Saturday 18 April 2009

I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt: Replacing Souvenir Religion with Authentic Spiritual Passion by Vince Antonucci

Published by Baker Books

I was raised Church of England (in school at least) though I was exposed to Jehovahs Witnesses for a while and then religion just seemed to drop out of my life in early teens. I did explorations of my own, Pentecostal, Jehovahs Witnesses, Catholic, but nothing seemed right. I think a big part of it was all the rules, all the judgments, all the hypocrisy of people going to church once a week and then going against those beliefs the remaining six days of the week. It was disheartening. Now I am not religious formally though I do try to live a good life (in my own eyes) and treat others with kindness and as I would like to be treated.

I still enjoy reading about all the various religions and personal views of those involved. Some may come across as too dry a read, others may seem too preachy, but 'I became a Christian and all I got was this lousy t-shirt' is neither. It's subtitle is replacing Souvenir Religion with Authentic Spiritual Passion and it sums it up perfectly. Vince Antonucci provides an authentic glimpse into his life, his journey as a Christian, his moments of disappointment, his 'a-ha!' moments and just basically provides a sincere, personal view on what Christianity is about.

The words that come to mind as I recall the content are: honest, sincere, imperfect, funny (my favourite by far is the subject of Monks), inspiring, uplifting, and personal. Not just personal because the author is sharing his life but because the author talks to - not at - the reader which makes the whole experience feel less like reading a book, and more like listening to a good friend. This book is a must read for any Christian but I would also highly recommend it to anyone who has questions regarding religion of any kind. I would recommend it to parents of teens who have questions regarding religion (it's the most fun book on Christianity I am aware of!) Most especially, if you are like me, then you have all met Christians who preach but fail to live by their own words. Or the Christians who seem to direct judgement at everyone around them. This book if nothing else, will show that just like everything in life there will always be good and bad sides to our religious experiences. It will lead you into the heart and mind of a Christian who is far different than most I have met, and one who provides much food for thought.

The content is presented in a greatly entertaining manner. A good example is in Chapter 6: Hungry, from which I will provide a quote;

Jesus: 'Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.'
The bible tells us this was the day almost everyone decided not to follow Jesus anymore.
I bet this was also the day when Jesus' closest disciples realized they had a problem: Jesus was a loose cannon. I can picture them, later that night, suggesting to Jesus that perhaps they could help him with his PR.
'Now Jesus, if we heard you correctly, earlier, your new marketing slogan is: Bite Me!'

There is much more to it but I tried to capture a little part of it so as to share an example of the fun discussion without ruining your enjoyment of the book should you get it and read it.

Did it make me want to rush out and get baptized? No.. but it did provide me with a lot of ideas on ways I can improve my life and the lives of those around me. It did inspire me to take a look inside myself and check out my priorities in life. I greatly enjoyed this book.

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