Matthew Paul Turner
By taking a hilarious look at the peculiarities and churchisms that have been added to this thing called Christianity, The Christian Culture Survival Guide leaves you with a knowing smile and the reassurance that true faith is only found in Jesus…not in the gift aisle at the Heaven Sent Christian Bookstore.
One of the greatest gifts that the Holy Spirit hath bestowed upon me is the ability to find satire and parody within the Christian culture in which I haplessly dwell. I hate to say it, but we do tend to make it rather easy, almost self-parody at times. And it’s hard enough trying to remain graceful to my fellow followers of Christ Jesus, and still point out the utter ridiculousness we produce in the name of Sanctified Pop Culture. But, as much as we want to confess otherwise, we do have our own sacred cows, and I happen to find they make the best cheeseburgers. And I’m really not the only one.
Which brings us to Matthew Paul Turner’s first publication, The Christian Culture Survival Guide. I first discovered this in an add within the pages of Relevant Magazine back when it was first released. The title and description struck me as being by someone who possibly shared the same sense of humor I have about these things. And, as it turns out, yeah he does; I just didn’t get around to picking up this book until years later, when I stumbled across it in the shelves of the oft-mentioned Half Price Books. By then, I was well acquainted with Turner’s blog, Jesus Needs New PR, and have read his memoir Churched. So I nabbed the copy, and proceeded to read the entire thing in a few hours.
Yeah, The Christian Culture Survival Guide isn’t what you would call deeply theological, but that really isn’t a slam. It’s a complement, actually; Turner writes in a very accessible conversational style, telling stories and observations about the topic at hand, having been involved within CCM and witnessing things first-hand, showing a wry sense of humor that’s playfully biting but never nasty. There are several side-bars and notes within the chapters, as it’s layout is one of those hip hyper-kinetic styles that leaves me wondering if it was intentionally trying to ape the style of those youth group workbooks that I’ve seen back in the 1990s.
In any case, The Christian Culture Survival Guide is funny, spot-on and something everyone should read. At the very least, it should be issued to every kid in every youth group in America.