If you were a Christian retailer—that is, if you sold or had any commercial interest in Christian books, CD’s, DVD’s, and so on—you would faithfully (so to speak) read Christian Retailing magazine. And so recently you would have read there this review of Being Christian, the book authored by Famous Christian Personality Stephen Arterburn and me, which is just now out in stores:
“Being Christian: Exploring Where You, God, and Life Connect, Arterburn’s latest offering, written with co-author John Shore (I’m OK – You’re Not ), pushes the author into new territory. The work is written as a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) book on faith, a veritable primer of theology for the layperson.
“Being Christian is divided into two main sections, with ‘God Inside’ focusing on issues such as one’s relationship with self and others, and ‘God Outside,’ delving into the Bible and the church. It tackles the questions not only of Christians, but also of agnostics, atheists and adherents of other faiths.
“The authors also provide sage advice on choosing a church, selecting a Bible translation, praying for one’s enemies and many other topics, even explaining the difference between a ‘fundamentalist’ and an ‘evangelical.’ Especially helpful is their survey of the entire Bible and profiles of important figures from the Old Testament. [For examples, see below.]
“Arterburn and Shore write in a conversational, humorous voice, but deliver solid content. Being Christian will benefit new believers as well as veterans of the faith.” ––Christian Retailing
As to those “especially helpful profiles of important figures from the Old Testament,” here’s an excerpt from the book:
Q. Who are some of the main/most important people in the Old Testament?
A. Here you go:
God Created the universe. Quite famous. Is watching you right now. Back in the day, chose to reveal and very much involve himself in the life of the Israelites. Being people–which is to say, being extremely independent and stubborn–they tended to have real mixed feelings about that.
Adam Hebrew word meaning “man.” It wasn’t his fault that he ate the apple. (See Question #?, “What is original sin?” on page ?) Eve made him eat it. Famous quote: “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Eve Hebrew word meaning “life-giver.” It wasn’t her fault that she and Adam apple-gnoshed. Satan made her do it. Famous quote: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Satan Guilty! Forever! Needs to be executed, ASAP. The first of his two big appearances in the Old Testament is in the Garden of Eden. (Famous quote, from Genesis 3:4, where he’s explaining to Eve why it’s perfectly all right for her to eat the fruit God has forbidden her and Adam: “You surely will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” What a slime bag.) His second big OT appearance happens in the book of Job, when Skank Boy makes a bet with God that he can break Job. (His famous quote there is from Job 1:7, where he answers God’s question of where he’s come from with, “From roaming through the earth, and going back and forth in it.” Can’t you just feel the ooze dripping of that cretin?)
Cain Adam and Eve’s first born son. He killed his younger brother, Abel. Famous quote (from when, in Genesis 4:9, God asks him where Abel is): “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Abel Seemed like a nice guy. Certainly deserved a better fate.
Noah First, while busily constructing his ark, he was the subject of much derision and merriment. Later, not so much. Famous, pretty-much-wraps-it-up quote from Bible about him: “And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.”
Abraham Descendant of Noah. Patriarch of the Hebrew race. God established his covenant (that is, made his sacred promise) with Israel by saying to Abraham (in Genesis 17:6-8), “I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” And that’s the beginning of the long process by which the man formerly known as Abram became “Father Abraham.” Famous, heartbreaking quote, said to his beloved son Isaac just as he was about to behead him in obedience to God’s command to do that very thing, and in response to Isaac’s asking him about the whereabouts of the lamb he thought they were preparing to sacrifice: “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
[And from here we go on through many other Famous Old Testament Characters. This was one of my favorite parts of the book to work on; I loved it.]
Okay! Thanks for reading! I’m off to hang curtain rods in our dining room! Pray I don’t drill my thumb into the wall!
Related/follow-up post: How My/Our Book, “Being Christian,” Was Edited