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Rapture Ready!: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture Hardcover – April 8, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

“Organized as a series of adventures,” Radosh’s entertaining, often enlightening guide to a $7 billion industry cruises through the complex, diverse world of Christian pop culture. It drops into a Christian retail show in Denver; the Holy Land Experience, a biblical theme park near Orlando, Florida; The Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, Arkansas; Thomas Nelson, one of the largest Christian publishers in the U.S.; the ostensible “granddaddy of the alternative fest,” Cornerstone Festival outside Peoria, Illinois; Christian comedy clubs and tours; and the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky. It also discusses, among other topics, Christian bookstores, the flourishing Christian children’s and teenage markets, and Christian music. The Jewish Radosh, who writes regularly for the New Yorker, the New York Times, and similarly secular publications, approaches the subject as if he were on an anthropological expedition, interviewing countless people, taking careful notes, and offering thoughtful observations. He takes his role of reporter in an unfamiliar land seriously, yet he isn’t afraid to use his well-honed wit to good advantage. --June Sawyers


Praise for Rapture Ready

“Daniel Radosh writes about evangelical culture with brilliance, humor, and understanding. Everyone should read this book.” —A.J. Jacobs, author of The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically

“A rich exploration of the realm . . . Reading Radosh’s book is like coming across another planet hidden somewhere on Earth where everything is just exactly like it is here except blue or made out of plastic.” —Slate

“Radosh is open about his own biases and shortcomings, and responds with astonishing intellectual and emotional honesty to the people and ideas he encounters.” —The Boston Globe Magazine

Praise for Daniel Radosh:

“Radosh has the astute sense of a journalist and the evocative humor of a stand-up comic.” —Publishers Weekly

“Entertaining, often enlightening . . . Radosh takes his role of reporter in an unfamiliar land seriously, yet he isn’t afraid to use his well-honed wit to good advantage.” —Booklist

“What happens when a secular liberal enters a conservative Christian subculture? Yes, he’s grossed out at times, appalled at least once, amused sometimes, and cussin’ mad at other times—and maybe even a little scared on occasion. But in the end, he offers evaluations and insights that might be considered downright prophetic, and compassionate too. No evangelical insider could have down as good a job as Daniel Radosh. He’s a witty, energetic, and insightful writer who grabs your attention and interest on page one and won’t let go until he’s escorted you to a powerful conclusion in the final paragraphs.” —Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian and Everything Must Change

“Radosh has discovered a world that is hilarious, unpredictable, and lucrative! It seems there’s a foreign country in America and it’s right down the street . . . and now I’m not so sure that I’m not the foreigner.” —Sam Seder, Air America Radio

“This book . . . deserves to be a great discussion starter in Christian circles.” —Beliefnet.com

“The greatest lesson in the book is not in what Radosh says with words but what he teaches by way of his tremendous example. If Christians treated American pop culture with the same respectful criticism and discerning openness that Radosh employed when examining the evangelical universe…these two cultures could have a productive encounter.” —First Things: The Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life

“Opening his readers to a complex subculture with an abundance of unusual characters, Radosh’s traveling road show is riveting, side-splitting, and thoughtful.” —The Jerusalem Post

“A fascinating and funny exploration of exactly what the title indicates, leavened with empathy.” —McSweeney’s

“Radosh paints complex portraits of modern, spiritually engaged Americans struggling to define their faith and its role in the world at large and is his best in these encounters, proving himself a keen observer. He is skilled at teasing out the truths and contradictions of his subjects, many of whom he describes with lyrical precision.” —American Conservative

“The book is full of surprises and tonal shifts, and made me look at not just evangelical culture but American pop culture and Jewish culture in a new light.” —The Forward

“Written with style and sensitivity, the book is at turns comical and spiritually uplifting.” —The Salt Lake Tribune
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (April 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743297709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743297707
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,681,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up last night expecting an entertaining, snarky take on evangelical Christians and the sometimes very strange pop culture artifacts they've produced. Daniel Radosh provided that, but when I put the book down at one in the morning, I'd been through something much more valuable. What I'd expected was a "Wow, Christians sure are wacky!" tone. And while Radosh certainly encounters plenty of colorful characters (from the Christian professional wrestling troupe to the Christian superhero Bibleman), he's much more interested in really communicating with people and trying to understand where they're coming from.

Radosh's book embraces a complex, nuanced view of evangelical culture, and argues that secular liberals may have much more in common with at least some Christians than they would imagine. For every narrow-minded fundamentalist or weird, misguided extremist, there's a surprise: the encounter with Christian thriller writer Frank Peretti will come as particularly unexpected for anyone who grew up reading his books.

Whether you're a Christian who wants some perspective on the outside world might see you or a non-Christian who wants to see what makes them tick, this book is a must-read. I think it could be a really valuable tool for establishing common ground for a dialogue between the two groups.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I must confess that I bought Daniel Radosh's book Rapture Ready hoping he would deliver a cynical expose on the Christian pop culture industry. I grew up in an evangelical Christian home and as such received my fair share of Christian rock cassettes, David & Goliath action figures, and Bible-themed comic books. Without fail, these sanitized versions never held up to their "secular" counterparts and it always seemed like the whole Christian pop culture industry was based on the imitation, if not outright theft of, other people's ideas, products and logos.

On some levels, Rapture Ready is the cynical analysis of the industry I was hoping for. I think it's impossible for an outsider to look at this kind of industry without a certain wry amusement. I was surprised, though, at just how even handed Radosh's approach was. He talked to people involved at every level (musicians, pastors, writers, fans, critics, etc.) and presented an array of opinions. Radosh doesn't hesitate to point out the flaws, inconsistencies, and downright absurdities of the products, performances, and not so hidden agendas he encounters, but he does it without any malicious intent. He's just as likely to draw attention to the things he finds admirable or effective. Some of his observations are laugh out loud funny, and some deeply personal, but all are well thought out and well written.

Rapture Ready is a great (though no doubt frightening at times) primer for outsiders on the fascinating "parallel universe of Christian pop culture", but more than that the observations and insights presented by both the author and the people he encounters really should be read by anyone who produces or consumes Christian pop culture.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is the rare bird that will have you laughing out loud often and stopping to think more than a few times, too. The author has done what alot of us would like to do, but don't dare; go undercover into christian fundamentalist culture. He's not out to risk his life, but is more interested in exploring the dichotomies between the ascetic lifestyle of Jesus, and the much marketed christianity of today. He exposes many hypocrisies, but what is more interesting is seeing how capitalism and big money corporations are manipulating Christians for their own ends. I think most readers of this book will be like myself, pretty much lefties looking for a good laugh, well you'll get that, but you'll also find some surprises that will make you question your own presumptions about christian "wackos." The book is really well written and moves along quite nicely, you'll be sad when it's over!
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Format: Paperback
Daniel Radosh is NOT an evangelical - in fact, he's a Humanistic Jew (his own description) - which for the purposes of this book is a very good thing. One of the pieces of advice you're often given when getting ready to sell your house is to have someone who's never been there come to walk through & look for all the things that need fixing or repainting. There's a reason - you've lived there for so long that you've become used to the imperfections, blemishes & outright broken stuff. Mr. Radosh's book that does just that for Christian pop culture (primarily evangelical pop culture).

I was impressed with the breadth of his knowledge, his willingness to have his pre-conceived notions corrected (or confirmed), and his sense of humor. (Honestly, we evangelicals are a pretty funny bunch sometimes... and occasionally even on purpose.) Particularly interesting is his interview with Frank Peretti & Ted Dekker.

He deals with Jesus junk, CCM, passion plays, Bibleman, Hell Houses, the sad state of Christian fiction, niche marketing for Bibles, "Left Behind" (and not kindly, which I wholeheartedly approve!), abortion politics, Christian comedians (including lots of time w/Dan Rupple), creation science museums, abstinence education & Christian sex therapy... even Christian wrestling. He admits that his coverage isn't exhaustive, but it's still pretty darn good.

His confrontation at Cornerstone with the volunteer at the Rock for Life booth should be required reading for every pro-life person... and I'm one of those people.
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