Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book Review: God Made Me Do It

God Made Me Do It:
True Stories of the Worst Advice the Lord Has Ever Given His Followers

Marc Hartzman
Sourcebooks (2010)
Paper: 288 pps., $12.99

The timing of this book's arrival was so exquisitely perfect that I was tempted to credit God. In (so-called) reality, God Made Me Do It: True Stories of the Worst Advice the Lord Has Ever Given His Followers was sent to me by my literary agent* who also happens to be the author's literary agent.

Marc Hartzman's book arrived on a day when a lot of human imputation to God's motives seemed to be going on ─ not by me, I hasten to add. Not only do I take full responsibility for making stupid choices, but I would never invoke the Almighty as an excuse. I am, however, fascinated by those who do...make stupid choices and invoke God's will.

Therefore, I feel truly blessed that Hartzman made the brilliant choice of obeying God's command to write about "the world's most overused and worst excuse for poor judgment, horrendous acts, and pure nonsense." He has culled examples, primarily from news stories published since the early 20th century, to compile a delightful compendium of human absurdity.

He includes, of course, Oral Roberts reporting God as saying, "If you don't [raise $8 million] then your work is finished, and I'm going to call you home," and also former President George W. Bush telling a Palestinian delegation God that said, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq."

What makes this book oh-so-special is Hartzman's narrative style ─ which is just a fancy pants way of saying this guy's writing is wickedly hilarious when he explains the rationale behind gems like:
  • "God told me to [be a male stripper]." (p. 29)
  • "I am doing God's work. I have been sent here by God to destroy Santa Claus, who has become an idol in your eyes. God has told me Santa Claus is the devil himself." (p. 89)
  • "God's text messages told me to kill." (128-129)
  • "God told me to burn down a church." (p. 195)
  • "God told me to leave Princeton." (p. 203)
God Made Me Do It would make a great gift for anyone ministering to God's people. I say ditch the peeps, tuck this into an Easter basket instead.

*Yes, big cheap thrill upon typing the words, "my literary agent."

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