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Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church: Eyewitness Accounts of How American Churches are Hijacking Jesus, Bagging the Beatitudes, and Worshipping the Almighty Dollar Hardcover – April 21, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0787983130 ISBN-10: 0787983136 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (April 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787983136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787983130
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,172,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. No Christian faction, not liberals, mainliners, evangelicals or fundamentalists, escapes the smarty-pants treatment from this senior contributing editor of the religious satire publication, The Wittenburg Door. Garrison assumes a gentle "above it all" attitude, redirecting the church's attention to the Beatitudes and to Jesus' "great commandment" (to love God first and love others as ourselves). She also argues for renewed separation of church and state, noting Jesus' tendency to serve "as a prophetic voice to proclaim the Word of God without being a pawn of the Roman government." Garrison is especially tough on those who publicly claim to have God on their side. "Given that my last name ain't Falwell, Robertson, or LaHaye, I can't claim to speak for Christ," she states. But don't for a moment think Garrison blames all of life's problems on the religious right. She's blessed with the ability to observe, cringe at and poke fun at anyone who insists on a "correct Christian response" to complex social and political matters. If you like the Door's approach to the lighter side of Christian culture, or if you just need a good laugh after reading too many serious religion books, it doesn't get much better than this. (Apr. 28)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

No Christian faction, not liberals, mainliners, evangelicals or fundamentalists, escapes the smarty-pants treatment from this senior contributing editor of the religious satire publication, The Wittenburg Door. Garrison assumes a gentle "above it all" attitude, redirecting the church's attention to the Beatitudes and to Jesus' "great commandment" (to love God first and love others as ourselves). She also argues for renewed separation of church and state, noting Jesus' tendency to serve "as a prophetic voice to proclaim the Word of God without being a pawn of the Roman government." Garrison is especially tough on those who publicly claim to have God on their side. "Given that my last name ain't Falwell, Robertson, or LaHaye, I can't claim to speak for Christ," she states. But don't for a moment think Garrison blames all of life's problems on the religious right. She's blessed with the ability to observe, cringe at and poke fun at anyone who insists on a "correct Christian response" to complex social and political matters. If you like the Door's approach to the lighter side of Christian culture, or if you just need a good laugh after reading too many serious religion books, it doesn't get much better than this. (Apr. 28) (Publishers Weekly, February 13, 2006)

More About the Author

On the same day that Princess Di was brought into this world tiara in hand, this Yankee gal with an accent befitting a Southern debutante was born breech first. Ever since my upside down birth, I have always viewed life from a unique perspective. "Becky, only you see it that way" is a frequent comment made by friends and relatives alike. I began writing for The Wittenburg Door in 1994 and contribute to a range of outlets including Washington Post's On Faith column, The Guardian's Belief section, Killing the Buddha, Geez, The Revealer, American Atheist magazine, Believe Out Loud, and The Religious Left.

The first video highlighted on my Amazon author site came from the documentary The Ordinary Radicals (wwww.theordinaryradicals.com); the second and third videos are from http://www.altervideomagazine.com (props to Travis Reed); and the fourth is from the documentary Nailin' it to the Church (http://www.nailinittothechurch.com)

Customer Reviews

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This adds to the reading in a way that I thought was very clever.
David Foley
Like all memorable satire, Ms. Garrison's book has something to offend everyone and something to make us all take another look at what we thought we believed.
R. Lopez
Fun and enlightening, this book is a must read for anyone who is interested in the cross-section of faith and politics.
Paul

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By da man on May 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a moderately conservative Christian, I was expecting this book to be more bashing than insightful.

I was wrong - this book should resonate with any true Christian concerned with the politicization of the church. While we may not agree on many subjects, I too have been deeply disturbed by how much hatred has crept into the daily religious experience and think this book does an excellent job walking through numerous, specific examples in a light-hearted and insightful way.

Christians take heed - we have lost our way and need leaders that are more spiritual than political. This book is a good step in the right direction.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By R. Lopez on June 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Like all memorable satire, Ms. Garrison's book has something to offend everyone and something to make us all take another look at what we thought we believed. In a series of essays that invoke the spirit of Monty Python and George Carlin, she tackles those two subjects your mother told you not to bring up at dinner parties--religion and politics--with fearlessness, insight and, above all, great love and good humor. The fact that this book has stirred up such controversy shows that she has hit more than one nerve in doing so. But those nerves needed to be hit!

Read this book. Laugh at it, argue with it, call your friends to debate it. One thing I can promise you, though: you won't be bored by it!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By E. J. Guldi on June 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Garrison's thesis is that warring red and blue politics have left the American sense of community black and blue. The Kingdom of Heaven, reflected in that beloved community, escapes the politics of parties, and cries out for individuals of faith to recognize each others' calling.

Few writers today have had the wide experience of all sides of American religion as those at the Wittenburg Door, a magazine that has the rare quality of being equally funny to the fundamentalist, evangelical, mainline, or radical who is able to laugh at herself.

Avoid this book if you don't have a sense of humor or if you maintain the conviction that you are your own personal savior. For everyone else, read the book with the expectation of enjoyment and rare insight into both sides of American religion.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Mark Sherman on April 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Like her work for The Wittenburg Door, Becky Garrison's book is insightful and provocative, told by someone who truly cares about what is happening in institutions she holds dear.

What's important, and not necessarily indicated by other reviews here, is that it is also relevant to non-Christians (I'm Jewish) who might think the subject matter doesn't pertain directly to them. In fact, at a time when the Religious Right is dominating the party that holds sway in all three branches of the government and our president claims to be ordained by God, "Red and Blue God" may be even more important for those of us in the minority to know just what's going on. Becky tells it all, in a way that will leave you laughing, no matter how angry you might be at the time.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Daniel B. Clendenin on January 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When I was in seminary twenty-five years ago we would hoot and holler over the biting satire of The Wittenburg Door magazine. I still remember a piece on "Dogs Who Love the Lord." Becky Garrison is a senior contributing editor for the Door and self-described "non-partisan religious satirist," and in this book she collects some of her material to parody the pious. She reports on her coverage of the Republican National Convention, reflects on the environment, does a drive-by shooting on the gay issue in a way-too-short chapter (three pages), wonders about pro-Israeli ideology and anti-Semitism, touches on volatile issues roiling our public schools, grapples with abortion, and decries our worship of mammon.

Satire carries inherent risk factors. Skewering everyone equally can be hard. Garrison lambasts the left and its "mainline insipid drivel," but most of the fuel for her fire comes from the right. You read more about Robertson, Falwell and LaHaye than you do about Spong or the Jesus Seminar. Sanctimony and sarcasm are close cousins of satire; it is hard not to sound unctuous. At times she lapses into ad hominem swipes that add little to her humor. Do we really need to hear about the bad behavior of Bush's twin girls? Not every reader will warm to her smart-alecky style. Like most satire, you will need to consult other resources for the heavy lifting on the issues that she raises. Finally, satire has its limits in that it is always easier to criticize what you are against than to explain what you are for, to tear down rather than to build up, to generalize and exaggerate rather than to work through the complex details of difficult issues.

These are minor quibbles, though, given the underlying message that Garrison conveys.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By RFDIII on May 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church is a wonderful addition to the canon of thoughtful books on the state of the Church in America in 2006. The difference is, it's often very funny. Becky Garrison is an accomplished writer (primarily with the legendary religious humor and satire magazine The Wittenburg Door) and a keen observer of culture. Red and Blue God is well-written, fast-paced and worth the time, regardless of your religious/political views.
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