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Penguins, Pain and the Whole Shebang: By God As Told to John Shore Hardcover – September 15, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Seabury Books; First edition (September 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596270195
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596270190
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Do yourself a favor and read this book. You will be both entertained and inspired." -- Roger McClellan, The Progressive Christian Alliance

"Brilliant, quirky, perverse, exciting, and quintessentially Californian: John Shore's unique style is a delight to read-a literary feast!"-- Michael Flachmann, 1995 Carnegie Foundation United States Professor of the Year; author of Beware the Cat: The First English Novel (Huntington Library Press).

I know that for both chronological and biological reasons it s not possible, but if St. Augustine and Soupy Sales had a son, I think he would write almost exactly like John Shore. Shore is a madman and a genius, and this book is so happily wrought I don t know what to say about it except that this is the book many, many folks have been waiting for. It s a genuine triumph, a killer combo of astronomical wit and wisdom. I, for one, would like twenty-five copies immediately. --Eric Metaxas, author of bestsellers Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, and Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.

I thoroughly enjoyed this very funny book: its style, its tone, its construction everything about it. Penguins is a winner. --Richard Lederer, author of more than thirty books on the English language, including the bestselling Anguished English series and The Miracle of Language.

Excellent! This is one funny book, in an era when religion isn t funny--but should be, if it s serious. --Richard Louv, author of international bestsellers Last Child in the Woods, and The Nature Principle.

About the Author

John Shore is an award-winning book author. His articles for The Huffington Post's Religion section are among its most popular. His blog, JohnShore.com, is one of the most read and commented upon in the blogosphere. He is the founder of  the growing movement known as Unfundamentalist Christians.

Dan Savage ("Savage Love"; It Gets Better) calls John Shore "America's preeminent non-douchey Christian." Rob Bell ("Love Wins") has declared Mr. Shore "awesome," and "a brilliant writer." "John Shore is a gadfly," wrote famed theologian John Shelby Spong, "calling the Christian Church everywhere to act the way it says it believes about love and justice, which of course makes him an uncomfortable presence in those churches that do not like to be forced to face reality. So were the prophets of old. So was Jesus of Nazareth."

More About the Author

John's latest book is "UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question." He writes at JohnShore.com. He is co-founder of The Not All Like That (NALT) Christians Project, founder of Unfundamentalist Christians, and writer/producer of The Smith Family Chronicles.

Praise for Mr. Shore:

"John Shore is America's preeminent non-douchey Christian. His blog is a must-read." -- Dan Savage, "Savage Love," founder of the It Gets Better Project.

"John Shore is awesome. The minute I started reading his stuff, I knew he was a brother from another mother." -- Rob Bell, author of "Love Wins," "Sex God," and "Velvet Elvis."

"John Shore is a gadfly, calling the Christian Church everywhere to act the way it says it believes about love and justice, which of course makes him an uncomfortable presence in those churches that do not like to be forced to face reality. So were the prophets of old. So was Jesus of Nazareth." -- John Shelby Spong. author of "Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World," "Why Christianity Must Change or Die," "Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism," and others.

"Shore is a humorist whose work is more comedic than Donald Miller, and his appeal to Christians is more direct."-- Michael Spencer, a.k.a. The Internet Monk, and author of the bestseller "Mere Churchianity."

"John Shore is funny as hell and smart as hell, which is good because I've heard that we're both going to spend a long time there." -- Tony Jones, Theoblogy; The Tony Jones Blog; author of The New Christians; The Sacred Way; Postmodern Youth Ministry; Divine Intervention; Ask, Seek, Knock; and others.

"John Shore is a remarkably gifted writer who knows exactly what he is doing." -- Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of "The Deep End of the Ocean" (an Oprah's Book Club selection), "Twelve Times Blessed," and "The Breakdown Lane."

"John Shore is one of those rare writers who can make people laugh and think at the same time. He's one of the most talented, funny, and deeply thoughtful writers I know. He's a sincere pleasure to read."-- Richard Louv, author of international bestsellers "Last Child in the Woods," and "The Nature Principle."

"John Shore, the legitimate son of Kurt Vonnegut and Dave Barry, writes with a freaky energy and humor and imagination that illuminate his characters' and readers' hearts. He's the real thing."-- Richard Lederer, author of more than thirty books on the English language, including the bestselling "Anguished English" series and "The Miracle of Language."

"Shore is a madman and a genius."-- Eric Metaxas, author of bestsellers "Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery," and, "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy," the Christian Booksellers Association 2011 Book of the Year.

"John Shore's unique, honest, and passionate writings draw us to dig a little deeper, to listen with the intention of truly hearing and understanding each other. He gives voice to those without a platform; he puts into words our latent questions/ observations about today's topics that are begging to be addressed from the viewpoint of an informed Christian"-- Spencer Burke, founder of TheOOZE.com

Customer Reviews

Thanks, John, for your inspiring story.
J. Jett
This book takes little time to read, yet it answers many profound questions, gives you lots of chuckles, and makes you think.
spiritual seeker
This is definitely one of the best books I've read in my life.
Lissa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Brian Shields on February 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
First let me say that I'm a fundamentalist Model Agnostic.

After reading this book, I found myself walking around talking like the Big Guy. John's co-author is truly inspired. The back flap contains a picture of John but "no picture available" of the co-author. I'm not sure if that's to avoid the problems the Danish are dealing with regarding the "cartoons."

Seriously you don't need to be a "believer" to get a lot from this book. The writing style is unbelievably brilliant. The voice is great. The pace is perfect. This is really skillful stuff. I still don't agree with the substance of a lot of the book but that's fine.

I will say that if most people could sit around and have a brew with the co-author of this book, it would do more for "spreading the Gospel" than all of the stuff coming from those churches and TV preachers.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lissa on April 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is definitely one of the best books I've read in my life. I have been struggling with depression and problems with my boyfriend. This book made me laugh out loud about 10 times when I was reading it. My boyfriend dumped me the night I read it, and because of this book I was okay with it. It changed my perspective on a lot of things. It's hysterically funny, but the theology is really good at the same time. It will make your sides cramp up from laughing, and make you really think. I recommend this book to every single person on the planet, no exceptions at all. "Penguins" is absolutely amazing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dena Lynn Brehm on February 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book did indeed look good -- so good that I bought it, along with "I'm OK - You're Not" by the same author.

I've now finished most of it... up to the last chapter -- which I don't think I'm going to bother reading.

It's an excellent literary idea -- write from the view of God "using" the human author to write it... engaging and creative concept.

Now, I'm ALL about irreverent humor, however, I got the uncomfortable feeling that the author was trying too hard to be hip, or shocking, or to somehow sneak past the defenses of "seekers" or even atheists, as if they wouldn't notice, to land a punch.

Sure, there were plenty of times I guffawed.

At times, I rolled my eyes.

At other times, I groaned.

And, there were times I cringed.

Such as having "God" make an Austin Powers joke about how He mimicked Austin Powers for a while, and the angels tried to sing praise songs using the word "shagalicious".

Such as God saying, "you can do any Me-damned thing you want."

Such as God saying (in talking about the crucifixion):

"It was a Friday. I really didn't have all that much to do but hang around anyway.
For three days.
I was just killing time.
Oh, don't I just slay you?
Cuz I sure do me."

{Never mind that He didn't "hang around" for three days - He was only on the cross on Friday.)

There ARE times when it's both humorous and insightful -- but those particular passages strike me as somewhat degrading.

What REALLY got me cringing was the response to this question:

"Even if I do believe in Christ, do I really have to go to church every Sunday? Yuck.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Manalive on October 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading Penguins and pain took me back to my days as a raging skeptic/agnostic. Many of the thorny theological questions it tackles-in its unique and humorously penetrating way-are the very questions I wrestled with back then (`then' being the 60s). In those days, I rejected all traditional presentations of Christianity-I sure would have welcomed the way these issues are handled in Penguins. What a fun way to approach thinking about God! A great gift for any skeptic or doubter. Great also for Christians who will enjoy a fresh presentation of the faith. I loved this book!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Jett on October 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I used to be a christian religious fanatic...Then, about 7 years ago, I had a tragedy in my life that turned me off to the whole 'God' thing. I wondered how a loving God could allow something so hurtful to happen to myself and those effected around me.

When I read this book, it inspired me to give God another chance... John's convincing argument that God has to allow evil if he is to allow free will in this world showed me that God isn't necessarily evil and cruel just because of my experience. He, instead, is loving and patient and humane.

Thanks, John, for your inspiring story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By marz on November 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE WHO THINK

So much of this book sounds like the never ending internal dialogue about God I have had with myself for the past three years, except John Shore's writing is laugh out loud funny.

I can see how traditional/fundamental/conservative Christians will have difficulty accepting the format (i.e., the author speaking for God), but I think the message is compellingly human. It is the sort of dialogue that needs to exist for doubters to truly get the message. I speak as one such person whose questioning beliefs need to be addressed in a manner that doesn't completely smother me. This book addresses the basic questions about the existence of God, but does so with wit and intelligence, two elements often missing from debate.
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