Friday, June 12, 2009

The Seven Faith Tribes by George Barna - Another DNF

The Seven Faith Tribes: Who They Are, What They Believe, and Why They Matter
by George Barna
Published April, 2009
BarnaBooks - Nonfiction/Religion
DNF (272 pages)

When we create a burgeoning industry of assisted living for our elderly relatives we don't have the time or inclination to care for, we redefine family and negate a fundamental strength of our society. When we donate less than 3 percent of our income to causes that enhance the quality and sustainability of life, our lack of generosity affects the future of our society. When we permit the blogosphere to become a rathole of deceit, rudeness, and visual garbage, we forfeit part of the soul of our culture. When we allow "no fault" divorce to become the law of the land, as if nobody had any responsibilities in the demise of a marriage, we foster the demise of our society. When we choose to place our children in day care and prekindergarten programs for more hours than we share with them, we have made a definitive statement about what matters in our world.

I highlighted the sentence that made my jaw drop. Interesting that the author of this book referred to the blogosphere as a "rathole of deceit, rudeness and visual garbage" and then chose to promote his book through blogs, don't you think? I have to admit, that sentence put me off so thoroughly that I only lasted about 3 more pages (up to page 12, in the first chapter).

From the cover of The Seven Faith Tribes:
In this groundbreaking work, acclaimed researcher and best-selling author George Barna identifies, describes, and analyzes the seven major "faith tribes" in America--documenting who they are, what they believe, how they vote, and what they are passionate about.

I managed to read about one "tribe" and that was quite some time ago, when the book arrived at my house. The Seven Faith Tribes arrived on my doorstep just after I finished reading The Blood of Lambs in April. I referred to the section on Muslim beliefs at that time, hoping that I would find some additional information that would help illuminate the Muslim faith. I found the chapter unrevealing and, in some ways, innacurate -- at least in comparison to what the author of The Blood of Lambs said about his Muslim beliefs.

I would suggest that you read the sneak peek chapter, posted just prior to this blog entry, if you're interested in the book. I can't think of anyone to whom I'd recommend The Seven Faith Tribes, but I didn't get far enough to say, "Don't read it," so I'll just leave it at that -- no recommendation, no warning to avoid the book.

Up next: No idea, although I finished The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie, a few days ago. Maybe I'll review it. But perhaps I'll just babble. We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

Just walked in:

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
The King's Legacy: A Story of Wisdom for the Ages by Jim Stovall

Yesterday's surprisingly embarrassing windfall:

In the Kitchen - Monica Ali
The French Gardener - Santa Montefiore
East of the Sun - Julia Gregson
The Love of Her Life - Harriet Evans
(all from Simon & Schuster)

First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria - Eve Brown-Waite
Love in Bloom - Sheila Roberts
In the Sanctuary of Outcasts - Neil White
Life's That Way - Jim Beaver
A Wall of White - Jennifer Woodlief
(all 5 won during the BEATwittyParty and sent directly by Folio Literary Management)

The mailman tottered halfway across my yard, balancing those two big boxes (I met him in the middle) and I recall declaring to someone (either my online book group or those wildly fun people I hang out with on Twitter) that if the UPS or FedEx trucks came anywhere near my house I'd have no choice but to throw myself beneath their wheels. Fortunately, that was it for the day. Only 9 books. Hahaha. Only.

Because this post needs some color, a peek at last weekend's swim meet:

We were very fortunate. Today, the heat index crept up to 98 degrees (88 degrees, 63% humidity the last time I looked) but it was quite pleasant during the swim meet.

And, one last thing:

Does anyone know what the heck Ed means by "assumptive coverage" in his comment to this post? I looked it up online. Ed has used the two words together repeatedly, but Google tells me he's quite unique in his wording. I avoid jumping into controversy in much the same way that most people avoid individuals with the plague, so I'm not leaping into the middle of this issue. But, boy, Ed sure has a few bloggers and book tour coordinators riled up with his recent comments.

Now, I shall fold my technical T-shirts as the homemakers do and quietly go read a book (because I'm writing this late at night, although it won't show up until morning -- it's like time travel, cooool). Nighty-night!

Bookfool in bare feet with air conditioner and ceiling fan


  1. Bookfool -

    To be fair, there are blog sites out there that are truly awful and come close to meeting Barna's description. Plus, I can't say I'd disagree with his other points in the paragraph - we do warehouse our elderly, some times for good reasons, some times because we don't want to be inconvenienced, and we don't spend as much time with our kids as our parents did with us. My sister, who stayed at home with her kids until they were in high school, was made to feel unaccomplished because of her choice.

    Anyway, your point about his slam of the blogosphere he's turned to in order to promote his book is extremely valid.

    One final question - how do you know which is accurate as far as Islam goes? I've been looking for insight into Islam for quite some time now but it seems the more I read, the more confused I get.

    Boy, you sure got me going with just one little paragraph!

    As for Ed, from a quick read and no further follow-up, it would seem to me that he means if an author pays someone to set up a blog tour, the author has the right to assume that there will be action and that it will include good reviews of the book. And perhaps there is something not quite right about that...

    I'm not sure I'm anywhere close to being correct, just my take at first glance.

    And I envy you your weather! Today is supposed to be 67 here and I'm excited! It's the first time in a long time it's been so beautifully sunny!


  2. CJ,

    I don't disagree with you or the author on the comments about elderly and children, but my feeling as I was reading the first chapter was, "He's preaching to the choir." And, then there was that bit about the blogosphere. I don't go anywhere but book blogs, so I don't know what he's referring to.

    One final question - how do you know which is accurate as far as Islam goes? I've been looking for insight into Islam for quite some time now but it seems the more I read, the more confused I get.

    I don't. I said:

    I found the chapter unrevealing and, in some ways, innacurate -- at least in comparison to what the author of The Blood of Lambs said about his Muslim beliefs.

    "Unrevealing" is the key word. I didn't find anything new or illuminating at all.

    Okay, that's kind of what I thought Ed was implying but it's not how things work at all. The tour coordinator is paid to round people up to review a book, but I've never heard of anyone asking for only positive reviews. Nobody will do it, anyway -- at least nobody that I know. There's been some heated discussion about ethics, in recent months.

    Do NOT fool yourself into believing that warm weather is comfortable, here. We're extremely humid, buggy (lots of mosquitoes and stinging things) and it's hard to breathe. The air conditioner comes on by 10 am. It's ridiculous. You can have it!!

  3. Bookfool -

    I don't go seeking things out but I have, on occasion, ended up on a blog that was just plain revolting. I mean, the nutjob responsible for the Holocaust Museum attack had a blog that was filled with anti-Christian, anti-capitalist, anti-semantic garbage, as an example. I'm glad you haven't come across them. They're not worth viewing for any reason.

    I sure wish I could find a source that was of help when it comes to Islam...

    Well, the cold, rainy weather here has been creating havoc with my knees - the arthritis in them doesn't react favorably and, as I told my boss the other day, I have days when I feel like I've been hit in the knee by a baseball bat. So, maybe we should switch, weather-wise? Naw. I'm not a huge fan of high heat or humidity either...


  4. CJ,

    I've got a book on World Religions (Dummies or something similar). I need to read that, some time, and see if it's any good. It was originally bought for kiddo's school assignment and then he never used it.

    Maybe some place like Arizona would be good for you. The humidity causes all sorts of health problems -- allergies, sinus trouble, asthma. My husband has knee problems, too. The heat doesn't help because the humidity undoes everything.

  5. This sounds like an interesting book. I got the Simon and Schuster books too but not sure I'll read two of them. I can explain off blog, if you'd like. :)

    Well happy reading!

  6. Krista,

    Oh, sure. Tell me why! Inquiring minds want to know.

  7. This book definitely isn't one that I would want to read. It doesn't sound very helpful or informative at all.

  8. Wow, I found that sentence very off-putting too. The author actually wants blogs to review his work after writing something like that?

  9. Sounds kinda preachy. Also I don;t think it's fair to paint all blogs with one brush.

    As for Ed, he seems to be on a anti-blog-tour roll lately. He keeps popping up everywhere. I have no idea what that phrase means.

  10. But I want to know why LoB doesn't think she'll read them either.

    Huh about Barna's book. My Dad likes him, but then he's pretty much the choir. I've read some pretty nasty stuff on some sites - almost every group has an Us and a Them and the Them's are usually vilified. It's amusing, actually, in a troll kind of way.

    First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria is a fabulous title. I want to read it already.

  11. Alyce,

    I found what little I read rather boring and preachy, but since I didn't read very far, I'm not a good judge, I suppose. It just didn't work for me. :)


    Yep. Now, a couple of people have made some interesting remarks about the garbage that you can find on blogs. He wasn't specifically referring to book blogs, of course, it's just that I think we're sensitive to broad, sweeping remarks that lump us into a negative category. Since I don't go beyond book blogs, I really don't know what's out there. I should probably shush. :)


    That's a great way to put it, "paint all blogs with one brush". I think that comment is actually a good reminder about taking care not to make broad enough statements that you end up lumping the good in with the awful.

    Oh, that Ed. Yeah, he does seem to be everywhere and he has a bee in his bonnet about blog tours. I think he's a little confused. Several of his word choices seemed off to me -- "lobbying" rather than "marketing", for example.


    LoB told me why, off the board. It's just a personal issue -- things she doesn't want to read because they hit too close to home, very much akin to my refusal to read much of anything related to cancer (although I have one that looks pretty interesting).

    I guess Barna is for the serious right-wingers? I don't know. I agree with him about moral decline in the U.S., but I don't like reading rants and that first chapter felt like a rant, to me.

    Agree 100% about First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria. I've wanted to read it since the first time I heard that title.

  12. Well, this is good to get your perspective as this book is on my wishlist at paperbackswap. I was interested in reading it, particularly after reading the book he co-authored with Frank Viola - Pagan Christianity?. Now I'm wondering if it would be worth my time. I also see you have The Unit coming up in your reads on your sidebar. That book looks very intriguing to me - I'll be interested to hear what you think of it.

  13. Twiga,

    If you like his writing, I would say don't avoid it. I didn't get far enough to judge, really. It's just that the first chapter seemed like a rant to me -- a rant about things I agree with, but it just bored me. I'd advise you to read the sneek peak chapter.

    I started The Unit, last night. It's really good. I had trouble putting it down but I finally decided I probably ought to get some sleep.

  14. I have liked Barna's stuff in the past and he's actually quite a bit off the evangelical Christian norm with his recent thoughts.

    To be completely fair, this blog tour was organized through his publisher and he may have had nothing to do with it.

    I misplaced my book, though, so I can't really add anything.

  15. Amy,

    I've gotten so many positive comments about the author that I'm beginning to think I should give it a month and try the book, again. Thanks for weighing in.


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