Final thoughts on Beware of God:
As I said earlier, Auslander's world is governed by a divine being with a malicious sense of humor. But He's funnier when he's unseen. The central story of the collection features God as a Mafia don and beleaguered bureaucrat, just trying to keep the exchange of bodies going so that fate works itself out. One poor schlep evades death twice, the second time on the Long Island Expressway because he drives a Volvo. God and his two henchmen, Death and Lucifer, decide more direct action is necessary. God loads up his handgun and sets off for the Upper West Side. After some battles with crosstown traffic, God finally just runs down his target with a car. I found this disappointing, for some reason. I wanted to see God shoot him; I don't know why. Surely a merciful and loving God would shoot you rather than run you down with a rental.
Auslander's sin isn't one of blasphemy, but of pride: he's trying to be funnier than God. At one point God kills a dog named Sparky with a bolt of lightening. Auslander can't top that for black humor. We also see the limits of Auslander's ability to set up a conceit in a story about the Peanut characters after Charles Schultz dies. It's a brilliant idea: familiar characters in a safe, boxy world who must suddenly deal with the unthinkable. Rather than prompting more second-grade musings on the nature of being that distinguished the original from the standard three panel joke form, the death of their creator causes the characters to split into two warring camps. There's no point in describing the camps. The religious wars in Peanuts devolve into slapstick humor, to which Auslander resorts whenever he wants to move things along. The ending is tidy, predictable, and not up to the story's conceit. This story, like all of them in the collection, is a parable, but here the bones are more visible, and Auslander drifts away from his strength, which is the humor in the rhythm of his sentences.
I forgot to bring the book with me, so I can't provide examples. Just take my word. Beware of God is pretty good stuff.