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Evangellyfish Hardcover – January 31, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Before I dipped into this novel, I was told it was a satire. What satire? Reading this made me squirm." --Mark Galli, Senior Managing Editor, Christianity Today

"Scathing....Insightful....Hilarious...." --Tim Challies, Author and Book Reviewer, Challies.com

"Wilson's almost medical precision with the human soul makes Evangellyfish a fantastic read." --The American Conservative (May 2012)

About the Author

Douglas Wilson is pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, ID, editor of Credenda/Agenda magazine, former newspaper columnist, and author of over thirty books on a variety of subjects. He has written for The Huffington Post, World, Books & Culture, Christianity Today, and more. He blogs regularly at dougwils.com.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Canon Press; 1st edition (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591280982
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591280989
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,025,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Evangellyfish is a satirical novel about, as the title suggests, evangelical hypocrisy, particularly regarding sex. Being a novel, it reminded me more of Persuasions than Wilson's purely theological works. It read like a combination of P.G. Wodehouse, Flannery O'Connor, and Patrick McManus. Wodehouse on the plot and development front, O'Connor because the characters are orchestrated train wrecks in need of grace, and McManus in the comedy and exuberance department.

Wilson's own pastoral experience, and subsequent knowledge of human nature, enable him to craft characters who accurately and damningly model the psychology of sin. Certain parts were definitely close to home and uncomfortable; I know some of these people, and on occasion *am* some of these people. But while the characters are sinful and self-destructing, the story doesn't end with their need for grace, but continues to the hope of restoration. After the train wreck, there is reconstruction.

Evangellyfish's style is fresh and riotous; not just a few strained, obvious witticisms, but sustained hilarity. Wilson employs a great vocabulary, with Lord of the Rings references, phrases like "a sad, pastoral smile," and words like "foofyness."

Recommended for anyone (especially evangelicals) who would benefit from an example of how Christians can expose their own weaknesses with devastating wit, and offer a practical doctrine of grace as the solution.

Sample quote: "God was supposed to judge you for things you did, not for things you didn't. And he was supposed to do it at the end of the world, not in the middle of your damn...in the middle of your life." (p. 35)
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Format: Hardcover
"Back in Arkansas, we were all good Christians until we got our drivers' licenses. After that we were good pagans. It is the mixing of categories that I find so troublesome" Pg. 102

Evangellyfish is a hilarious (in the true Doug Wilson tongue-in-cheek fashion) look at the modern evangelical church. The book tells the story of the pastor of a megachurch who is caught up in a sex scandal which may or may not actually be true. Parallel to this and providing his commentary is a pastor of a small country church who fits the bill nicely for a modern day Pharisee. The following exchange between the megachurch pastor (Chad) and the Pharisee (John) highlights their interplay perfectly.

Chad was grinning at him with his puffy cheeks and bloodshot eyes. "I knew you'd come," he said, "Guys like you have to come. The better-than-you boys always come. Like the ambulance." Pg. 200

This story by itself, these types of exchanges and Wilson's sense humor make the book a worthy read, however it is the issues that the author is exploring on a deeper level that help this novel to stand out from the rest. This book is written in such a way that whether you are the Pharisee or the Immoral Deist you will squirm as it forces both types too look deeper into the consequences of and reasoning behind their actions.

"After they were seated, Michelle folded her hands together and said, "Girls, we need to talk through these issues concerning your father because we really need each other. I know we have the inner resources to get through this." Her facial expressions and cadences were just like Oprah..." Pg. 105

My recommendation, pick it up today it will no doubt have you chuckling and squirming from the start.

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Format: Hardcover
Evangellyfish is a story about two pastors. One of them is perfect, except that he gets angry sometimes. One of them is sinful, except that he makes people feel good inside. The two men live in the same town. The sinful one is accused of having a homosexual affair, which ends up exposing his heterosexual affairs. The perfect one learns how to be more forgiving, which ends up helping other people realize the value of real faith.

Douglas Wilson is aping Christopher Buckley here, and while Evangellyfish tries for the zany plot of one of a splendid Buckley novel, it's not quite as deliciously satirical. The story is pleasant enough and goes down easily. Some of the metaphors are good. The exposure of the character's motives felt real; Wilson has a pastor's gift for looking through people to see what motivates them.

What took me out of the book completely was how predictable the book was to readers familiar with the author's idiosyncrasies. The book bills itself as dangerous and edgy, but it came across to me as par for the Wilson course. Pop quiz: which pastor lives like a hypocrite, full of deceit and sexual sin: the mega-church pastor or the Reformed pastor? Of course the mega-church pastor! What sin does the youth pastor struggle with? Of course sexual sin! Which female character villainously manufactures a campaign of vicious slander: the reporter, the secretary, or the midwife? Of course the midwife! After all, she's already guilty of near-manslaughter just for having babies outside the hospital (at least according to the book!). To anyone familiar with Douglas Wilson, none of these caricatures are surprising.

The book has its moments; some scenes are very funny.
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