Salvation on the Small Screen?

24 Hours of Christian Television

Nadia Bolz-Weber

Sep/2008, 144 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9781596270862



A book for everyone who’s ever flipped past the religious channel and thought, “I haven’t the faintest clue what’s going on there,” or “That church doesn’t seem like my church at all,” or even, “Wow, so that’s what happened to Kirk Cameron.”

With the personalities of Christian broadcasting constantly talking about every major issue from abortion to culture to war, and given the amount of influence they have on the political discourse in this country, the more one understands about religious television, the more one understands America’s religious landscape.

On an average day, the largest religious broadcast channel in the country reaches millions of viewers, featuring programming from figures such as Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Pat Robertson, Paul and Jan Crouch, Jesse Duplantis, Joel Osteen, and others. Yet, despite its presence in well over 50 million households, many people have little concept of what kind of faith happens there.

The author, a Lutheran seminarian and former stand-up comic who had never before watched religious broadcasting, spent 24 hours immersing herself in the messages and culture of religious television. Joined by guest viewers at various points in the day, including a rabbi, Unitarian minister, her eight-year-old daughter, and others, and augmented by running count of all of the biblical verses used and total cost of various donations solicited and products shilled through the day, the author chronicles this huge—but unknown to many—area of religious culture.



Nadia Bolz-Weber is the mission developer at House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado, an emerging liturgical community. She holds a BA in Religious Studies from University of Colorado in Boulder and an MDiv from Iliff School of Theology. She lives in Denver with her husband and two children and blogs at

"Laugh-out-loud hysterically funny and also extraordinarily poignant - we need more theology done like this."—Dr Douglas Gay, Lecturer in Practical Theology University of Glasgow, Scotland

"Salvation on the Small Screen? is fast, fresh, funny and filled with surprising twists. It is easy to point out what's wrong with a broad satirical target like televangelists.  It is tougher to watch closely, with patience, empathy, and openness. Yet, Nadia Bolz-Weber and her eclectic companions find the divine even amidst the most painful religious programming. Now that is miraculous!"—Craig Detweiler, PhD, director, Reel Spirituality Institute, Fuller Theological Seminary and author, Into the Dark:  Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century

“The concept is as clever as it is brave: Spend 24 hours watching ‘Christian television’ programming, and bring friends. Talk about what you see. Let hilarity and poignancy ensue. Lutheran minister Nadia Bolz-Weber gives us a wincing and winsome look through those cable channels that many ignore and many others make their spiritual bread and butter. With Salvation on the Small Screen? in hand, the reader can thoughtfully go ‘behind the label’ and check out the ingredients of the oddly-influential Christian media. Bon appetit!” —Mike Morrell,

“For those searching for faith through the fog of Christian folk religion Nadia Bolz-Weber is the ideal guide. Full of wit, sensitivity, and insight, this book will invite, provoke, and soothe those seeking to find Christianity in the midst of televised faith.” —Doug Pagitt, author of A Christianity Worth Believing

“Throughout Salvation on the Small Screen?, she reminds us that even though the shows on big-time Christian Television may be sinful and shameful to one’s spiritual health, we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ.” —Becky Garrison, author of The New Atheist Crusaders and their Unholy Grail and Rising from the Ashes: Rethinking Church

"Turn off your TV and read this book. It's enlightening and entertaining and it doesn't emit any radiation whatsoever." —AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically

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