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Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television Paperback – September 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: SEABURY BOOKS (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596270861
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596270862
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Salvation on the Small Screen is fast, fresh, funny and filled with surprising twists. It is easy to point out what's wrong with a broad satirical target like televangelists. It is tougher to watch closely, with patience, empathy, and openness. Yet, Nadia Bolz-Weber and her eclectic companions find the divine even amidst the most painful religious programming. Now that is miraculous --Craig Detweiler, PhD, director, Reel Spirituality Institute, Fuller Theological Seminary and author, Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century

Review

"The concept is as clever as it is brave: Spend 24 hours watching `Christian television' programming, and bring friends. Talk about what you see. Let hilarity and poignancy ensue. Lutheran minister Nadia Bolz-Weber gives us a wincing and winsome look through those cable channels that many ignore and many others make their spiritual bread and butter. With Salvation on the Small Screen? in hand, the reader can thoughtfully go `behind the label' and check out the ingredients of the oddly-influential Christian media. Bon appetit!"

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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After reading Pastrix, I decided to read this book.
AdoptaRescuePet
Highly recommend reading this thought provoking look at Christianity!
Woocher
Her writing is in some ways reminiscent of Anne Lamott.
Mort Coyle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mort Coyle on January 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
Nadia Bolz-Weber is a tall, brash, heavily tattooed Lutheran pastor from Denver who speaks with the sarcastic delivery of a stand-up comic. It turns out she used to be a stand-up comic and her blog is entitled The Sarcastic Lutheran. Her writing is in some ways reminiscent of Anne Lamott. I attended a reading from the book by the author and was intrigued enough to purchase a copy. I've just finished it and found it to be a quick and entirely fun read.

The set-up for the book is this: Bolz-Weber, a blogger and essayist on Jim Wallis' God's Politics site, was asked by a publisher to watch TBN (Trinity Broadcast Network) for 24 hours straight and then write about the experience. She asked, "Can I bring my friends?" and when the publisher agreed, she took on the job.

Nadia begins her journal of TBN watching at 5am and concludes at 5am the next day. Throughout that 24 hour period she is joined by a revolving cast of friends and strangers (ranging from seminary professors to gay community workers to her parents to an ex-boyfriend to a Jewish atheist to a Methodist pastor) who sit on her couch and provide running commentary--ala Mystery Science Theatre 3000--on what unfolds on the screen before them. She admits up front that not only has she never watched TBN (other than occasionally passing it while channel-surfing and thinking, "What the...?"), but that she also harbors deep feelings of derision towards Fundamentalist Evangelical Christianity (originating, no doubt, from her upbringing in a Fundamentalist Evangelical home).

One expects snarkiness and mockery, and one is not disappointed.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Becky Garrison on September 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
Nadia Bolz Weber boldly goes where few Protestants have gone before--the prosperity palace. As she samples their titillating theological tidbits, she critiques the ungodly excesses displayed by these religious rock, while also noting the lessons mainliners can glean from these seemingly saccharine shows. Throughout Salvation on the Small Screen, she reminds me that even though TBN shows may be sinful and shameful to one's spiritual health (and they are, trust me on this one), we're all brothers and sisters in Christ. And like these prosperity preachers, I too have fallen short of the glory of God and need Jesus as my savior.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By RevChrisEsq on December 6, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I met Nadia at the National Great Emergence conference in Memphis this weekend. She is lanky, a confessed ex comedian, with icon tattoos on her arm, and recently ordained by the Lutheran Church (ELCA). She read many stories from this book, all of which give great insight into the evangelism portrayed on tv, much of which is hysterically funny.

And when it's not funny, you'll cry.

I highly recommend this book. One of the freshest things I've heard/read in a very long time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
In her first book, Bolz-Weber does what some might consider impossible: she combines theological reflection, prosperity gospel, elevated caffeine and sugar levels, and the effects of sleep deprivation into something that is both laugh-out-loud funny and deeply thought-provoking. Assigned to watch 24 consecutive hours of programming on Trinity Broadcasting Network and reflect thereupon, she and her friends zero in on what makes much of this programming deeply disturbing. The book is worth the purchase price simply for the chapter subheadings, which had me laughing out loud. However, the book is not simply an exercise in skewering the deficiencies and excesses of the programming, although it does that superbly. Bolz-Weber is one of the rare individuals who is able to turn her laser-like gift for critical reflection back upon herself and her own tradition as well as toward the assigned target, and that is what makes the book so thought-provoking. This is not a book to be read once, but rather to be read once and then savored more deeply. Bolz-Weber raises questions that more liberal Christians need to consider, and takes us for a riotous journey along the way.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dave Wainscott on December 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Some of the memories my wife and I have of catching fleeting glimpses of TBN and other Christian TV include bizarre moments like a female televangelist interviewing an armless woman...and asking her how she puts on her makeup; and Robert Tilton spouting out "Someone is called to give a million dollars to this ministry;don't think about it, don't pray about it...just call in!"...followed by a long outburst of tongues to confirm the word.

I have a hard time with many of these shows; but I have to dare to believe God is using some (all?) of them, even if...well, you know.

So I was thrilled to hear that one of my favorite Sarcastic Lutherans (check the author's blog name), and a brilliant thinker, had been asked to write a book about the experience of watching 24 hours of Christian television (in the company of some wonderful hand-picked friends)..TBN, to be exact.

I must have prayed for her the moment I heard she had the job.

As hilarious as the book is(it exceeded even my high expectations here), I found it not only appropriately respectful (some will disagree...maybe even the author!), but hugely helpful in many "serious" ways...
It is her humility ("I, too live in a lavish lifestyle funded by the giving of the faithful, and this realization is discomforting. It is undoubtedly the plank in my own eye" -p.67) and wit that grant her authority to note out loud and in public things any of us have noted privately,like:

"I'm fairly certain that the descriptor 'Christian' when applied to music and TV shows is not an indicator of theological content but instead points to what is absent:profanity, homosexuals, liberals, uncertainty--basically anything that would challenge a particular worldview.
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