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The Christian Culture Survival Guide: The Misadventures of an Outsider on the Inside Paperback – May 18, 2004

3.8 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I found myself laughing, shaking my head, sighing and smiling all because I could relate." -- Owen Thomas, The Elms

"If you’re ready for a new, honest and even hilarious take on Christianity and today’s culture, this is your book." -- Christa Farris, Editor of CCM Magazine and CCMMagazine.com

"The Christian Culture Survival Guide is a must-read for anyone who has ever walked through the doors of a church." -- Andy Argyrakis, Chicago Tribune contributing writer

"The Christian Culture Survival Guide is one of the most hilarious books I have ever read!" -- Jaci Velasquez, singer

"Witty, insightful, edgy, cynical, hopeful, faithful, disturbing, indicting, and provocative. You won't come away from it with a neutral response." -- Will Penner, speaker, author and editor of Youthworker Journal

About the Author

THE AUTHORS Chris Seay is pastor of Ecclesia, a progressive Christian community in Houston, Texas, and is author of The Gospel According to Tony Soprano (Relevant Books). Seay lives in Houston with his wife, Lisa, who is a marriage and family counselor. They have three children.

Chad Karger, the community pastor at Ecclesia, holds an M.A. in counseling and has worked with countless couples over the last ten years. He is part of Better Days, an organization that provides intensive spiritual direction and personal coaching to individuals throughout Houston. He has been married to Meeka for thirteen years and has three children.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Relevant Books (May 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974694207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974694207
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,198,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this to be amusing because I am also a survivor. Some reviewers seem to be a little uptight about his sarcasm/wit. Lighten up--if we can't laugh at ourselves, maybe we aren't being real. If we can laugh at ourselves it's probably because we see how messed up we really are without Jesus being the complete center of all we "do."
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I was hoping this book would be along the vein of my favorite blog, Stuff Christian Culture Likes, which is also written by a pastor's kid and is open-minded and edgy. I soon discovered my expectations were misguided, however. Though Turner seems to think his observations and opinions are refreshing and edgy, they would only really appear that way to someone who is still very much a part of baptist/evangelical culture and has never ventured outside of it. When Turner switches from teasing about a silly Christian culture norm to sharing advice, that is when you realize that his belief system and theology still falls squarely in the conservative, most likely Calvinist, camp. He doesn't explain why certain cultural practices or beliefs are misguided; rather, he just points them out and concludes with a "that's ridiculous!" Most of the time I was left confused as to what he was actually trying to do, and what message he was trying to get across. For example, when he makes fun of the audience at a Rebecca St. James concert for cheering her decision to save herself for marriage, he then goes on to say that he also made that decision and is committed to that principle. So there are a lot of mixed messages in the book.

I think the person who would most enjoy this is someone who is very much on the inside and shares the evangelical/fundamental/baptist worldview, but wants to be able to laugh at the culture they live in. For anyone from outside--whether you're of a different type of Christian denomination, a person who has "escaped" that kind of Christianity but still has faith, or if you are a non-Christian looking for a humorous inside look at evangelical Christian culture--you will not find what you are looking for here.
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Format: Paperback
First, let me say this: I'm not a Christian. I grew up in church, but have not been to church for a very long time. A friend of mine gave me this book and told me to give it a chance, that it wasn't your ordinary "Christian" book. And she was right. I laughed so hard at Turner's stories, lists and opinions. IT'S ABOUT TIME SOMEONE WROTE THIS BOOK. He isn't preachy. He calls a spade a spade and does it all with a humorous twist. My favorite story is when he talks about getting baptized. I about fell out of my chair. I agree with the last review, I think some are taking this book WAY too seriously. It's meant to be fun. It's not blasphemous. It's a man's life--he's telling it like he sees it. His writing isn't Shakespeare, but it's far from immature and pointless. I'm probably not going back to church anytime soon, but a week ago, I did pick up a Bible for the first time in ten years. Thank you Matthew for being honest ... perhaps, you can put another star in your crown ;-) HAHAHA!!!!
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Matthew Paul Turner's THE CHRISTIAN CULTURE SURVIVAL GUIDE is a book that lampoons the subculture of America that I like to refer to as the Christian ghetto. People who are raised in Christian culture have access to a whole world that the rest of the world really doesn't even know exists. In some ways, this culture is a good thing because it augments a believers’ life by providing means of fellowship they need and might not otherwise have. However, though the constant struggle in a Christian's life is to be "in the world, but not of the world" American Christians have gone way to far and are trying to be in the world without actually being in the world and have cut themselves off from humanity. It is this idea that Turner parodies so brilliantly in THE CHRISTIAN CULTURE SURVIVAL GUIDE.

The book is written in the format of a real survival guide and projects an image that this book is a must have for anyone new to Christianity in America or perhaps a nonbeliever or outsider who might have to have interactions with people inside of the Christian culture. Turner tells all kinds of funny and interesting stories in a satirical way. He often starts a chapter or section very seriously. These statements are insightful and in some cases profound. But just a few lines later, Turner turns the tables and throws in a joke or funny story. For instance, in the Chapter on The Worship Service he begins by saying,

"Even with the strides modern Christian culture has made in the last couple of decades to improve its reputation among mainstream society, churches still fight being stereotyped as stuffy, pretentious, and lacking in originality and vision." Very insightful observation, but one paragraph later he gives the 7 Church Cliches that need to go (such as visitor time).
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Format: Paperback
I've followed Matthew Paul Turner's blog for about a year and I bought this book before that but I finally got around to reading "The Christian Culture Survival Guide" last weekend.

This book is mildly humourous and I think Turner does capture some of the peculiarities within the Christian subculture (such as his guide about the Christian guys and girls one will see at church).

I am by no means a fundamentalist nor do I agree with a lot of things fundamentalists preach, but I think Turner is a bit too dismissive of orthodox theology. He provides some "key verses" in each chapter but I would hesitate to take his advice on several matters.

This book could've also been a lot longer.
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