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When Bad Christians Happen to Good People: Where We Have Failed Each Other and How to Reverse the Damage Paperback – January 15, 2002
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
A cursory reading of Burchett's expos of the pitiful condition of the American Christian church shows the book to be stinging, acerbic and slightly flippant. But careful attention to Burchett's painful message that "bad Christians" have done, and continue to do, great damage to others in the fold reveals the truth of his accusations. For openers, Burchett tells his own story of callous rejection by a church he attended when his terminally ill daughter was only months old. The congregation in question decided in no uncertain terms that Burchett's daughter was not welcome in their nursery, despite the fact that baby Katie posed no threat to the other infants. Such behavior is the first of many examples where Christians slammed their church doors at the first sight of discomfort. Burchett's style is critical, sometimes overwhelmingly so. Yet he supports every claim of Christian shame, and does so with evidence solid enough to convict. He describes churches as frequently elitist, unfriendly and fearful. He also takes issue with lazy Christian-ese, countering that true faith is measured not merely in words but through acts of humility, service and self-sacrifice. Some sensitive Christian believers will surely take issue with Burchett's tone and the one-two stabs of witty humor that are often aimed at Christians themselves. Yet his call to reform is so solidly founded on biblical principles that his severe words must be heeded.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Praise for When Bad Christians Happen to Good People
“In When Bad Christians Happen to Good People, Dave indeed succeeds in making Christians think carefully and in getting us out of our comfort bunkers. I know that Bob would be chuckling with me at Dave’s sense of humor as he addresses very tough issues. I recommend it heartily to all who are serious in their commitment to be Jesus to our world.”
—Marty Briner, widow of Bob Briner, who authored Roaring Lambs and Final Roar
“Even though I’m not a betting man, I’ll bet you’ve never read a book like this one. Here is a no-holds-barred look at what’s right, what’s wrong, and what’s really weird about the Christian movement in America. At the end of the day, Dave Burchett has a heart for the church, for the gospel, and for people who don’t know the Lord. Christians could make a powerful difference in our world. But we ourselves must change. This book points us in the right direction.”
—Dr. Ray Pritchard, author, conference speaker, and senior pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois
“This book is excellent. Dave Burchett sends a wake-up call to all believers that our behavior and our attitudes can have a profound effect on how the Message is received. National research shows that there is a great disparity between how the world views Christians and how it views the person of Jesus Christ. When Bad Christians Happen to Good People challenges people of faith to live a life that shows the world love, hope, and encouragement.”
—John Frost, noted strategic broadcast consultant
“Dave allowed God to navigate him through the pain of religious moralism to arrive at insightful, compelling, and gracious wisdom. He remains a sincere lover of God’s church and people as he directs weary pilgrims to safer lodging. His self-effacing humor allows us to examine our religious culture without having to defend it.”
—John Lynch, coauthor of TrueFaced and Bo’s Café
“After reading this book, I was motivated to take a personal inventory of my daily walk with Jesus. As I read page after page, I jotted down nuggets of wisdom, words of encouragement, and new ways to strengthen my relationship with Jesus, with other Christians, and with those who are not believers.”
—Clint Hurdle, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates
“Dave Burchett strikes out sometimes but happily hits home runs like Sammy Sosa. His comments about the sinner-sensitive church and CSL (Christian as a Second Language), his WJSHTOT question (Would Jesus Spend His Time on This?), and his “Don’t Know Much About Theology” song are all terrific.”
—Marvin Olasky, editor of World and senior fellow of the Acton Institute
“When I need someone to convince me that there is still hope in spite of the bad Christianity I see all around me, I talk to Dave Burchett. He makes me laugh, makes me cry, and makes me think. And in the end, he helps me fall back in love with the bride of Christ. In the pages of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People, you can join in that conversation.”
—Ed Underwood, author of When God Breaks Your Heart and Reborn to Be Wild
Top customer reviews
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I believe that Dave did a great job presenting the case. He is funny (at first), personal and has good insights. His analogy of the church as a basketball team is actually a good explanation for why we so desperately need patience and understanding in regards to all the struggles that occur in your local church. He has personally been hurt and does a good job of helping us to relate to the struggles that many have felt at the hands of their own church family.
As Dave begins to explain the cause, I think he also begins to lose me. His short "colorful" one-liners really begin to become distracting. For example:
"It is my observation that even just one little grumpy piranha can stir up a whole school of frenzied attackers. In the wild, piranhas try to isolate their prey before attacking it. Generally the tail region is the first area to be attacked. Since that is just too easy, you can draw your own parallels to the Christian analogy. I am convinced that if you could just spear the lead piranha, most church schisms would be dead in the water (sorry)."
He is basically advocating a "realness" for Christians. If we would sell totally out to Christ with integrity and humility, then we would provide a better body life experience for the church and a more appealing testimony to the world at large. In the cause he shows how we have failed in this. In the cure section, he argues for it.
Overall, I agree with what he presents however it is easy to become over simplistic in this. He started the book off realistic regarding the struggles we all face since we are all at different levels and our spiritual growth is a process. But if we are simplistic with the cure, then we simply say we need to change. The greater issue is helping everyone to understand a real view and learn to operate in love with patience. The greatest evangelistic command given us by Christ is "love one another even as I have loved you", "they [the world:] will know you by your love". If we would exercise this, knowing that everyone is growing at different stages then we would have a unity that would abide. It is not simple but it is honest, humble and patient. Now we need to progressively grow in our love!
I do recommend the book. I think it is a good book to think through the reality of the struggles of being a dynamic living body of Christ. But I do believe the answers are a bit too simplistic.
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
Thanks Dave for a great and inspirational book!