Stuff Marc Likes

101. Laughing

Laughing is fun.  When one laughs it releases a chemical in the brain…as if I know anything about physiology!  Seriously, I enjoy laughing as much as the next person and if you’re looking for a good laugh or two then I would recommend picking up Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff.  This is especially relevant to a believer who has been tapped into modern Christian culture for even a modest amount of time.  How would a non-believer take this book?  Hard to say, but I think that Acuff’s hope is that they will see that being a Christian isn’t all fire and brimstone and self-sacrifice.  Or that the road of following Christ isn’t so narrow that there isn’t room for a bit of humor.

I borrowed my post title from Acuff’s blog Stuff Christians Like.  I’m not sure how he started with the numbers, but I thought I’d start with 101 to make it look like I’ve got quite a list of things I like.  Who knows, maybe I’ll come up with the first 100 things that I like having been inspired by Acuff’s witty introspection.  His book is a collection of short essays on the various things that attract our attention as Christians.  I didn’t resonate with all of the topics, but there were certainly some that made me laugh out loud before I realized I what I was doing (and getting strange glares from the other people in the library).  I’ve already loaned my (free) copy of the book to a friend so I can’t quote for you any particularly amusing essays but one that has stuck: the smell of goldfish crackers will evoke thoughts of God in the next generation because parents use them liberally to quiet the ever-distracting child during church services all over.

Yes, I did say free copy of the book.  I received a free copy of the book from the publisher with the caveat that I would post a review of the book.  I like free stuff (that will be Stuff Marc Likes #102).  There, disclaimer is over, back to the review.

While I enjoyed the humorous look into the sillier side of Christian life in America, I expected to read something somewhere in the book that would have tied the all of the essays together in a grand By-Reading-This-You-Will-Now-Understand-How-To-Live-Your-Life-To-It’s-Fullest-Potential sort of purpose statement.  Then I realized, that is precisely what Acuff disclaims at the beginning of the book.  He makes no promises of wealth and prosperity or paths to wholeness and healing.  Just laughter – or so he intends (which reminds me of another essay from the book about how our prayers are riddled with the word “just” (which I can’t adequately describe because I’ve loaned my (free (did I mention how I got this for free (I wonder how many parenthetical thoughts I’m allowed to insert into one sentence (or if I’m even using parentheses properly)?)?)!) copy of the book to a friend who claims to have read it a laughed a lot (especially the eagle!)).  Either way, for my money (of which I spent none…) I would have liked something a little more explicit in revealing the author’s purpose for writing the book (…which is probably why it’s not there).

I would recommend this book especially for Christians but I would also recommend it for non-believers and I would be very interested in what the latter group would have to say about the silly things about which we crazy Christians obsess about.