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Evangellyfish

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3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  468 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
Winner of the 2012 Christianity Today Best Fiction Award

Evangellyfish is a ruthless, grimly amused, and above all honest look at one of the darkest corners in the western world. Douglas Wilson, a pastor of more than thirty years, paints a vivid and painful picture of evangelical boomchurch leadership. . . in bed.

Chad Lester's kingdom is found in the Midwest. His voice craw
...more
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Canon Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Christopher
Mar 17, 2012 Christopher rated it really liked it
Originally, I was leery about reading a novel written by a theologian (i.e. what does Tolkein have to do with Bonhoeffer?) Can he really know what he's doing? Even half-way through the book I was unsure, but Pastor Wilson warmed my frosty heart, and by the end, I stayed up late in order to finish it.

Not only is the book hilarious, but it managed to be both convicting and refreshing all at the same time. When I started, I thought it was a book about other people, but then he reminded me that I'm
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Gwen Burrow
Jan 23, 2012 Gwen Burrow rated it it was amazing
I braced myself when I started this book, hearing that it had made other people squirm. I was ready for something wry and shocking and unpleasant--like Tom Wolfe with all the twinkle taken out. I couldn't have been more surprised. Doug Wilson said in an interview that he wanted this book to come across to intelligent readers as "funny, dark, and redemptive," and it was all that, with extra helpings on both funny and redemptive. I have never read anything where I liked flawed characters so much a ...more
Josh Bauder
Jun 30, 2016 Josh Bauder rated it really liked it
The career of a megachurch-pastor-turned-serial-adulterer implodes, and the buzzards assemble.

It could never happen.

Now, I'm a big Wilson fan. Wilson is to wordcraft what Microsoft is to Minecraft, by which I mean he's the best in the biz. But if there's a flaw in the book, it's that he has armed too many of his characters with the same craft; he puts in too many mouths his own quick-witted Wilsonian jocularity. Even the most innocent and tangential passersby to the plot are primed with puns and
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Jesse Broussard
Oct 08, 2012 Jesse Broussard rated it it was amazing
As you wipe your feet before entering the house, here I shall open with a confession: when I was introduced to the writings of Douglas Wilson, I didn't like them. I have gone this far, allow me to go further: having all the literary discretion of a vacuum cleaner and taste located solely in my mouth, I owned, read, re-read and enjoyed books that shall not here be named, but were written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.

Now that my ethos lies in a smouldering ruin, allow me to say that my appreci
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Per
Oct 30, 2014 Per rated it really liked it
Let me begin by stating that I almost exclusively read textbooks in academic theology, so reading a novel is therefore something of a novelty for me. And the only reason that I did read this novel is because it is written by Doug Wilson, who in the last few years have become one of my absolute favourite writers (one of my favourite preachers too, by the way). So my statements about this book comes from someone who doesn't know much about novels.
But anyhow, the book is absolutely brilliant, and
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Dan Glover
Moliere said "the duty of comedy is to correct men by amusing them." Apparently, if quote sites are to be trusted, he went on to say, "as the purpose of comedy is to correct the vices of men, I see no reason why anyone should be exempt." Douglas Wilson seems to share this conviction, but unlike so many who prefer to point the finger and make a joke at someone else's expense, Wilson points the finger firmly at the evangelical church, of which he is a part.

Evangellyfish is a novel that has been de
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Sarah
Aug 18, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. It captured my attention and was enjoyable in some ways, but in other ways the author took things a little too far and bordered on inappropriate. To be honest, there was way too much innuendo and I personally couldn't stomach it. The amount of controversy going on within the church seemed unrealistic. There were a lot of characters in the book and I don't think he wrapped up and connected all of their individual stories very well.
It seems that he managed to
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Steve Hemmeke
Apr 20, 2012 Steve Hemmeke rated it liked it
A fictional critique of the modern evangelical world, shot through with spiritual anemia, hypocrisy and adultery. A bit over the top in places, especially deep in cynicism, it still brings a smile every few pages. He does a good job showing how sexually charged the world is, and how self-deceived about this the church can be.

The book actually wound down right when I was expecting further development (first book read on a Kindle, and didn't check how far I was). This was a little dissatisfying on
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Luke Miller
Jun 01, 2016 Luke Miller rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Much of what I enjoy in Wilson's theological works I found here in his fiction - fresh metaphors, gospel themes, and cultural/religious analysis. I heard him say once that he hoped this book would be "funny, dark, and redemptive". It sounded like a challenging goal, but I think he pulled it off. The brokenness of the characters is set as the backdrop for the glorious gospel of repentance and forgiveness, and you find yourself really wanting to see grace poured out on all them. After all, they al ...more
Kevin McCarthy
Apr 11, 2015 Kevin McCarthy rated it liked it
Some of this is clever and enjoyably scathing, but for me, Wilson's "satire" is so indiscriminately distributed it's hard to actually distill what the commentary is supposed to be. When you mock everything, you don't really say anything. I also struggled with the strangeness of the novel's cheesy, sentimental bits. All that being said, I'm a fan of Wilson's wit--I think he is a very solid writer, and I was pretty engaged and interested throughout the novel.
Lindsay Kennedy
Aug 08, 2013 Lindsay Kennedy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, kindle-ebook
Wilson said he hoped this book would be "funny, dark and redemptive", I think he's completely succeeded on this! Wilson somehow manages to make a book with such disturbing content also funny. This in itself is a wonder, but Wilson doesn't just leave us with cynicism, irony and satire, he also weaves in very redemption without this being an "everyone gets saved at the end" kind of Christian story. I read this book over 3 days and couldn't put it down. Highly recommended
Paul
Apr 06, 2013 Paul rated it it was amazing
This baby should be required reading in all evangelical schools. It reveals how deep and pathetic the total depravity of man is, while teaching us to be empathetic for that man, without becoming a systematic theology lecture.
I read it for the first time exactly four years ago today. For the third time now, it proves a much needed detox in a season of life under pressure.
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Second reading was just as sharp as the first, also in one sitting. Burst out laughing from the first sentences. Deep to t
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Sarah Fowler
Mar 27, 2012 Sarah Fowler rated it liked it
Not sure what I was expecting, but this is pretty pointed. A novel with tongue very firmly planted in cheek... but the pen is still mightier than the sword.
Leandro Guimarães Faria Corcete DUTRA
A history of grace that does not mince at the details of the fall — without ever being too graphic.
Paul Lawrence
Apr 28, 2013 Paul Lawrence rated it really liked it
a book written as satire, but many of the characters seem all to familiar and real. A good wake-up call for Christians.
Joel Zartman
May 23, 2016 Joel Zartman rated it really liked it
It was with some reluctance I received the book. I think of Douglas Wilson as a bit of a blowhard, so I was surprised to find the book has wisdom. It is funny, hard to put down, not often lagging, and in the end comes out a good enough book. I wish I could write something as interesting. I am glad somebody pressed it upon me.

The book has an awful lot of sex, in the sense that it comes to light that it is an activity rather copiously and indiscriminately indulged. I do not mean that the activity
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Dion
Mar 10, 2012 Dion rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
My Amazon review

Funny! Very funny. And a little dark.

Wilson, better known for his non-fiction, writes an enjoyable, page-turning novel that I devoured in short order.

Evangellyfish follows the paths of 2 pastors; Mitchell, a faithful minister of a smallish Baptist church; and Lester, the philandering senior pastor of the city's megachurch Camel Creek. The book starts with an altercation between the 2 men and the subsequent chapters give us the backstory followed by the outworking of the events th
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Brian
Apr 12, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it
From my review posted to my blog:
Doug Wilson’s novel is a piercing and direct critique of the uniquely American religious institution, the mega-church. Wilson takes the gloves off in this story and aims straight for the heart of a mega-church, its pastor. Make no mistake, for any Christian that reads this book there will be discomfort, and probably a lot. But it is worth the read.

From the very first paragraph Wilson sets his sights on the hypocrisy of “Christians” and let’s the bullets fly. Whil
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Katy Schmitz
Oct 27, 2013 Katy Schmitz rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-reviews
I bought and read this book because I love fiction. I love good doctrine and I love to see it lived out. I think fiction is often more true than nonfiction because with nonfiction the author is trying to tell the truth. The author is obligated to express his views as straightforward as possible. In fiction, the author simply is. So, by trying to tell the truth one's culture and blind spots are ignored and therefore glaring. In fiction those same blind spots are expressed because the art of the a ...more
David A.
Oct 31, 2012 David A. rated it liked it
There's really something about Canon Press. I think I'd like to work there, and then I think I'd probably not last long there. I know Canon for its satire and sarcasm, which came through in its sendups of Left Behind (Right Behind, in which, if I remember correctly, a raptured kid gets stuck on the ceiling for some reason or another, and all the unsaved kids make point and laugh at him) and The Prayer of Jabez (called The Mantra of Jabez, whose perspective is clear from the title). Not all of Ca ...more
Laura
Feb 11, 2015 Laura rated it it was ok
Having no first-hand experience with megachurches, I was fascinated by Skye Jethani's explanation of how megachurches have evolved to be a lot like cruise ships--as cruise ships had to keep finding new ways to convince customers to travel by boat by offering more amenities and making the ship itself the "destination, not just the vehicle", churches have also begun attempting to meet other felt needs of their "customers" by providing amenities like coffee, elaborate kids ministries, etc. In both ...more
David Svihel
Mar 31, 2012 David Svihel rated it really liked it
When it comes to whit and sarcasm, one need look no further than the pen of Doug Wilson. His blog title alone: “Blog and Mablog” should give you an idea of the level of writing you are encountering.

Evangellyfish is no different. As the title suggests, it is a novel dealing with paradoxical world that is American Evangelicalism. The story revolves around Chad Lester, the pastor of megachurch aptly named Camel Creek. Lester is accused of an affair with a man, which would be surprising news to all
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Josh Dockter
Feb 21, 2017 Josh Dockter rated it really liked it
This was my second time through Pastor Wilson's "Evangellyfish". The man can write.
Matthew Hurley
Feb 18, 2012 Matthew Hurley rated it really liked it
Evangellyfish is a satirical novel about, as the title suggests, evangelical hypocrisy, particularly regarding sex. Being a novel, it reminded me more of Persuasions than Wilson's purely theological works. It read like a combination of P.G. Wodehouse, Flannery O'Connor, and Patrick McManus. Wodehouse on the plot and development front, O'Connor because the characters are orchestrated train wrecks in need of grace, and McManus in the comedy and exuberance department.

Wilson's own pastoral experienc
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Seth
Feb 21, 2012 Seth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone familiar with the evangelical sub-culture.
Chad Lester is an extremely successful megachurch pastor who secretly sleeps with as many women as he can (literally) get his hands on. Most of the church leadership knows (or has participated!), but life keeps humming merrily along with all the indiscretions, to quote Alanis Morissette, under rug swept. That is, until Chad gets accused of probably the one thing of which he's totally blameless--a tryst with an underage male. The accusation is the first snowflake of an ever-growing snowball of re ...more
John
Apr 12, 2012 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I didn't really know what to expect from this, Wilson being known more for his nonfiction works. This is a delightful, fun, quick, and easy read though that may just be in comparison to having just previously finished Shelby Foote's three volume Civil War narrative.

There is a lot of sleaze--or more accurately, sleazy characters in this one, but Wilson is not content to close the book with a pile of sleaze piled up. He does a wonderful job of demonstrating God's redemptive work in the lives of th
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Peter
Aug 11, 2014 Peter rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
“This is as good a place as any to insist that all the characters in Evangellyfish are fictional, and I made them all up out of my own head. Any resemblance to any real people, living or dead, is their own darn fault. If they quit acting like that, the resemblance would cease immediately and we wouldn’t have to worry about it”.

After this opening disclaimer, Evangellyfish marches on to prove it necessary. And, perhaps following in the spirit of its final sentence, it is 1 part satire and 3 parts
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Jay Miklovic
May 23, 2012 Jay Miklovic rated it it was amazing
This was brilliant, truly brilliant.

As I read this book I felt like I was on the 'inside' of one of the best 'inside jokes' I have ever come across. Mind you I don't know the author from Adam, other than the fact that I have read a couple of his books. Nonetheless, if you are a 'salt of the earth' simple Christian type, you will find yourself feeling on the inside as well.

If you find yourself annoyed to the the point of amusement with the 'Mega-Church' mentality, then this book will leave you in
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Jason Custer
Dec 30, 2012 Jason Custer rated it liked it
Wilson's satire pokes fun at mega-church pastors and evangelicalism's tendencies, but in the end is relatively lackluster. As a whole, the story was nothing I would want to re-read. It certainly was not a bad book or story, but after finishing I could take it or leave it.

With that said, there two things that I appreciated about Evangellyfish:

1) Wilson actually writes a story that seems realistic and honest. It was believable - which, sadly, is not typically the case for most Christian fiction bo
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Terri
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I got bogged down in the cleverness of the writing. I am thinking the author intended to come across like P. G. Wodehouse wherein the sentences trail along finally ending in sly wittiness, but Evangellyfish is instead burdensome- "When asked what he did for a living, he would sometimes quote Fletch- 'I'm a shepherd.' He generally had to explain the reference, and it was never as funny as he hoped. When asked what his degrees were in, he would say that his undergrad was in philosophy, and he had ...more
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I write in order to make the little voices in my head go away. Thus far it hasn't worked.
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“Nine times out of ten, the coarse word is the word that condemns an evil and the refined word the word that excuses it. G.” 0 likes
“If John had been paying close attention to Lester’s face, he would have seen him go white, the way men do when they see a trap swinging shut on them.” 0 likes
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