C-17°|F2°"Weird Christians I Have Met" by Philip Baker I couldn't resist picking up this book to see how many weird Christians I've met. What I got was a humorous journey of self-reflection. Not only did I discover I've been quite a few of those weird Christians myself but there are probably still many shades of weirdness in me! Written by Philip Baker who pastors the Riverview church in Perth, Australia, "Weird Christians I Have Met" is an entertaining book that can easily be consumed in one sitting. It is one of those you'd want to share with friends. I did - and we soon found ourselves pointing out traits of weirdness in each other. We "manifested"! We'd go, "Hey, that's so ‘Pamela'!" or "C'mon ‘Dave'..." or "you're being a real ‘Jill'...". Pamela, Dave and Jill are names given to a few of the characters we meet in the book. Each character is really a caricature of a specific personality trait and Baker acquaints us with 10 of them. As we get to know each, we realise they really are quite familiar to us. They inhabit the pews in our local church. We all know: End Times Ed; Pentecostal Pamela; Theological Theo; Demonic Dave; Faith Frank; Backslidden Bob; Gullible Garfield; Judgemental Jill; Prosperity Patricia; and Plastic Pete. Baker employs a cushion of humour to constructively outline the negative as well as positive aspects of each personality. He describes the hindrances of each trait and how they may even cause church division. Each personality's catch phrases, favourite subjects, pet rants and relative tolerance (or intolerance) of other characters are comically portrayed. For instance, End Times Ed's best friend is usually a Gullible Garfield, who's probably the only one who'd get caught up by Ed's theory of rapture and support Ed's campaign to expose the current anti-Christ. Garfield gets along with everyone really, other than Theological Theo - for obvious reasons. Pentecostal Pam also rubs Theo the wrong way with her inclination to be driven by feelings rather than facts. We are also led to appreciate the positive aspects of each character. We are encouraged to emulate Theological Theo's passion for the word and to grow in experiencing a Spiritual relationship like Pentecostal Pam. Yet we should avoid the Theo tendency to bore others with pedantic reasoning while Pam quite frankly scares many with her hyper spiritual theatrics. Although Baker successfully finds balance with each character, he struggles when he comes to Plastic Pete and Judgmental Jill. There wasn't much to emulate by way of Pete's superficial fronts. Pete's catch phrase by the way is "I'm fine". And when it came to Judgemental Jill, there just wasn't anything to be positive about being judgemental. Perhaps if there is one aspect of lack in this book, besides being too short, it is that there isn't much biblical revelation or reference. So this might not be a book that ‘Theo' would approve of. But this isn't a writing derived through bible study; it is really a celebration of human diversity and a call for balance. Though we get our chuckles, there is a serious message. It ends with a closing chapter that beautifully articulates the need to turn away from religion and cultivate love, understanding and unity. I think there is much to value in Baker's comically insightful observation of people. I learned from it and would recommend "Weird Christians I Have Met" simply because I had such fun reading it.