Monday, September 28, 2009

Is it really the "Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher"?

I am probably a bit behind the times with this one, but I just finished reading Rob Stennett's book, "The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher".

In the book, Ryan Fisher is a Real Estate Agent who realizes that their is about 80 million Christians in the U.S. and this is a great niche market for him to specialize in. So, he takes out an ad with the ichthys fish, starts attending Church and sees his business boom.

He starts to enjoy the christian community so much, he decides to become a Pastor. So, he and his wife up and move to a fictional Bartlesville Oklahoma to start a new church, first located in the local Chuck E Cheese, since they can't find anywhere else to meet.

The People's Church (no relation to Jim Jones' People's Church), struggles for a few weeks as Pastor Ryan and his wife try to figure out how to get people to come to Church. Their efforts include hiring Cowboy Jack (I think I saw him sing when I was in Showlow) from the local karaoke bar to lead worship. Cowboy Jack knows less about church than Pastor Ryan, but he makes up for this by "christianizing" the lyrics of popular songs.

For various reasons, the church soon begins to thrive and Pastor Ryan becomes famous nationwide, even though he does not believe in God.

This book is an interesting look at the Church. It chronicles some of the ideas that Ryan comes up with to get people to his church and to make it a place where people want to come to and stay at in a cynical and satirical way. Having formerly planted a Church (successful, but not nearly as successful as the People's Church), and having been around many Church Planters and new churches, it was funny and oddly fascinating to see all of the attempts that were made to get people in the door, from a petting zoo to emotional manipulation to his attempts to build teamwork and community.

It was, al in all, a fun and insightful read. If you are kind of angry at the church and "organized religion" anyway, maybe it is not a good idea to read this book. On the other hand, it does offer a bit of redemption, reconciliation and re-examination for those who are cynical, hurt and burnt. So, I guess you can read it. Go ahead, you have my permission...;>).

I now need to get his next volume, "The End is Now", all about the end times coming, but only to a small town in Kansas as a test market. Get it anywhere fine books are sold.

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