Sunday, August 09, 2009

Holy Mavericks by Shayne Lee and Phillip Sinitiere

Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution says that we should treat books like television shows. When a book is not appealing to you, you should "change the channel," throwing out the unappealing book and moving on to a better one. Holy Mavericks for me was like that television show you keep watching expecting it to get better until ends and you realized that it was awful the whole way through.

Holy Mavericks is supposed to be an investigation of five pastors: Joel Osteen, T. D. Jakes, Brian McLaren, Paula White, and Rick Warren, as innovators in the spiritual marketplace. As a non-Christian, I picked this book up at the library because I am intrigued by the subject. I was hoping for a book that would explain what these pastors believe and how they draw so many people to their churches. But the promise to look at the pastors using the tools of economics never materializes. Holy Mavericks is a jargon filled book that gives only shallow profiles of each pastor in question in which the authors miscite psychological ideas or name-drop philosophers in ways that are awkward and distracting. In addition, though published in 2009, the material is dated. The profile of Paula White includes a postscript about events that occurred in 2007.

This is the first book that I feel obligated to recommend not reading. It was awful and disappointing. If you are interested in this subject, I think perhaps the only use you will get from Holy Mavericks is the bibliography.


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