A handbook for devout Christians invokes diverse pop-culture references.
The key organizing conceit of Abraham’s nonfiction debut is an extended comparison between true living in the Christian faith and the TV series Fear Factor, in which contestants were essentially pitted against their own worst fears and urged to overcome them to win prizes. In an analogy no less effective for being so cheesy, the author asks his target audience to apply the format and consequences of a show like Fear Factor to their spiritual lives: in this world, do believers fear human things they can see when they should be afraid of the divine things that matter most? “What if,” Abraham asks, “we live in a world centered on the fear of man, but have the opportunity to transform it by living marked by the fear of God?” The author contends that the noisy, attention-grabbing modern world around believers can distract them from the “straight, safe and godly path” that will lead to salvation. In the somewhat convoluted phrasing so common in modern self-actualization ministries, he contends that “God commands us to ask Him to show us the right path,” and the bulk of this book focuses on helping to show the way. These chapters forego doctrinal disagreements in favor of concentrating on spiritual basics and on trying to teach readers to be “shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves” about their faith practices. Abraham makes liberal use of pop culture, citing TV shows and movies and even indulging in some textual criticism of the Pharrell Williams hit song “Happy” (readers are told it “implicitly speaks to the fear of man and the fear of God”). There are digressions on subjects like chaos theory or the various names of God in the Bible, and footnotes accompany the whole narrative, usually providing Abraham with opportunities to tell jokes and lighten the mood a bit. The result is a fast-paced, engaging faith manual for the millennial set.
A highly readable reminder to Christians about where their true priorities should lie.