UK Christian Bookshops Directory: Christian Book Reviews: The Christian Handbook
The Christian Handbook The Christian Handbook

Kristofer Skrade
ISBN 0806652594 (9780806652597)
Augsburg Fortress, 2005

Category: Christian Life & Discipleship

Joy. Deep joy. As someone — I forget who — once observed, for some Christians it's so deep that it seems to leaked out through the soles of their feet.

We've all seen them I'm sure: Christians with long faces, merchants of gloom and doom, frowns etched in stone and faith taken so seriously that their faces would crack and fall off if ever they were called on to smile, let alone laugh.

Here, at last, is the antidote, The Christian Handbook, a book that will crack you up with laughter one moment and pull you up short the next as you find yourself and your attitudes caricatured in its pages.

You'll find detailed instructions on how to respond if you find someone else sitting in your pew (shock, horror!), advice on how to banish the devil from your presence (with a particularly important tip attributed to Martin Luther, which I'll let you discover for yourself), and instructions on how to identify someone filled with the Holy Spirit, accompanied by a note of caution: "The Holy Spirit may enter your life or someone else's life at any time. Remain alert." And, of course, the essential guides on how to avoid being fed to the lions and how to identify a prophet, both complete with diagrams.

Alongside this tongue-in-cheek approach to the Christian life there are genuinely helpful observations, including a section on how to listen to God's voice divided into three sections, Times of Woe, Times of Joy and Every Day.

Be warned: this isn't a book to read in a single sitting. Take it in small doses, and share it with a friend; even better, with an enemy. Take it to church with you — take several copies and smuggle them into the congregation between the hymnbooks and the pewsheets. Give one to your vicar or minister if you dare, definitely give one to your church magazine editor, and — it is a handbook after all — keep one handy yourself (next to your Bible, of course: you do keep that handy, don't you??).

But above all: enjoy!

Note for Publisher: Be sure to produce a hymnbook lookalike edition for easier smuggling into services. Consider introducing a bulk purchase scheme as operated by publishers of Bibles and hymnbooks.

Also available in packs of 10

Phil Groom, March 2006

Phil Groom is this site's Webmaster and Reviews Editor. He's a freelance blogger, writer and web developer who spent ten years managing the bookshop at London School of Theology alongside eight years writing web reviews for Christian Marketplace magazine before he came to his senses and went independent. You can find him on facebook or follow him on twitter @notbovvered.

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