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The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Thoughts On Following Jesus, Amish Romance, the Daniel Plan, the Tebow Effect, and the Odds of Finding Your Soul Mate [Kindle Edition]

Stephen Altrogge
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 68 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

In this collection of humorous and heartfelt essays, Stephen Altrogge takes a close look at various aspects of Christian culture, including:

- The insanity and pressure of parenting
- The rise and fall of Contemporary Christian Music
- The Amish romance novel phenomenon
- Reality television
- The Tim Tebow effect
- The statistical odds of finding your soul mate
- And a number of other topics

In the vein of writers such as David Sedaris and Dave Barry, Altrogge tackles topics with self-deprecating humor, sarcasm, and a thorough grasp of scripture. This book will cause you to laugh at yourself, laugh at others, and perhaps think a little deeper about certain subjects.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1701 KB
  • Print Length: 68 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Blazing Center Books (17 Feb. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IIVJ0T0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #348,211 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Spirited life and wisdom 5 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Here comes another dose of unusually packaged, edgey, soulful theology. Altrogge writes very well and with much heart. As well a playful This is a departure from the normal, with arguably the most creative and unique sub-title to this series of essays. You'll rarely get such diverse threads as culture, family, adventure, TV viewing, personality, profile, compatibility, one-in-seven-billion odds, discomfort, eternity and of course Ezekiel bread, in one title!

Some of my favourites lines from this:-
"Life with young children is 85% insanity, 10% vomit, and 5% dedication."
"Amish people bring out the worst in me."
"The gospel gives us meaningful reality, and the gospel compels us to tell others about that meaningful reality."
"Satan is very real, and he wants to bring as much destruction and despair into the world as possible."
"I need hope that Satan won’t have the ultimate victory. I need hope of deliverance. Fantasy can provide a brief respite from this world, but it can’t provide me with any true, lasting hope."
"These types of evangelists also tend to carry thick, King James Version Bibles, which they can pound with their open palm. These types of evangelists also seem to sweat a lot."
"God cares more about our character than about all the “awesome” things we accomplish........Maybe our bucket lists should be more about faithfulness than awesomeness. "
"Hell is very real and lots of people are willingly and unwillingly going there. Eternal realities compel me to tell people about Jesus."
"After all, it does us no good to win the culture war if we end up losing the people."
"Honesty is so much better than false humility.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The book was not good 24 Nov. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book was not very good story. Sorry
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  61 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brief, amusing (and frequently silly) cultural observations from a Christian perspective 20 Feb. 2014
By Rob - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
"The Inmates are Running the Asylum" is a collection of short, humorous vignettes about a variety of observations regarding parenting, sports, politics, etc. It's a relatively short, funny read with plenty of goofy, scatological humor (and for me personally it was a nice transition to having just finished Eric Metaxas's exhaustive biographical tome on the life of Bonhoeffer). The narrative in Stephen's book is a light, sometimes rambling manner with lots of silliness while making some good and sound points.

The parenting section that opens the book was cute although a little chaotic, with he idea being that despite our failings to be perfect parents ultimately our children will remember if we loved Jesus, and if we labored to teach them about Jesus in the home. One observation is that sometimes an idea is introduced and I would have been curious to hear a little more resolution, such as how Stephen mentions growing up home schooled yet his own kids are apparently in a school, and as a homeschooling father I would have been curious to learn more about why he decided to pursue that direction.

The section on christian music featured interesting bit of nostalgia, particularly about the early days of the compact disk (that I too remember vividly.) I honestly don't know much about Christian rock so the section was informative, and did have me curious to stream some dc Talk. The details of Stephen's own rock ambitions were pretty funny.

The Amish romance section was a riot, and I've shared the same puzzlement of the Christian bookstore being packed with shelves of these titles. I see no reason why his sample wouldn't be a potential best-seller. Only observation about the text. In the faux-book he has the character Samantha make the comment "I think Tobias Stoltzfus is rather plain and boring." Wouldn't plainness be a virtue in the stereotype Amish romance book?

There are some additional good thoughts and observations about the concepts of bucket lists and reality shows addressed in light of the gospel. The sports-themed sections didn't do much for me, as I'm really
not much of a sports fan. I vaguely know who Tim Tebow is, and I know at least about his facial verse thing (and an observation - it's really unnecessary to say about the verses "“3:16” printed on them, a reference to John 3:16." I think most anyone sees “3:16” and they associate it with the Bible) Anyhow, "Why do we Christians get so excited about guys like Tebow and Lin?" Well, I don't, so I just sort of breezed through these sections.

Stephen's ideas about the 'soulmates' concept were good, and how it's ultimately not a biblical concept and that "marriage is a covenant between two, imperfect, very flawed, sinful people." I think he's right on with this, and ultimately there's only one perfect person, Jesus Christ, and our marital compatibility comes through modeling our lives and our marriage after Christ.

There are more interesting observations about other topics such as evangelism, politics and even food additives and diet, and how these are to be seen through a Christian focus. As said initially, this is a pretty quick, light read with plenty of silly laughs along the way but ultimately offering a number of good Christ-oriented observations regarding different aspects of culture.

The cover freaks me out, by the way.

(incidentally, Amazon lists this as 68 pages, but it's actually 86. Still a quick read)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fresh perspective on Christianity and modern culture 13 May 2014
By Rachel Dawn - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I will start this by saying that I know the author, personally. My family attended the church where he and his Dad were both Pastors and we were there for many years before having to relocate for work. I make that statement because the reason we stayed in that church for so many years was because we SAW with our own eyes a true dedication to the Gospel, accountability and personal holiness. That started in the leadership and was reflected heavily in the members of the congregation.
Though there was a dedication to the Bible and diligent effort to adhere to it's principals and teachings, the tone of the people there was gracious, loving, merciful and encouraging. Not the judgmental, holier-than-thou demeanor one generally associates with "hard core" Christians who adhere firmly to the Bible.

This book is funny. It is a series of short and very readable essays on the places that our culture and Christianity are at odds with each other. And it's well worth reading. Some of these concepts were not new to me, but they will be new to a lot of people. In brief:

On raising kids...
The truth about how the Bible instructs us to raise children versus what a lot of child-rearing "experts" say.

"I want to be famous" bluntly compares world-view success with God's view of success. A hard read for the over-achiever, but very much needed. In summary, Solomon had some words to say about our successes and he sums them up nicely.

"Amish Vampires" was probably my favorite chapter. Stephen admittedly has never read an Amish romance novel, but tries his hand and writing an excerpt from one. I laughed heartily. Probably because I share his general distaste for these types of books myself and found his dialogue between two characters fantastic. i.e. "I treasure this more than a thousand amish buggies." But it makes a point that even "Christianized" culture can play the role of distracting us from things that truly matter.

"Bucket lists" compares our ego-centric drive to achieve and reach laudable success with that of a humble God-turned-servant who gave everything to save the world that rejected him. Makes we want to erase mine. Truth: faithfulness is boring. But God wholeheartedly endorses it.

"Reality Is..."
Read this for yourself. It makes the world of reality TV look like it really does...shallow. And asks what "true" reality really is. It's probably not what you think.

"The Tebow Effect" digs deeper into our love of success and fame as well as our skewed ideas about God's "endorsements" of us as believers. Does God promote people and bless them with worldly fame when they obey Him? Not necessarily.

"The Odds of Finding Your Soulmate" attacks our obsession with the "perfect" spouse and what the Bible actually has to say about the soul mate concept. It doesn't

"Let Us Make You Uncomfortable" - how to preach the Gospel, practically. He touches on "cold" evangelism (as being similar to a telemarketer making phone calls selling Jesus). And dissects the commonly quoted, "Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary use words." A holy admonition, but partly flawed. You'll see why.

"Jesus Isn't Republican" briefly touches on some hot topics in Christian culture and distinguishes between American Christianity and Biblical. These are significant.

"Free Range Christians" addresses the legalistic obsession with finding the "holiest" or "most scriptural" diet and why there really isn't such a thing. He places the emphasis on heart motives rather than dietary adherence and why it really shouldn't matter so much in the light of a world that is Hell-bound.

"Less Tee-ball and More Trash Talk" deals with honesty, false praise and being truthful versus having false humility. Still taken with a humorous levity, but poignant. Was Jesus politically correct? You may want to see what he has to say.

I may have overlooked a chapter somewhere from my scribbled notes. But the bottom line is that this is an easy read, touches on some very hot topics and gets to the point quickly without wasting a lot of words. I definitely recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Provoking Thoughts, Wrapped up in Great Writing and Winning Humor 3 Mar. 2014
By Chris Miller - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Stephen has that particular ability to make you think hard and laugh hard in the span of a few words, and these essays are no exception. He softens the impact of his messages with his blend of humorous pop-culture references and real, honest cleverness. While it is a quick read, it is also a fantastic one. He covers numerous topics in numerous ways, but always brings his messages back to solid, biblical truths. If you're looking to think more deeply about the Paleo diet, Amish Romance or 90s Rock'n'Roll, and how the gospel fits into each, look no further than this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Short Read on Several Essays on Several Subjects 3 Mar. 2014
By Zach Probst - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Another good short book from Stephen Altrogge. In this book I found myself sharing many of the same thoughts recently and unable to put them to paper so I was glad to see Altrogge hit on several of them in this short book. Singles should get the book just for the Soul Mate essay alone. Parents would do well to get the short book just for the parenting essay. My two favorite essays were on Jesus is Not a Republican and Organic, Locally-Sourced, Free-Range Christians. Great book Stephen. Keep them coming!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever, Funny, and Insightful Collection of Essays 2 Mar. 2014
By Ryan Selness - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Altrogge's book is a collection of essays, each of which begin with a funny observation about a wide range of topics (e.g. parenting "experts", Amish romance novels, and the concept of a soulmate). Several of the essays had me laughing out loud, particularly the opening chapter about parenting. I particularly enjoyed his ability to write in this manner without seeming like he was trying too hard to make his audience laugh. It felt like his writing expresses of how he actually sees the world.

The greatest strength of the book is in the insight Altrogge offers through his comedic observations. I found his book encouraging and enriching. He reminds us where to find meaning and happiness. He encourages us not to get caught up in searching for one perfect soulmate. He points out that our desire for escape is really a need for hope that can only be satisfied by Jesus.

I also appreciated Altrogge's clarity and brevity. He is able to clearly communicate a great deal of insight in a small space (86 pages).
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