From a seminarian and stand-up comic—an “enlightening and entertaining” look at celebrity televangelists, cash, and couch-potato redemption (AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically).
On an average day, the largest religious broadcast channel is a “divine” presence in more than 50 million households. Holding court on the political issues of the day are such figures as Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, and Jesse Duplantis. Yet many people have little concept of what kind of faith happens there—apart from performing miracles and selling books. A casual viewer flipping past the channel is likely to think, “I haven’t the faintest clue what’s going on,” or “That church doesn’t seem like my church at all,” or even, “Wow, so that’s what happened to Kirk Cameron.”
To better understand the message of religious television, Lutheran seminarian Nadia Bolz-Weber spent 24 hours immersing herself in the phenomenon with guest viewers including a rabbi, a Unitarian minister, and her eight-year-old daughter. Augmented by a running count of all of the biblical verses used and total cost of various donations solicited and products shilled through the day, the author chronicles this hugely influential part of America’s religious landscape that is unfamiliar to many. And she never changed channels once. The result is “laugh-out-loud, hysterically funny, and also extraordinarily poignant—we need more theology done like this.” (Dr. Douglas Gay, Lecturer in Practical Theology, University of Glasgow, Scotland).
“Turn off your TV and read this book. It's enlightening and entertaining and it doesn't emit any radiation whatsoever.” —AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically
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Liturgically influenced levity
I lost count of how many times I laughed while reading Nadia’s book. She comes at this project with a Lutheran present and a rough religious past. Interesting insights and thought provoking questions are counterbalanced with seeking, (a little) cynicism, and just a twist of snark. This is a seriously good read and entertaining as well. I am grateful for this book. As she inspected TBN, she began to introspect her own beliefs and religious tradition. And now that she has caught up on her sleep, I am certain God’s grace will move her forward in His ways.