BOOK REVIEW - Churched (and e-book giveaway)

churched, jesus needs new PR, matthew, paul, turner, MPT, book, review, christian, christianity, baptist, methodist, pentecostal, apostolic, jesus, blog, post, book, review, giveaway, kindle, ereader, ipad, technology, free For anyone who grew up in evangelical Christianity, reading the stories of Matthew Paul Turner (Twitter link) will bring the memories flooding back. His funny storytelling, weaving tales of his childhood as he tells his story of spiritual growth and development.

I first came to know of MPT through his blog, Jesus Needs New PR, where MPT posts some of the absurdities of the very diverse, very amusing body of Christ. He pushes the envelope and holds some views that, undoubtedly, people will find offensive, but he's always raising a serious point - if these are the people who are supposed to be representing Christ in this world, then, seriously, Jesus needs new PR.

At any rate, I downloaded Churched: One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess onto my Kindle, and while I didn't read it straight through, I did open it from time to time - usually in the evenings before bed - to read a chapter or two and have a good laugh.

MPT begins his memoir by recounting the story of moving from a Methodist church to a Fundamental Baptist Church. As he said, "[Mom] and Dad had come to the conclusion that God wasn't attending our old church and it didn't make sense to go to a place even God didn't want to go to." Funny stuff.

Churched is a great read. I definitely recommend it. Below are a couple of excerpts that I found especially hilarious:

On the Second Coming:

The way we saw things, it didn't matter that God had created the heavens and the earth--he did not want us excited about living here. A good fundamentalist worth his weight in guilt was quick to remind any skeptic that the world was going to hell in a handbasket.

On Clean Living:

I did learn on thing about having Jesus as a bodily tenant: he would not tolerate cigarette smoke. Mr. Parsons, the assistant pastor in charge of children's ministries, made that perfectly clear.

"Do you want to give Jesus cancer?" His voice was gruff and he put his hands on his hips. "Well, do you? Think about it, young people. Do you want to be the person responsible for giving God's Son cancer? Or how about emphysema?"

After his talk, Mr. Parsons stood at the door, shook our hands, and gave us Hershey bars. Jesus didn't mind getting fat.

On Salvation:

"Matthew Turner was one of two boys who asked Jesus into their hearts this morning," said Pastor Nolan during the announcements at church. "Four years old! Wow. I wish I'd known Jesus when I was four. Imagine what kind of Christian he's going to be when he becomes an adult. Can't wait to see that."

Again, it's a great book. You can buy it on for Kindle or in paper. For those of you who have a Kindle (or a Kindle app) and would like to read Churched, I have a single copy I can share. Comment on this blog and let me know, and we'll work to get the copy sent to you.

Digital Literature

I'm a book guy. The best gift that ANYONE, ANYTIME, can get me, is books. Or, better yet, a gift card to, so I can buy my own books. I love to read, I love to have books, I love to smell books. I dream of reaching a point in my life that I can have a room, a big room, with bookshelves on all the walls, from floor to ceiling, a desk, comfortable chairs, and plenty of good lighting, that I can dedicate to reading, studying, and writing. That's my dream. I love books.

At one point, I didn't like the idea of digital literature, whether it be in the form of books online to read at a computer or the new digital readers from Sony, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. But, I've reconsidered, and I think I want a Kindle.

I say all that to introduce the topic of digital literature. There was a segment today on the Diane Rehm Show about the digitizing of books and the growing popularity of the eReaders. They offer great ease, especially for someone who has several books they want access to at a time - the Amazon Kindle, for instance, can hold about 15,000 books on it. I'm thinking college textbooks. How great would it be to not have to lug books to all your classes, but download a digital version instead?

Also, I wonder, will there be a development similar to the iTunes movie rental program, where you can "rent" the book for a month or so and then have it removed at the end of that period of time. I think these could be great steps in advancing eReading platforms.

And, Mom, I want an Amazon Kindle for Christmas.