There are a lot of people out there who have issues with Christianity, with the Church, and with Christians; several people have written about how unchurched people tend to look at the church; and the information presented there is a good step in the right direction. In his book "When Bad Christians Happen to Good People: where we Have Failed Each Other and how to Reverse the Damage" (Waterbrook Multnomah, 2011, originally published 2002) Dave Burchett takes it a step further, and looks at the issues with an insider's perspective.
I first read this books years ago because I liked the title. But it goes far beyond that. Christians have a tendency to mess up, even after they say the sinners' prayer, even though they attend church services regularly, go on missions trips and serve on boards and committees. Sin is a big part of who we are. People outside the church sin in the same ways as Christians and don't think anything of it, but just let a professing Christian act like a human being, and all bets are off.
Burchett walks the reader through a series of problems within the "local church" (insert the name of your church here), then he moves on to how Christians often, with the best of intentions, convince their Ã¢â¬Ëtargets' to look elsewhere (things like Ã¢â¬Ëdo as I say and not as I do' attitudes, or speaking Christianese - a special language known only to those who have spent many years in a church setting. And then he asks us to take a look at how we can correct some of our self-inflicted maladies.
All of this is done within the context of we're human beings, we're sinners saved by grace, we make mistakes, but we're still Christians with good intentions. Unfortunately we (individuals and corporately as members of a local church body) don't always get it right. But, as Burchett reminds us, God is good; grace reigns and there is hope!
Enjoy the read! 4.5/5
The publisher provided me a free copy of the e-book in exchange for the review.
Have you ever walked into a church and felt like the people were judging you before you were in the door good? Well, this is what author Dave Burchett addresses in this book. He deals with issues such as how Christians judge a person who walks in church looking different or having a different lifestyle; Christians being so dogmatic about issues that are not in the Bible such as long hair on guys, short hair on women, women wearing jewelry or pants, men with facial hair, musical instruments in the church other than piano or organ, and many other issues people so foolishly dwell on.
It broke my heart when he told about the small church he was a pastor secretly pushing him out of the church because of his ill baby daughter. How they were afraid her condition would affect the other children in the nursery, and afraid she would die while in their care in the nursery because she had a death threatened birth defect. But he also told of the blessing of finding a pastor and a church family that took them in and loved and cared for his family.
How people can be so rude and heartless is beyond me. I identify with the author in a small way because my son, who grew up in church, returned after several years of running with the wrong wild crowd. I can remember proudly introducing him to members who joined while he was away, only to have them stand with mouths open in disbelief that he was my son, and we faced many other hurtful things because you see, I played the piano/keyboard/organ and I shouldn't have a son like that. We were blessed that most of the people loved him as they always did and welcomed him back with open arms.
Many people will be unhappy with this book but all Christians need to read it because whether we realize it or not, we sometimes hurt people. Dave Burchett was brave enough to write a book that should shake up many churches today. Christians should realize that it doesn't matter what we think, it is not about us, it is all about Him. It is all about God. I urge you to buy a copy of this book and read it, study it, memorize it and pray until God changes your attitude to be like His.
I received this book free from the publisher, Waterbrook Press to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55
When Bad Christians Happen to Good People by Dave Burchett is the must-read book for anyone who has been hurt by a Christian, whether they are a fellow Christian or not. Burchett has released an updated version of this book that was originally released in 2001. His faith and understanding in God has changed, and he wants to share that with his readers. He has a message that many Christians will not want to hear and will most certainly not want others to read. Christians are supposed to be perfect, so exposing our sins for the world to see is sure to upset some readers, but for others, this is exactly the message the world needs to hear from our community. I have been so deeply hurt by two churches in my past that I haven't attended church in over a year. My faith is deeper than it ever was in a church, but I know that it's a missing part of my life. It's been hard for me to be willing to trust again and step inside another church. I picked up Burchett's book because the title spoke directly to me. He appeals to anyone who has ever been hurt by someone from the church. His writing is sometimes acerbic, occasionally humorous and always insightful. What really makes this book a stand out is that it goes from sympathizing with readers about their pain, to challenging them to rethink their own faith, and finally to acknowledging areas in which they may have harmed someone else through their faith. I was personally convicted in a couple areas of my life (including my lack of church attendance) that I am addressing. Burchett is brutally honest about his own sins and that allows readers to think more honestly about their own. Some great quotes from the book: Faith based on fear has the potential to become like a marriage based on abuse. Remember, the church is full of sinners, and if they ever fix that problem, you and I are gone. The hospital never tells patients they are too sick for help, but the church often treats the spiritually ill with contempt or condescension. Burchett includes a bill of rights for non-believers that should be mandatory reading for believers which includes the right never to be treated in a condescending manner, the right to never have faith forced on them, and the right to be loved no matter their response, plus more. Christianity has gotten a bad rap, deservedly, in recent years, and Burchett deals with that unflinchingly, and then turns around and offers readers ways to change themselves and just maybe the world.