There were moments in reading Evangellyfish
that I felt guilty. For one thing, it’s a book with violence (one pastor punches another) and sex — not graphic sex, but sex nonetheless. I also felt guilty because I laughed. It’s a satirical book, and I suppose we’re supposed to laugh, but I still felt guilty. But then I’m really laughing at things that deserve to be derided. Nobody gets off lightly in the end.
Evangellyfish is the story of Chad Lester, head pastor of Chad Lester, pastor of Camel Creek Community Church. He’s 38 years old, founder of TrueLife Ministries, popular author and conference speaker. Not even a divorce slows him down; he just writes a bestselling book called Walking With Christ Through Divorce. I just tried to link to this book on Amazon; you’d almost believe that Chad Lester exists, and that he’s really written this book.
Chad Lester is also a sexual predator, which is more or less fine until it begins to interfere with the offerings.
John Mitchell is the pastor of Grace Reformed, a small Reformed Baptist church in the same city with Camel Creek. He gets dragged into the mess, and ends up having to minister to Lester, but only after he punches Lester and gives him a black eye.
It’s not hard to laugh at the absurdities in this book: out-of-control leaders, over-the-top ministries, and other evangelical absurdities. What’s troubling in this book is that it also exposes the smugness of people like Pastor John Mitchell as well — people just like the Pharisees, people like me.
It’s hard to write satire, because the truth is bad enough. Evangellyfish feels truthy. It’s fun, insightful, and more than a little convicting. Add it to your reading pile, but consider yourself warned: it packs a punch.
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