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The Christian Culture Survival Guide: The Misadventures of an Outsider on the Inside

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The Christian Culture Survival Guide is about the author's humorous experiences growing up in the Christian subculture and what he's learned along the way. From overcoming the temptation to wear W.W.J.D. bracelets to the disparaging experience of witnessing to a gay man at a bar, Matthew Paul Turner offers a fun read that's packed with profound insight and truth. The Christian Culture Survival Guide is about the author's humorous experiences growing up in the Christian subculture and what he's learned along the way. From overcoming the temptation to wear W.W.J.D. bracelets to the disparaging experience of witnessing to a gay man at a bar, Matthew Paul Turner offers a fun read that's packed with profound insight and truth.


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The Christian Culture Survival Guide is about the author's humorous experiences growing up in the Christian subculture and what he's learned along the way. From overcoming the temptation to wear W.W.J.D. bracelets to the disparaging experience of witnessing to a gay man at a bar, Matthew Paul Turner offers a fun read that's packed with profound insight and truth. The Christian Culture Survival Guide is about the author's humorous experiences growing up in the Christian subculture and what he's learned along the way. From overcoming the temptation to wear W.W.J.D. bracelets to the disparaging experience of witnessing to a gay man at a bar, Matthew Paul Turner offers a fun read that's packed with profound insight and truth.

30 review for The Christian Culture Survival Guide: The Misadventures of an Outsider on the Inside

  1. 4 out of 5

    Just a Girl Fighting Censorship

    When you grow up in the Christian culture (usually specifically Evangelical or non-denominational) you can find yourself in a bubble. The culture of Christian Rock, Veggie Tails and WWJD bracelets starts to seem like gospel. This book is a breath of fresh air and a great reminder that people who listen to pop hits and read Harry Potter are not going to burn in hell. It provides much needed perspective in a humorous and relatable fashion. It is kind of like a more Christian friendly version of Ra When you grow up in the Christian culture (usually specifically Evangelical or non-denominational) you can find yourself in a bubble. The culture of Christian Rock, Veggie Tails and WWJD bracelets starts to seem like gospel. This book is a breath of fresh air and a great reminder that people who listen to pop hits and read Harry Potter are not going to burn in hell. It provides much needed perspective in a humorous and relatable fashion. It is kind of like a more Christian friendly version of Rapture Ready!: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture, and is a much quicker read as well. I read this when it first came out and I was in high school and it made a difference in my life. Its message mirrored something that I had always felt and was trying to reconcile, secular is not synonymous with sinful. Not everything in your life has to be stamped with a Ichthys and Christian merch. Christian swag is not a substitute for theology. Overall, this is really a book for those already immersed within the culture. Those who didn't grow up in the culture might not 'get it'. A must-read for any Christian struggling with a culture that can often feel smothering.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Derek

    In the decade since I first read Matthew Paul Turner's first book, The Christian Culture Survival Guide, both he and I have changed a lot. I have read several of his subsequent books, and it seems like he has softened his edges and made more peace with his place in the Christian world than perhaps he had when he first started writing in 2004, and I have definitely undergone much of the same journey over the same period (as evidenced by some of my early blog posts). With both of our transitions i In the decade since I first read Matthew Paul Turner's first book, The Christian Culture Survival Guide, both he and I have changed a lot. I have read several of his subsequent books, and it seems like he has softened his edges and made more peace with his place in the Christian world than perhaps he had when he first started writing in 2004, and I have definitely undergone much of the same journey over the same period (as evidenced by some of my early blog posts). With both of our transitions in mind, I was interested to return to this book to see how it - and I - have aged in the time since I first read it and whether it has aged well. CCSG is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek examination of many of the clich├ęs of American Christianity as written by Turner (no relation, by the way), himself a former editor of CCM, the chief magazine of the Christian music industry. He works his way through issues such as salvation, church, pastors, volunteering, and worship before getting into some more meaty issues such as boycotts and extremes, dating and sex, Christian entertainment, and living a Christian life. The conceit of writing his thoughts into the "survival guide" style that was all the rage at the time works well throughout, including the incorporation of lists that accompany each subject. The discussions mostly stay somewhat humourous and satirical, though at times Turner chooses to wade into deeper waters and to make a few comments on some more significant issues.The book itself is quite easy to read and only takes a couple of hours to breeze through, and it works well enough for what it is - an enjoyable critique of Christian culture from someone who grew up with it. Turner shows a natural talent for writing, though at times it seems as though he is caught halfway between the humour and the heartfelt, creating some internal tonal inconsistencies and a couple of genuinely cringe-worthy moments with jokes that have not aged very well. Then again, he is writing primarily for a Christian audience, and his willingness to address a few taboo subjects, whether in jest or in earnest, is admirable considering his history and the context in which he was expressing his thoughts. He has certainly become a much more accomplished and nuanced writer in the last twelve years, and he has learned how to balance his own thoughts (and even his remaining pains and struggles) with a more tender personal side that allows him more agency to go to those places. Sure, there are a couple of minor issues with CCSG, but I'm inclined to give Matthew Paul Turner the benefit of the doubt, considering the things he has written in the years since. Also, that last paragraph could have just as easily been written about me (right down to the last name and the time frame), and I appreciate that people have given me the grace to grow and learn as a writer and not to define me by the things I wrote in 2004. The Christian Culture Survival Guide is an entertaining diversion, and it's one that I will continue to revisit every so often for a laugh or two or because some of the passages included are really interesting. I think that other projects - such as Stuff Christians Like have surpassed it in terms of the satire and that Turner's own subsequent books have surpassed his original observations in the realm of impact and meaning, but I can appreciate this book for what it is: a first attempt, and a good one at that; I can only hope that I have similar success when I finally publish my first book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Matthew Paul Turner has the ability to discuss the pitfalls of fundamentalist Christianity with wit and often laugh out loud humor. This is a guide for anyone who has felt marginalized, judged, and terrorized by a fundamentalist church. His humor discusses issues in a fundamentalist church which cause many people wounds, but his humorous way of addressing them is a salve to ease the pain.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Annette Abbott

    Three stars is generous. I'd say it's more closer to 2.5 for me. A friend recommended Turner's "Churched" and it was a total winner with me because, like Turner, I had a fundamentalist upbringing and related 100% to all the weirdness such an upbringing could offer. Based on my laugh-out-loud experience with "Churched," I decided to continue with "Christian Culture Survival Guide" and it felt like was hearing a funny joke for the second time. Sure, it's still funny -- but knowing the middle part a Three stars is generous. I'd say it's more closer to 2.5 for me. A friend recommended Turner's "Churched" and it was a total winner with me because, like Turner, I had a fundamentalist upbringing and related 100% to all the weirdness such an upbringing could offer. Based on my laugh-out-loud experience with "Churched," I decided to continue with "Christian Culture Survival Guide" and it felt like was hearing a funny joke for the second time. Sure, it's still funny -- but knowing the middle part and the punchline makes it lose impact. Actually, many times it totally isn't funny and you think "Really? I thought this was so hilarious when I heard it before." If you've read "Churched," you've read this before. If not, save your money and buy "Churched" instead.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mitch

    Two stars, people, and that's all. What earned them? The occasional non-judgmental, non-acidic humor and the occasional useful observations the author made. He was brought up in a very judgmental church and, although he quotes the Bible verse against it, his book is solidly composed of 'types' of people, situations, etc. This is supposed to be funny and sometimes it achieves that but it is ALWAYS judgmental. The overall effect would make anyone want to avoid going to church since people are so obvi Two stars, people, and that's all. What earned them? The occasional non-judgmental, non-acidic humor and the occasional useful observations the author made. He was brought up in a very judgmental church and, although he quotes the Bible verse against it, his book is solidly composed of 'types' of people, situations, etc. This is supposed to be funny and sometimes it achieves that but it is ALWAYS judgmental. The overall effect would make anyone want to avoid going to church since people are so obviously obnoxious there. Does the author offer helpful advice about correcting these things? -Not nearly enough to match the scale of the problems he highlighted. Thankfully, this was a quick read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tim Beck

    The cover drew me in from the start. Turner hits the nail on the head. with tongue firmly planted in cheek he calls out the church and it's followers. if you can't take a joke you shouldn't read this book. although some of the chapters neglected to come to any resolution, in my opinion, the book was entertaining and somewhat inspirational in that i know without a shadow of a doubt of whom i desire NOT to be. too many in the church follow the church instead of Jesus. Turner call's them out - but i The cover drew me in from the start. Turner hits the nail on the head. with tongue firmly planted in cheek he calls out the church and it's followers. if you can't take a joke you shouldn't read this book. although some of the chapters neglected to come to any resolution, in my opinion, the book was entertaining and somewhat inspirational in that i know without a shadow of a doubt of whom i desire NOT to be. too many in the church follow the church instead of Jesus. Turner call's them out - but in a nonsensical, fun & humorous way. too bad most of the people he is talking about wouldn't get his 'jokes' anyway. p.s. the church... and christians... we need to change. no wonder the world thinks we're fools. because we are.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alex Strohschein

    I've followed Matthew Paul Turner's blog for about a year and I bought this book before that but I finally got around to reading "The Christian Culture Survival Guide" last weekend. This book is mildly humourous and I think Turner does capture some of the peculiarities within the Christian subculture (such as his guide about the Christian guys and girls one will see at church). I am by no means a fundamentalist nor do I agree with a lot of things fundamentalists preach, but I think Turner is a bi I've followed Matthew Paul Turner's blog for about a year and I bought this book before that but I finally got around to reading "The Christian Culture Survival Guide" last weekend. This book is mildly humourous and I think Turner does capture some of the peculiarities within the Christian subculture (such as his guide about the Christian guys and girls one will see at church). I am by no means a fundamentalist nor do I agree with a lot of things fundamentalists preach, but I think Turner is a bit too dismissive of orthodox theology. He provides some "key verses" in each chapter but I would hesitate to take his advice on several matters. This book could've also been a lot longer.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Duggan

    Even though it was written a decade ago, this book is still hilarious, particularly because I grew up in some of the same environments. It's a great satire of youth group and Christian music culture in particular, but manages to find positive lessons. Turner doesn't throw out the baby with the bathwater, just encourages Christians to be a little more self-aware. If you're not Evangelical/Fundamentalist (I'm Catholic), the parts about church services probably won't seem as relevant to your experi Even though it was written a decade ago, this book is still hilarious, particularly because I grew up in some of the same environments. It's a great satire of youth group and Christian music culture in particular, but manages to find positive lessons. Turner doesn't throw out the baby with the bathwater, just encourages Christians to be a little more self-aware. If you're not Evangelical/Fundamentalist (I'm Catholic), the parts about church services probably won't seem as relevant to your experience. Good snapshot of early-aughts Christianity.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Cute book, the introduction was the funniest part. He in humorous ways called the church out on some things while providing thoughts on how we can truly act like Christ. In the Dating & Sex chapter, he talked about the youth group 'fake-perfect couple'...she gets pregnant... and then ends up with a successful career talking to young girls about abstinence." Wow he totally prophesied about Bristol Palin while writing in 2004. Quick read but not for anyone who takes things too seriously or without a Cute book, the introduction was the funniest part. He in humorous ways called the church out on some things while providing thoughts on how we can truly act like Christ. In the Dating & Sex chapter, he talked about the youth group 'fake-perfect couple'...she gets pregnant... and then ends up with a successful career talking to young girls about abstinence." Wow he totally prophesied about Bristol Palin while writing in 2004. Quick read but not for anyone who takes things too seriously or without a sense of humor or who truly thinks a Democrat can't go to heaven.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Wilson

    I was a bit disappointed in this book. I've read other books by Turner, and this is my least favorite. I also realize it's his first book, and things often improve with age. It was humorous, but not funny (meaning to the point I would laugh). I have laughed out loud at his other books, and did find this one to be a bit of a disappointment when compared to his other works. I was a bit disappointed in this book. I've read other books by Turner, and this is my least favorite. I also realize it's his first book, and things often improve with age. It was humorous, but not funny (meaning to the point I would laugh). I have laughed out loud at his other books, and did find this one to be a bit of a disappointment when compared to his other works.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    Ah, the atypical Christian book where what is on the back and in the introduction in no way compares to the content. But I liked the bit on sex. I mean...it was good. I mean....of course I didn't like the bit on sex cos there was no bits about sex. Only weirdos like that kinda thing.... Ah, the atypical Christian book where what is on the back and in the introduction in no way compares to the content. But I liked the bit on sex. I mean...it was good. I mean....of course I didn't like the bit on sex cos there was no bits about sex. Only weirdos like that kinda thing....

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael Plewniak

    humorous book. i laughed out loud several times. there is nothing really insightful about this book, it just does a good job of mocking the christian culture. it even had a chapter mocking pastors and one mocking dating in the church. the dating chapter had me rolling.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Di

    An excellent and humorous look at some common practices in the Christian community - and how ridiculous they are - Like throwing out your CD collection...then buying most of them a year later! Good fun, great for a laugh.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    all you have to do is look at the cover of this book and it makes you want to open it up and read it. hilarious. this book is for those who are frustrated with organized christianity. (and can take a joke) it may offend some. but seriously, get over it, it is funny!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Way too much bile and vitriol. Perhaps therapy with a counselor would have been more constructive than therapy through publication. Even when this guy is right, he's wrong on the presentation and attitude. Way too much bile and vitriol. Perhaps therapy with a counselor would have been more constructive than therapy through publication. Even when this guy is right, he's wrong on the presentation and attitude.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Billy Jack Blankenship

    Anyone who grew up in the conservative church will get a good laugh out of this!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Glenda Rouxel

    Only just into it, bought this book ready to hate it for having a go at christians, but finding it absolutely hiularious. I am assuming the star rating I gave this will go up significantly!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    Hilarious!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I really wanted to like this book. I kept waiting for it to get funny but it fell short. Needed a good editor.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    a great, loving poke at a quirky Christian bubble

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sheikh Tajamul

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Turner

  25. 4 out of 5

    Realmomma

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  27. 4 out of 5

    SaraJane

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alissagraham

  30. 4 out of 5

    David

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