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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 49 customer reviews

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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

Review

"Radosh's entertaining, often enlightening guide to a $7 billion industry cruises through the complex, diverse world of Christian pop culture...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."-- Booklist

"Funny, revealing, and descriptively titled."-- Esquire

"Goes beyond mockery to engage seriously with Christian believers who make, consume, and even criticize Christian pop culture."-- TheAtlantic.com

"As an outsider, he sees things that all of us who grew up in this little world either slide past, choose to ignore or shrug off."-- Relevant Magazine

"Radosh has the astute sense of a journalist and the evocative humor of a stand-up comic."-- Publisher's Weekly

"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

"What happens when a secular liberal enters the conservative Christian subculture? Yes, he's grossed out at times, appalled at least once, amused sometimes and cussin-mad at others -- 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 done 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

"Daniel Radosh writes about Christian culture with brilliance, humor and understanding. Everyone should read this book -- with the possible exception of Stephen Baldwin (see page 143)."-- A.J. Jacobs, author of The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically
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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 (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Coulter on April 11, 2008
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: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Radosh is a mid-thirties, liberal, New York Jew who hadn't a clue about Christian pop culture (entertainment, leisure, shopping) and set out to expand his horizons in this area. What he came up with is a funny, frequently sarcastic, informative and hugely entertaining book. Being a 51-year-old, agnostic, secular humanist (apparently in some circles, the bad guy), I understand quite a bit about American evangelicalism and how it historically evolved but I knew absolutely nothing about its insular pop culture. Mr. Radosh did a very good job covering many of these areas. The patrons of this stuff are almost exclusively white and fall into three sects. There are the traditionalists (fundamentalists), centrists and modernists. The author visits Christian trade shows, theme parks, book and magazine sales, gives a darned good assessment of the widely popular "Left Behind" book series, a superhero named Bibleman, Christian extreme skateboarding with Stephen Baldwin, rock music, raves (no kidding), comedians, pro wrestling (huh?), sex advice councelors, abstinence-only school programs and, finally, creationism and the quackery of Ken Ham's Creation Museum. Mr. Radosh is correct when he states that insularity breeds intolerance and much of Christian pop culture lives within that bubble. The book reenforces my belief that bridging the gap between Fundamentalists and secular humanists is an absolutely lost cause. However, the author does see some postive signs in all this stuff because of the Christian centrists and modernists and gives a pretty convincing argument that the times are a changin'. I can only hope so. I highly recommend Mr. Radosh's book. A real eye-opener.
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