Joe Queenan, in a recent article in the New York Times Book Review, writes that he had recently established a screening program by only purchasing books that at least one reviewer had described as “astonishing.” Previously, he had limited his purchases to books deemed “luminous” or “incandesent,” but this meant he ended up with an awful lot of novels about bees, Provence or Vermeer(a Dutch painter). The problem with incandescent and luminous books, he writes, is that they veer toward the introspective or the wise,while he prefers books that go off like a Roman candle. When he buys a book, he doesn’t want to go away happier or wiser or even better informed. He wants to get blown out of the water. He wants to come away, well, astonished.
He won’t buy a book just because it has the word astonishing in the title, and he won’t buy the book if the author or publishing house uses the word to describe the book. It has to be said by a reviewer. Then he buys it.
It makes me wonder what has to be said about a church for someone to try it. Here’s a selection of words:
A work of art
So what word are you looking for? What turns your head and turns you on? (Can we say “Shallow Hal”?)
Another question: what happens to a church that is trying to be one of these words, or some of these words, or (gasp) all of these words? What happens to “Ugly Betty” churches? Extreme makeover? Or extreme leftover?
Just been wondering. By the way, do any of these words describe your family? They don’t? And you still stay? I don’t get it.