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God Is Disappointed in You (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 27. August 2013

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Amazon.com: 83 Rezensionen
25 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Almost Cathartic 8. September 2013
Von Gorge Gal - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
The winning duo of Russell and Wheeler present the Bible to those, like myself, who were steeped in it growing up, with a sharp eye for humor and hilarious prose. Of course, the reality is strange enough on its own; the stories of the old testament are about as sordid as they come. My wife and I enjoyed this book immensely and laughed out loud with regularity during the week or so it took us to devour it. Oh, and all the publishing touches are there as well: guilded pages, red ribbon bookmark, faux leather cover. Too rich.
36 von 40 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The Opposite of Disappointed 11. September 2013
Von The Golden Darter - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Quote from book: "What do we call it?" After a few abortive suggestions, all of which I'm glad we turned down, we started to focus in on "God is Disappointed in You," which is the perfect title for this book, because if I had to condense the entire Bible down to a single phrase, that would be it.

God is Disappointed in You took me significantly longer to read than I had initially assumed. The Bible can be quite dull subject matter, especially for a non-Christian. That being said, I truly did enjoy this book. Religion can be such a serious, touchy subject for many people, so I don't know that this book is for everyone, as I can see the more devout being offended at the language and seemingly lackadaisical attitude expressed towards one of the worlds most "holy" of books.

Most of the Old Testament is about land battles and genealogies (or as Russell states, God's attempt at scrap-booking) and God smiting or promising to smite people. And there is a reason that a lot of Christians (at least the ones that I personally know) have never actually read the entire Bible. It's dull. I think Leviticus is my favorite example of this, but Russell was able to even make that chapter interesting to me.

God is Disappointed in You's setup is basically that each chapter of the Bible has a corresponding chapter in there. They are not always just straight prose either. For example, Psalms was written in the form of a "Greatest Hits" album, several books followed the form of emails or memos, Habakkuk was a Q&A, Hebrews was in FAQ form, etc. Having read the majority of the Old Testament, I can speak to the veracity of that particular section, and the humor that Russell brought to it was very amusing.

I also learned several things I didn't know before. Like, for example, how Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all the same damn story just told by different people. No author today could get away with that kind of repetition. Russell tired to make them each individually interesting, but you can read the same story only so many times before you get tired of it. And the rest of the New Testament, with the exception of Revelations, is basically just a bunch of letters from apostles. So there's that.

TLDR: Loved this irreverent view of the Bible, and I will actually be buying this book as soon as I get done with this review. Yes, I loved it that much.

ARC courtesy of Top Shelf Productions, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
21 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A humorous interpretation of the Christian Bible 10. Oktober 2013
Von KickinFamily - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Via NetGalley, Top Shelf Productions supplied me with a copy of this eGalley for the purposes of reading and reviewing it. While it was provided at no cost to me, I am under no obligation to give a positive review.

I was raised Catholic. There. It's out in the open. Judge me now or judge me later.

Catholics don't usually have Vacation Bible School, so I invariably went with friends to whatever VBS they were attending that week. It was a surefire way for my parents to keep my brother and I out of trouble. Well, you can't blame them for trying.

I remember that during one of them there was a contest to memorize scriptures. I have always had outstanding recall, so this was right up my alley. Add in that the first place prize was a one pound bag of peanut M&Ms, and I had all the motivation I needed. I won that contest easily. Good thing I don't have a peanut allergy. And that bag of M&Ms was gone within the hour when I got home. My stomach still hurts.

This book had no chocolate and candy shell-covered nuts as a reward at the end, but it was certainly equally as fun. In this hilarious offering, the authors (one the writer, the other the artist) take each book of the Bible (as I type this, "Born Again" by Black Sabbath is playing in the background. Ironic.) and summarize it in succinct and humorous ways. There are gems such as:

Here it is, the entire Jewish religion in a nutshell:

1. Build a just society where the rich and powerful don't get to treat the rest of us like livestock.

2. Don't get all too cool for school whenever God tries to tell you something. Be humble. You're never so holy that you can't improve a little.

And finally,

3. For gravy's sake, help each other out once in a while. Don't you understand? We're here on Earth to make life better for each other.

Oh, and make no mistake about it, this is not a book for kids. While it definitely pares down all the archaic language and mystery from the scripture, the word choice and topics are very much for adults. No, it's not raunchy or X-rated, but there are definitely obscenities.

Overall, I thought this book was absolutely hilarious, if not very irreverent. It takes what can be a very cumbersome and daunting text and breaks out each book of the Bible into a few pages of humorous summation. I laughed out loud all through it. Yes, it's irreverent, but it's also accurate in its interpretation. And in that, it's earned the rating.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
12 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
God Is Really, REALLY Disappointed in ME! 17. Juli 2014
Von Michael Eaton - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Mark Russell has surely written the best paraphrase of the Bible you will ever encounter. It is simultaneously both hilarious and thought-provoking. You will be reading along, find yourself snickering and then laughing loudly, only to stop and start thinking of the message that Russell has pulled out of a Bible passage. He has both the qualities of a standup comedian and a Biblical scholar. It is rare that I have enjoyed a book so much and learned so much. Thank you, Mark, for such a fine book.

I won't try to go into all the detail of other reviewers here. They have done an excellent job. But, I just want to say to those who read this particular review and are wondering if they should buy the book or not: BUY THE BOOK! NOW! You will not regret it. Unless ...

Unless you are a staunch, unmoving believer that the Bible (Which translation do you use?) is the perfect word of God. It would do you good to read the book, but you would surely be offended and outraged at this frank and unflinching distillation of God's message to Humankind. Please, please, get off your high-horse for just a while and give this book a chance. Do not immediately discount it because of the humor. At the end, you may still be outraged, but perhaps some seed of a new perspective will also begin to grow in your mind.

Thanks again, Mark, for such a fine book. This book will stay on my iPad until I croak. (At which point I may find myself in a lake of everlasting fire, but I hope at least that they will allow me to keep my iPad.)
41 von 53 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Hilarious but not helpful 3. Februar 2014
Von James Parker - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I was in the library, absorbed in my reading, and evidently laughing too loudly. Someone pulled up alongside me to ask what was so funny. What was so hilarious was Mark Russell’s version of the Bible, God Is Disappointed in You.

Mark Russell, Portland artist and comic writer, is gifted. He boils Bible stories down to 223 pages. His irreverent humor (“God going apeshit”) and clever observations (“Israel is the only country named after a wrestler”) catch the reader by surprise. Russell’s equally talented colleague, Shannon Wheeler, contributes droll cartoons, such as this one in the story of Ruth: One of two women, backs bent in harvesting, complains to the other, “Guess who’s too good to work in the fields (it’s Ruth, of course) now that she’s sleeping with the boss.”

It would be crazy to fault Russell for setting out to make us laugh as we read stories that are usually told in an all-too-hallowed way. However, and surprisingly, we find that Russell intends God Is Disappointed in You to be more. Twice in his preface, he insists that his intention is “to take each of the books of the Bible on its own terms;” in other words, “always to describe the events and their meanings just as they were written in the Bible thousands of years ago.” Russell is convinced that he can understand Bible stories and guide us to their meaning.

That is a big claim. Kudos to Russell for not wanting to substitute his own version of Bible stories for the Hebrew texts. But has he truly confronted each of those stories “on its own terms”? Or has he done a brilliant job of getting us to see humor in the interpretations of those stories that most of us have carried around in our heads ever since Sunday school?
No text means exactly what we think its words say. If meaning were so apparent, we wouldn’t have myths, or poetry, or parables, or parodies, or drama, or, in short, literature. For that reason, to confront each of the biblical stories “on its own terms” demands, first of all, that we try to get at what the stories meant to those who composed them and to those who first heard them. Only then can we discover what those stories could mean to us who live in different times and how they might illumine our lives.

An example. Russell presents the story of Adam and Eve as the narrative of original sin, a church doctrine usually explained as being about an ancient wrongdoing that brought down God’s wrath and human exile from blissful existence. But the composers of the Bible story in Genesis had been gone some 1,500 years before that doctrine of sin and fall came on the scene, and they certainly weren’t claiming to be eyewitnesses of something that took place at the beginning of time. No, the story of Adam and Eve as it was first told and heard is a myth about us, Everyman and Everywoman (approximate translations of Adam and Eve), who are tempted, who vacillate between our ideals and our inability to achieve them.

Another example. Russell skips rather lightly over the story of Joseph. This story was told at a time when all other legendary heroes were finding their glory in slaughter and revenge. Joseph is not, as Russell presents him in a narrative strangely stripped of all dramatic surprise, the big shot who could humiliate his envious and conniving brothers by being magnanimous and forgiving. He says simply, “I am Joseph, your brother.” In the rejoicing all around, Joseph becomes the first hero in world literature to win renown not for slitting the throats of the treacherous, but for true reconciliation. Other biblical characters—Joshuah, Samson, and Elijah, to name a few—were not up to Joseph’s stature, but that simply makes Joseph’s tale, rightly understood, all the more astonishing.

There is a price to be paid for overlooking the original context and believing that biblical stories mean whatever we think they mean. If we don’t know that child sacrifice was found in some cultures surrounding the ancient Israelites, we will miss the meaning of the story of Abraham setting out to kill his son, Isaac. For Russell, the story is either about a test of faith or about a really vicious prank by God. For the ancient Israelites, it was more likely a cry of the heart against any notion of a god who would demand the sacrifice of their children to secure their own dreams. Notice how Russell leaves the despotic god in place: Abraham’s willingness to put God’s need for a midnight snack ahead of the life of his own son was all God needed to decide that Abraham was worthy to be the father of his chosen people. But the surprising God of Genesis has nothing to do with cruelty, no matter how obedient we are to what some think of as religion.

Ironically, Russell’s conviction that biblical stories mean whatever they mean to us leads him occasionally to miss the real humor in the biblical stories themselves. In Russell’s account of the exodus there is none of the prolonged satire of Pharaoh and of Egyptian gods (or, should we say, Egyptian superstitions) that we find in the original story. Nor is there any of the self-mockery that we find in the narrative about the abject helplessness of Israel as Moses and Aaron invent and fail at one clownish scheme of escape after another.

Or consider the parody about that pompous prophet, Jonah. Though he preaches repentance, he really loves being right about other people’s wrongs. He covets a place in the hall of fame for the great prophets who were right even if they weren’t listened to. The story is embellished with Jonah’s childish pouting and the author’s child-like titters when not just pagan Ninevites but also their dogs and cats really listen and put on sackcloth garments as signs of repentance. What a way to deflate the belief that God’s love is for self-righteous Israelites alone!

Because Russell misses so much of what each of the biblical stories is about, it is not surprising that he gives us little guidance as we seek to understand the over-arching meaning of that vast collection we call the Bible.

Do we come away from God Is Disappointed in You with any glimpse of Israelites gradually and painfully learning that God is liberation from all that enslaves us? Do we sense that those who wrestle with God learn, even more slowly and painfully, that God is not all-powerful, but the one who suffers in love? Do we get the point that he favors the vulnerable widow and the youngest child, the outcast leper and the prostitute, the foreigner and the non-believer?

The Acts of the Apostles (8, 25-36) preserves a poignant vignette. A man named Philip fell in with an Ethiopian who was reading the prophet Isaiah as he trudged along the road between Jerusalem and Gaza.

“Do you understand,” Philips asks, “what you are reading?”

“How could I understand,” sighs the Ethiopian, “with no one to guide me?”

Now that we are all Ethiopians, living at a time in which many young people haven’t even heard of Moses and Abraham, we, too, answer Philip’s question with a second one: How can we understand Bible stories without someone to guide us? Unfortunately, that someone isn’t Mark Russell.
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