Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Pagan's Nightmare

A Pagan's Nightmare by Ray Blackston is not for Christians with a low tolerance for humor. Larry has written a new book and presents it to his agent Ned to sell to the movie studios. Larry's book is a bit controversial in its view of Christianity and the hereafter. In alternating sections we read Ned's struggle to sell the book and the book itself. Ned's wife Angie, a Southern Baptist, is so offended at the book's content she tries to burn it and then organizes a protest outside of her own home. Is the book really that upsetting? It depends on how you look at it. Blackston's tone is dead-on for a wry commentary on legalism in the church. He pokes humorous daggers at the attitude without attacking the faith behind it. Blackston's writing style isn't always fluid, and transitions are rough in spots. Some of his characters (especially the ethnic ones) seem a bit stereotyped, but that may be part of his scheme to get the reader to think wider than just the story he's telling. The book seems to tell the story of a reverse rapture (unbelievers are taken, believers are left behind to create their own Paradise), but it's misleading. Try to avoid reviews that offer spoilers, because while they may make you more comfortable reading the book, the uncomfortable squirming that comes before Larry's explanation of what the book is really all about can help you find the legalistic areas in your own life. This is not the book for your Southern Baptist grandmother (unless she has a great sense of humor), but it's a fun read for believers and non-believers alike. It treats both Angie's faith and Larry's agnotisicm with equal respect.

We're going down to Madison for the weekend. Molly's singing in the All State Honors Choir. Only 150-160 kids from the whole state are invited to participate, so we're pretty proud.