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The Messiah Formerly Known as Jesus:…

The Messiah Formerly Known as Jesus: Dispatches from the Intersection of…

by Tom Breen

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This book was an absolute hoot -- I haven't laughed out loud so often in quite a while. If you know at least some basics about the Christian faith and actual church history, and didn't have your sense of humor removed along with your tonsils, I don't see how you can resist this book's tongue-in-cheek charm. Examples: (in discussing Christian appropriation of pagan holidays) "...the date itself was chosen by the early church to compete with the Roman Saturnalia; and that Santa Claus was originally a Siberian shaman figure who is said to wear red and white because Siberians would gut reindeer and wear the skins inside out." Or this tidbit about the End Times: "... known as the "rapture," although Paul himself doesn't use that word. He uses the Greek term harpazo, but by common consent, rapture was chosen instead, because it sounds less like the name of a circus clown."

I suspect that those discontent with the book might have been seeking a serious discourse on the junction of Christianity and pop culture. This is anything but. And it's anything but boring. ( )
  MorganH | Jul 30, 2008 |
With this book, I did what I never do.

I returned it to the store.

It looked like it would be an interesting look at how modern Christianity has developed a pop culture all its own. That’s what the sub-title suggested. And it was a small press book.

But this book was just horrible. The author wants to be an Onion journalist so bad and it shows in his need to insert unnecessary zingers in every last paragraph.

The premise is that Democrats and hippies and atheists are all the same and don’t understand religion. There are moments of clarity where Breen does dive into the way Christianity has influenced or co-opted pop culture, but these are always interrupted by his need to go for the LOL.

What makes it worse is that you can tell that he does know quite a bit about theology and pop culture and that he could’ve written the book I wanted. But he didn’t. Instead, he wrote a book-long LiveJournal screed. ( )
1 vote grabbingsand | Mar 26, 2008 |
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