cover image I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

Vince Antonucci, . . Baker, $12.99 (206pp) ISBN 978-0-8010-6818-8

In this ultimately disappointing book, Antonucci, a Virginia-based pastor, criticizes the superficial subculture of American Christianity. Antonucci’s working assumption is that many Christians are actually disenchanted by their spiritual lives and wonder why they don’t have the abundant life Jesus promised. The solution to this deadening state of affairs? Christians need to shake loose the trite trappings of Christian-speak and get back to the “adventure” of faith. Antonucci takes aim at some of the beloved shibboleths of evangelicalism, suggesting, for example, that instead of talking about having a relationship with Jesus, Christians should worry about whether (as per John 15) they “abide” in Jesus. Some of his turns of phrase are thought provoking, as when he urges readers to “be the good news” before they worry about sharing it. But his autobiographical vignettes go on too long, and his message—that the Bible asks us not to behave well or even to believe in Jesus, but to follow him—is not greatly different from many Christian-living books. Too often, Antonucci replaces the clichés he disdains with more platitudes. On prayer: “spending large quantities of quality time with God—face-to-face” will make believers “glow.” In short, this book promises more than it delivers. (Feb.)