Thursday, June 17, 2004

blokes and books

I have further developed my thoughts on doing postmodernity into a longer piece on blokes and books, for a local radio station.

Oh, I rate 30/100 in the good booking quiz. Given the tone of some of the questions, I am taking this as a compliment.

You see, the local newspaper on Saturday informed me that blokes don’t read books.

Apparently getting men to read fiction is the holy grail of publishing. No publisher, no matter how much their advertising budget, has been able to wean men off newspapers and books about rugby and war?

Men read less than women.
Men read way less books than women.

This month, a book company in Britain has launched the Good Booking campaign. The hunt is on for good booking men.

And so this book company is offering a 1000 pound spot prizes to any man caught reading one of their fiction books in public.

The hunt is on for good booking blokes.

Go to their website and there’s a quiz you can take to see if you are good booking.
It’s a bit risqué and it’s very blokey.

But for the sake of Radio research I took the quiz.

I scored 30 out of 100.

And according to the penguin good booking campaign,
I am not a good booking bloke.
I need to polish my good booking image.
I need to read more books.

Which considering I have just finished a Phd and read over 500 books, probably suggests a faulty quiz.

Blokes and books.

A few months ago, the church I pastor celebrated Easter by making an Easter Art installation. The entire 400 seat church auditorium was turned into an easter garden, complete with interactive art installations.

The pews were pulled out and seven tones of sand was brought into the church.

I watched wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of sand be trucked in.
I watched the concrete pavers be laid,
and then trees and the shrubs and the grass arrived.
Then the bridges were build.
Finally a flowing waterfall.

Amid all this hive of activity, all this hammering and banging,
it suddenly struck me that for some of our men, this was worship.

Sweat and sand,
hammering nails,
building things
– was their way of loving God.

Doing practical stuff with their hands was their worship.

And I suddenly realised how goodbooking is our Christianity.
read the Bible
read 40 days of purpose.
sit down and listen to a preacher
sing songs about Jesus being my darling of heaven.
Blokes don’t read books, yet so much of our Christianity is book and word bound.

So what do we do with blokes, books and Christianity?

Should we make them good booking?
spot prizes of a 1000 dollars if you are caught reading your Bible in public

cute little internet quizs on our church websites that rate one’s bible knowledge:
30 out of 100, so get your good booking act together

or does Christianity need to do a rethink.

I mean, does Christianity need to be goodbooking?
How important are books to following Jesus?

Did Jesus need books?

Sure he used the scrolls
but he lived in an oral culture of storytelling
and he taught by action: watch me act, then you act,

So if Jesus wasn’t goodbooking, then why is Christianity?

Surely blokes don’t need to read be good booking to follow Jesus.

Blokes and books:
Can we use more images in church?
Can we use more stories in church?
What is the place of action and activity?

Posted by steve at 02:34 PM

1 Comment

  1. For 3/4 of the history of the church the average bloke didn’t have access to a bible for home or private study, what did they do? Perhaps the revolution the printing press made on people like the Lollards and Hussites can be done in reverse? i.e. recovering the ways they worshipped without books in a church culture that exalts books…I think the marriage “love languages” can be applied to how we express our love for God e.g through helps. I know a lot of blokes who express their love for God through work like cleaning the baptismal pool after baptisms, a shitty job that no-one else will do, or through working bees etc, it’s just that the church doesn’t have much room for this sort of worship. Hooray for deconstructing “good booking” and the typical read-your-bible-by-yourself-and-pray “quiet time” with God.

    Comment by Andrew — June 18, 2004 @ 8:53 am

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