Not a Joking Matter

This "book" was donated to the library a while back. I just now got these pictures uploaded.

I say "book" because it's really more of a 8.5x11-sized tract. With a cover like that, full of big, threatening letters and Having Every Single Word Capitalized, it may just make you throw up your hands and say:

Authentic! Startling! Astounding!

UPDATE: Click on the photo of the man to go to Picasa. Click the magnifying glass to get bluray-like detail to zoom in on the picture. Read the bottom banner.
Be advised.

I've been in church my whole life, and heard lots of theologies about Hell, but I did learn something from this booklet. Here it is:

I had no idea Hell was housed in the spherical, molten core of our planet, but it all makes sense now. "Does the center of the Earth have a bottom? NO!"

With the donations to the church library, we first decide whether to include them in our collection, then decide whether they're appropriate to donate to the prison ministry or another ministry that takes them. If none of those are good matches, we put the books in a FREE pile in our library for passer-bys to pick up. This booklet, I couldn't bear to send to any of those places, but it was too compelling (hilarious) to just throw away.

I would consider passing it on to another good home if someone would like to read more of the 28 pages of illustrated, full-color instructions on avoiding hell and why you might want to do so.

* I could have dealt with the more serious issue of evangelistic scare tactics, the effectiveness of tracts, and other theologies of Hell, but this booklet really speaks for itself- and I think anyone would have a hard time taking it seriously, so the above issues are moot.


Amy Sorrells said...

That's just wrong! (I mean, perhaps some truth to it, but seriosuly, who'd really give that to someone in need of and seeking God?!?) Nice. Was this donated to Grace's library? LOL. By the way, I love your blog and the Frodo quote. Awesome.

Joanna said...

Amy- yes, amazingly, it came in with a batch of books donated to Grace. Needless to say, it didn't make the cut! I've read quite a few tracts and wondered the same thing- who is this supposed to reach? What was the writer thinking? And, where's the love? In this particular publication, it's not there at all.

Anonymous said...

Could this be satire? The graphics seem "cartoony," and the over use of exclamation points make me suspect satire.

Joanna said...

James- Having seen the whole booklet, I'm pretty sure someone is taking this seriously. If it was satirical, there's be more obvious outrageous claims. It's funny you say they're "cartoony"- because there's a whole series of tracts that are actually comics. My personal favorite of that collection explains how playing D&D leads to suicide and worshiping Satan. Too bad no one passed that one out at GenCon.

James Kubecki said...

Do you have the tract at work? I'd love to see it. Or you should scan the whole thing. I'm sure it's even more ridiculous than you're characterizing.

I'd be curious to know - what would be some examples of some tracts that you do like, or would at least accept for the church library as resources?

Also, would it be safe to assume from your comment about love not being in this particular tract at all (of which I'm not surprised), that you also would reject a tract that was all "love" with no mention of hell or sin or repentance?

Anonymous said...

I, too, had no idea that hell was located in the molten core of the earth. And the fact that it is bottomless just astounds me. How could we not realize that the center of the earth kept going?
The author obviously feels passionate about the subject and is anxious to startle others into salvation. =) Thank you for the giggle. =)

Joanna said...

James K- Actually, tracts don't really fit in our library at all. We have shelves of books, and skinny tracts wouldn't have anywhere to go. Now that I think of it, we do have a "free" pile with assorted tracts (that are a normal pocket size, not like this printer-paper-sized one). This particular booklet won't be joining them.

As you said, and All Love tract without a mention of sin and repentance, wouldn't be a very effective gospel presentation, either, because it would be leaving out the need for the love- the severity of our sinfulness.

As for "tracts I do like"...I've been on mission trips where I've been the one handing tracts out on the corner, and I have the Four Spiritual Laws memorized and have training on how to walk someone through it, but right now I'm at a place where I'm not sure of the efficacy of any tract- a personal explanation of the gospel, from person to person, without the use of a canned, colorful, simplified booklet, seems to be a better solution. Maybe tracts just aren't my style.

Brad Ruggles said...

So when is it going to be in the Grace Library so I can check it out? I've had that book on hold at the library for MONTHS now...it's just such a hot book that everyone is always checking it out!

Joanna said...

Brad- Now that I've blogged about it, there really is a waiting list. I'll let y'all know when it's on the Grace leg of the tour- but for a limited time only! I don't think it'll be made part of the permanent collection.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin