in a book.
And it works quite well. The book gives you a step by step process of becoming completely perfect. Guiding you in the process of choosing the right church, explaining how you can 'worship like a pro', what type of standards you should have, and how you ought to make sure that you are always confirming to the most current mainstream Christian beliefs.
At the end of most of the chapters is a 'Holiness Tracker 5000" chart, showing your progress in the scale of Christian 'growth'. As you read the book you will find your progress in holiness rising fast, starting from the lower levels of Satan, Rob Bell and Benny Hinn, you'll rise through the ranks of Luther, Apostle Paul, Tim Tebow…etc. There are also some charts and a few pictures scattered through the book. I thought that their sample Gospel 'tract' was sadly hilarious.
The book is filled with section after section giving you spiritual 'growth' pointers, they'll explain many ways that you can become holier than other people (sounding serious, but of course, they're actually mocking that mindset). For instance, did you know that your devotional times don't count with God unless you post announcements that you are having them on social media sites, along with pictures of your Bible, a devotional book and, of course, a cup of coffee? Or here's another one, did you know that the absolute best way to work for God (in His Kingdom on earth, the U.S.A.)is to elect Christian candidates to public office, as we know that we are supposed to establish God's Kingdom through the republican party. God gave us the Gospel "so that we could affect Social Change and win the Culture war".
At times they get a little too flippant in their satire, speaking your "breathing down Jesus' neck" in your holiness progress, we get to "hangout with our homeboy Jesus". Considering that Jesus is God in the flesh, those types of flippant references to Him seems too close to taking His name in vain. Another thing that I felt uncomfortable about is that they also use derivatives exclamations like "heck" and "darn" which are simply other words for Hell and damn*. Yes, I know that these things are done for satirical purposes and I might be acting too picky, it's just that some things I'm not sure that we should do even to make a point.
Having said that, I'll sum up my overall opinion of the book: I liked it pretty well overall. It is amusing and sobering at the same time. Many of the statements are so true in the book that they are hard to find actually funny as they step on everyone's toes, including mine at times. They don't always imply that you should change your methodology as much as prompt you to examine your attitude and reasoning behind that methodology. It makes you examine the motive behind why you do what you do, is it just because it makes me FEEL holy? Is my practice actually biblically derived? Or is it a personal conviction, such as whether I should use the KJV Bible or the NIV? Is worship just a feeling? Is the goal of a church to make people happy and comfortable with themselves? Do I go to church to serve or to be served? All in all, It really makes you think about why we do what we do as Christians.
Many thanks to the folks at Blogging for Books for sending me an Advanced Copy of the book to review (some things about the book may be changed when it is actually published, so my quotations may not match up all of the way.). My review did not have to be favorable.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
You may purchase this book at Christianbook.com and at Amazon.com (*Note, on Amazon I accidentally posted my review under my dad's name as I forgot that my computer was logged into his account)
*I don't think that these are bad words in and of themselves, but we Christians ought not to use the word 'Hell' flippantly because we want people to take it seriously and we want them to know that we do. "Damn it' or 'damn' shouldn’t be used because we do not have the power, or the right to condemn anyone or anything to Hell.