Reading Rapture Ready!

Do you believe in parallel universes? Daniel Radosh found one. And if you’re reading this, you might very well be living in one.

Radosh is a secular Jew from New York who explores the world of Christian pop culture in his recent book Rapture Ready! Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture. With a combination of thoughtful critique, appreciation, good humor and above all graciousness, Radosh chronicles his year-long experience exploring the Evangelical subculture in America. A true outsider, Radosh immerses himself in the good, the bad, and the ugly of this sometimes bizarre world. Among other things, Radosh describes his encounters with “Jesus junk,” the Holy Land Experience, Christian romance novels, Bibleman, Stephen Baldwin, the Cornerstone music festival, Ultimate Christian Wrestling, Christian sex advice, creation museums, and even a Hell House. Seeking to understand this vast culture, Radosh does a fine job chronicling his experiences and offering some much needed outsider insight. I think this book is a must-read for Christians and non-Christians alike. Christians should read it for exposure to an outsider’s perspective on our strange world, and non-Christians should read it to better understand the growing diversity of the Evangelical movement. Everyone can read it for an entertaining and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny look at a much talked about but little understood element of American culture.

When I started reading Rapture Ready! I was hoping for a funny and entertaining read, and in that regard I was not disappointed. However, I wasn’t expecting such an insightful perspective, and I wouldn’t have guessed I would finish the book feeling challenged to live differently. Now don’t get me wrong, you probably shouldn’t read this book looking for a life changing experience. Read it to be entertained. But don’t be surprised if it challenges you to think seriously about your relationship to Evangelical culture (whether you are a Christian or not).

Radosh concludes his book with a call for greater interaction between the moderate and progressive elements of Evangelicalism and Radosh’s own secular culture. He believes an increasing interaction between these oftentimes separate universes will prove helpful for everyone. I agree. Radosh finds popular culture to be a good starting place for this interaction, but I don’t think he sees this as the only place for healthy communication. Personally, I finished Radosh’s book with two insights. First, I want to intentionally further separate myself from much of the Christian subculture I’m still part of. This separation has been happening fairly naturally over the past ten years but I think it’s time to cut the cord. I’m done with it. (Radosh is not necessarily calling for this kind of reaction) Second, I am more convinced than ever that this interaction between Christians and non-Christians should occur within environments open to the experience of God, the transcendent, and/or religious experience. In fact, I am most interested in the dissolution of this Christian/non-Christian divide. And I increasingly want to play a part in the creation of spaces where this very thing can happen.

In the final pages of his book, Radosh makes a statement I think Christians are in much need of hearing. After discussing the Christian notion of “lifestyle evangelism” Radosh takes it a step further and declares the following:

“Personally, I’m not sure how successful [lifestyle evangelism] really is in leading people to Christ, but I can attest that it’s a very successful method for generating positive feelings about Christians. The evangelicals I’ve felt the most fond of, the most comfortable around, and the most commonality with – regardless of political, social, or philosophical differences – were the ones who never tried to sell me on Jesus yet always seemed to be trying to live the life Jesus desired of them. The paradox of lifestyle evangelism is that while it might sound like a Christian’s loving, friendly actions are all driven by an ulterior motive, it only really clicks when they’re able to let go of that motive. The people who made the best case for Christianity were the ones who were genuinely unconcerned with whether I ever decided to become a Christian or not.”

I think this statement, and Radosh’s book as a whole, is something Christians need to hear. And hopefully we will take it to heart.


2 Responses

  1. I don’t even have to read this book to know what it’s about. I was appart of this subculture. If you’ve ever seen the movie Saved that film hit the nail on the head. Ironically, this subculture needs Jesus as much as any culture. It’s almost as if they took all of their crap and moved to their own island and Christianized everything on the island. Christianity today is a cult, it worships itself and its mega churchs and programs. It’s not about dying self. Its a a shadow of 1st Century Christianity.

  2. I am getting countless e-mails about this election being the rise of anti christ. Let me provide some answers from Bible prophecy that should calm the fears of alot of frightened Americans out there..”This gospel must be preached to all the world before the end can come.”Math.24:13.” This promise has not been fulfilled yet. Jesus said, let no man decieve you by any means concerning the time of my coming.”Math.24:4″ Jesus warned christians about false teachers who would come in his name, “deceiving many” over an early time of his coming.. Jesus states plainly that modern christians today will be “killed for my sake,” and all must “endure to the end.” To what end should they then endure? To the end of the harvest. The harvest is here, and the workers want to run away and be raptured to escape and hide from the harvest. We must not be seeking to avoid our responsibilities, and we must work for the cause of saving many more souls. Christ promised us, that he will not return for any reason, nor for any early rapture until the world wide missionary effort is completed. America is a very critical part of the gospels success, and we therefore must remain a christian nation, no matter what happens. This means christians who have been practicing their faith through out life, will now be called upon to play the real game they have been preparing for henseforth… The harvest is ready, and the laborers are few. That means you and I. See video recorded below with Sarah Palin requesting Gods help through our prayers. In world war one and two, it was common practice for American families to pray for the troops abroad. Why do we not do so as much today? Are you and your family praying for the troops each day? Are you doing this in your church meetings? Sarah Palins son is in Iraq risking his life for our country. We prayed for both Sarah Palin and McCain to win the election. I have ran into far too many christians who were not worried about this election, expected to get raptured up to heaven anyway. I heard the same constant fatalism of believing that God had now removed himself from America and it was now too late. The reports show clearly that as many as 4 to 5 million christians did not even bother to vote this year. I believe that we lost this election because of this widespread rapture theory which has removed a critical advantage of our christian voter block. I wrote a book in order to warn christians about these false teachers who have come in the name of Jesus to decieve them about the time of his coming. Obama prevailed, and he will face an economic crisis in which he will not have the skill, nor experience to confront this crisis, nor contain it. When his policies fail, the domocrats will then have no one else to blame. The country will then seek better leadership from leaders like Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and others who have great skill in fixing the economy. That is why I need your help to reach these deluded christian voters by providing biblical warnings to those who have been sucked into this pre-trib mind set, and bring them back to reality..Sarah Palin is a winner no matter what happens because she has gained our trust and the trust of the national conservative movement. All of Palins warnings given dureing the election concerning Obama, these warnings will soon come true. This will seal Palins words into future history. Her words will become more credable dureing the Obama presidency after time moves on.. listen to Sarah as recorded below giving her explanation for obtaining Gods blessings by following her own families example. Help our troops in Iraq by sending this message to Christian voters. Here is a video that leftists are spreading across youtube in order to hurt Palins credability. Please pay close attention so you are not decieved by democrat supporters. click lion with wings, to see the Palin video and my videos about Iraq in prophecy.
    I am a christian who worked many long hours within the past two years trying to gather conservative support from other christians. I would like to point out a stumbling blocks that gave me extreme difficulty while trying to gather election support from a majority of good christians. When making my requests for sharing e-mails or needing foot soldiers to spread the conservative message to other voters, I kept hearing the same fatalism as to why it would not do much good to worry about this election. Over and over I heard these words. I believe Obama is going to win because God is finished with America and we are directly headed into the tribulation period. Jesus is coming soon to rapture us up and out from under this mess, so it matters little what we can do.
    I recieved many long sermons from people about concerning the anti christ or messiah being Obama, and how the mark of the beast was to be implanted into Americans through home land securety, and the world banking system. I tried to persuade these people that America still has a christian mission to perform in Iraq, and in many other places who have not heard the gospel yet. They would reply by stateing, these people must all go through the tribulation to become humbled enough to accept Jesus that way. I requested scripture many times from these christians as to how I might sight specific Bible scriptures to support this popular theory. I was only given scattered assumtions from less than clear biblical source material, always taken far from out of context. Most of the theory did not come from the Bible at all, but was obviously spun from peoples own speculations. Talking about the two witnesses who testify in Jerusalem during the tribulation. Here is eveidence that the church was not removed from the earth, and was fully functional having power over Satan as the two christians could even rise from the dead.

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