christian satirist - now there's a job description! it's what becky garrison does in life. having written for the brilliant wittenburg door and the equally brilliant geez and written a few books she has a new book out jesus died for this? she says in the intro
Ever wonder what Jesus thinks when Christians pretend to glorify his name while placing themselves in the center ring? Does he ever turn to his Dad and go 'I died for this?'
the book is an easy read, a travel book, a pilgrimage, a quest that took me by surprise. it's quite delightful. becky visits palestine/israel, jordan, the uk, ireland, poland, and various american cities dropping in on christian communities, trying to make sense of where christ might be present. she manages to serve up the satire in ways that are humorous but not bitter - it's quite an art i'm guessing because the church is packed with things that could easily be slammed! (i've met becky a few times and seem to always be gently encouraging her to tone down her satire without losing her wit. she could easily slam things a lot harder i suspect!)
you can read between the lines in places and becky is clearly allergic to the white male dominance in many of the communities she visits and sick of the culture of branding and celebrity that so easily surfaces. like this...
Labels like emergent, evangelical and even Christian can be helpful points of reference provided one doesn't take the label, turn it into a designer logo, and market the product as if it's more important than Christ. In particular how can anyone preach an anti-empire message while promoting oneself as a religious icon? This makes about as much sense as a Quaker owning a gun shop.
but even where it sounds like she has not found great hospitality and felt very alone she wears her vulnerability on her sleeve in brutally honest fashion at times - laying out some of her own brokenness and craving for acceptance. in her travels she finds many hopeful moments and rather than writing as a dispassionate journalist relays moments of epiphany where she senses the reassurance of the presence of the risen christ. it's a hopeful rather than a cynical read.
she does a good job it seems of sniffing out where people are seeking out creative and authentic ways to follow in the way of christ. she is one of many pilgrims who have found friendship in the emerging communities in the uk and grenbelt festival to take back as inspiration.
to accompany the book becky has been interviewing people and uploading movies and podcasts where she asks people to respond to the idea of what jesus died for - the video stream is here (the answer i wish i had given is spencer burke's where he suggests we should be asking what jesus lived for! i give something a lot more earnest) | the podcast stream is here (becky throws me a googlie question - what do i say to people who say that the mainline denominations are dead - the new is where it is at!?). the quality of some of the interviews is rough and ready but that's part of its charm...