One-on-One with Adam Ford on ‘How to Be a Perfect Christian’
Ed: Why did you decide to write a Babylon Bee book?
Adam: We knew a book was a natural extension of what we were doing. I had our head writer Kyle out to stay with me for a weekend last year, and, among other goals of the visit, we had it in mind to narrow our book ideas down to one or two really good ones. So we sat around brainstorming and drafting, and How to Be a Perfect Christian was born.
People ask why we didn't just do a collection of popular articles from the site, and honestly, we knew from the go that we wanted the book to be all original content. A collection of "greatest hits" just wouldn't be able to make the point we are trying to make as well as we want to make it. We wanted to expand into a new realm. A standalone, cohesive, 200-page book brought with it challenges, but it was exciting to us because it's a way to leave a mark on culture that is more deep and lasting than we can do with a 200-word article. Our website articles get flung around the internet for a few days, so we set out to create a book that would last forever and be a Christian classic.
Ed: How did you decide on the premise of How to Be a Perfect Christian?
Adam: The idea behind the book is really the idea behind the Bee in general: to use satire to magnify aspects of Christian living in order to get a better look at them. This is right in our wheelhouse.
The Babylon Bee was never meant to be a website that only produces humor for the sake of humor—our mission has always been to use humor to make important points and to speak the truth. Sometimes, it's pointed outward at the culture, and sometimes it's pointed inward at the church.
How to Be a Perfect Christian is pointed inward. In the book, we set out to shake the foundations of plastic, surface-level "Christian culture"—the man-made aspects of evangelicalism in our specific time and place—that are too often conflated with "being a Christian."
Ed: What do you hope readers will get out of the book?
Adam: We're hoping it will make readers laugh out loud and then think deeply. Like the articles on our site, the entire book is full of humor—that’s the delivery mechanism—but there is an extremely important underlying message. I've used the example before that satire is like an overhead projector. It takes small things, maybe things we don't often talk about, and plasters them up on the wall, 10 feet tall, so you and everyone else in the room have no choice but to take a good look at them.
By talking (and laughing) about many of the quirks of Western Christian culture, it forces us to think about them, talk about them, and reckon with them. Why are we doing these things? What's behind them? What's underneath them? Is our motivation proper? Is our heart really in it? Are we missing something here? These are good and healthy conversations we should be having with each other and within ourselves.
Ed: What's the Holiness Progress Tracker 5000?
Adam: As you read through the book and learn how to conform yourself precisely to all aspects of Christian culture, you get to track your own progress from a terrible excuse for a believer to a "perfect Christian." Yes, this book is going to change your life.