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“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
|Introduction: A Brief Disclaimer||1|
|Part I||Silencing the Lambs: The Indefensible Things We Do to One Another|
|1.||The Unfriendliest Club in Town?||13|
|2.||The Schism Trail||31|
|5.||Whose Idea Was This?||67|
|Part II||Why Won't Those Heathens Listen? Thoughts on How We Lost Our Audience|
|6.||Our Walkin's Ain't Matchin' Our talkin'||83|
|7.||CSL: Christian As a Second Language||95|
|8.||Godly or Gaudy?||105|
|9.||Jesus Wept...and He Still Does||115|
|10.||The Culture War: Rambo or Conscientious Objector?||125|
|Part III||Reality-Based Faith for Survivors: Being Real in an Artificial World|
|11.||This Is a Hard Teaching!||149|
|12.||Six Things I Learned About Evangelism During Election 2000||167|
|13.||Don't Know Much About Theology||193|
|14.||All God's Children Got Souls, Even the Annoying Ones||207|
Posted January 17, 2013
If I can be perfectly honest, I have a lot of anger inside of me. A good portion of it is directed towards my fellow Christians. If I can be blunt, the average person attending the American church can be a bit of a meathead. (I’m including myself in this demographic – I’m a rather oblivious person from time to time ¿) So when I saw this book, “When Bad Christians Happen to Good People” by Dave Burchett, I clicked ‘order’ nearly immediately. I was intrigued.
I tell you what, ladies and gentlemen, this book is fantastic. The author is funny and thought provoking, an unusual combination. I’d never have imagined that a single book (save the Bible) would cause me pause and consider so often. Every three pages I would be stopping and asking God to help me change.
Guys, let’s face it. We have all failed as a church. But this book could be a remedy to that. This book doesn’t bash Christians in the face. It instead holds their hand as they are convicted and shows them a way to fixing their problems.
I highly recommend this book. Five out of five stars. This book is excellent!
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Posted September 13, 2012
People can be hurtful. Christians included. Unfortunately, that hurts is sometimes intentional. Fortunately, it is not always intentional. It is sad to say that this hurt , at times, comes from those who should certainly know better and who have been given the strength and spirit to refrain from such practice. Dave Burchett, author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People; Where We Have Failed Each Other and How to Reverse the Damage, has written a smart, honest, and insightful book that pulls no punches when calling out the bad behavior that Christians display today. Burchett offers no excuses. Instead he offers a fresh perspective on the fragile relationship between those he considers his target audience; those who have “been hurt by a judgmental person or church” and the “Christians who inflict the wounds”. Burchett has smartly divided his book into three common sense sections: The Indefensible Things We Do to One Another (evaluation), Thoughts on How We Lost Our Audience (diagnosis), and Being Real in an Artificial World (prescription). Burchett does a great job in his evaluation of Christian conduct today. He writes that Christians are at times hypocritical, prone to fuss and fight, guilty of further harming the already wounded, and successful at majoring in the minor things. Chapter three (Would Jesus Spend His Time on This?) is the most powerful in this first section. It shows how easily distracted Christians are today from what should be their true focus in life. The author’s diagnosis, or the reasons Christians are losing their audience, is shamefully accurate. Issues such as an inconsistent witness, church language, and the contrasting portraits of love and forgiveness are given as reasons for the pushback. Chapter nine (Jesus Wept... And He Still Does) is especially powerful. In the third and final section, Burchett offers a prescription for Christians to become more genuine before a watching world. Stressed are embracing the hard-teachings of Christ as being vital to growth and witness, a return to biblical literacy, and the exercising of grace when dealing with those in whom we disagree. Chapter thirteen (All God’s Children Got Souls, Even the Annoying Ones) is truly convicting. His call to “hate the message and love the messenger” is spot on. A book such as this one needed to be written. What I really like about this book is that the author’s views and critiques do not come from a sterile laboratory, nor is it simply an academic exercise. Instead, by his own admission, he has been hurt by Christians and as Christian has hurt others. His style of writing, containing humor, scripture, and real-life stories, is engaging and insightful. A great work on a serious subject. I highly recommend. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. 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 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 31, 2012
When Bad Christians Happen to Good People – Dave Burchett
©2002, 2011 Waterbrook Press, Colorado Springs
You just can’t go wrong with a title like When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. And Dave Burchett (who is NOT a theologian by profession, by the way) backs it up with the subtitle “Where We Have Failed Each Other and How to Reverse the Damage.”
I will be the first to admit that the lion’s share of books available in Christian bookstores today that are aimed at helping Christians be more like Christ have a strong bent toward finger-pointing negativity. Our preaching tends to do the same. Either Christians are pointing accusatory fingers at the non-Believers around us highlighting the sin that is dragging them straight to hell, or we are involved in abusive name-calling of one another reminding each other how short we come when measuring up to our image of what Christianity should look like. (May I raise a quick “guilty” hand admitting my own participation in this unhealthy faith? We can work on it together.)
Many of these books (and sermons) are coming straight from the studies and mouths of some of the most sought-after Christian preachers and writers today. And then Emmy Award-winning television sports director Dave Burchett throws in his two-cents’ worth. Perhaps it is his lighter tone, or the fact that he is a non-clergy-type taking an honest look at what the Christian church is and has become that is appealing, but whatever the cause, in this second edition of his book, we find a sincere call for Christians to be more, well, Christian.
Burchett uses examples from his own experience with the unforgiving air of the forgiven and encounters with others who are actually living like Jesus to weave a Christian Living book that is arguably the most helpful one in the market today. He not only points out the shortfalls that have given the church a black eye over the years, but he also drops the answer to such failings throughout the book. The answer, according to the book, is to stop trying to be a good Christian and let Christ through His grace take care of that for you.
This book has and will earn its author more headaches at the hands of the self-righteous bunch of Christians who are monitoring the halls (his allusion, not mine), but no one expected shining the light on unpopular truth to be easy (history is filled with the blood-stories of martyrs who have proven this). What makes this book worth your while if you are a Christian is it’s readability and its personable approach to becoming more like the One whose name we bear.
If you happen to find a copy of the original 2002 version of the book, go ahead and read it, but if you can get your hands on the new 2011 edition (with some newer material and a softer tone), I would suggest it as the one to read. In fact I think it deserves 5 out of 5 reading glasses.
—Benjamin Potter August 31, 2012
[Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.]
Posted August 31, 2012
This title strikes a deep, hollow, minor chord in me. As a pastor, I find those people that are most resistant to Jesus are those who have been injured by those who bear Christ’s name. The deepest wounds come from those we trust, and we are supposed to be able to trust our brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a need for a book like this: a book for surviving hurts that have been given by those who are supposed to love their neighbors as they love themselves. The concept of the book is right there in the title and sub-title. Does it deliver?
Burchett delivers up some very fine points. The first chapter points out that bad Christians are just that: bad Christians, not non-Christians. We are still sinners, and sin gets in the way. He does not jump on the holiness rollercoaster that says the person who hurt you is not a Christian if he or she hurt you in such a way; the person who caused the hurt is a Christian who sinned.
The first chapter has some great quotes, and I want to simply lay out a few here so you can get a taste of Burchett’s prose style:
"Many of the unchurched folks I talk to base their rejection of Christ on a bad experience with a Christian. In reality, that can be a lame excuse that disguises the real issues at hand: who is Jesus Christ and what does that mean?
"On the other hand, I believe a disturbingly high percentage of Christians leave the church and even the faith because of a bad experience with an individual Christian, a Christian leader, or a group of Christians… This Christianity thing would be amazing if Christians would just stop getting in the way."
After laying the groundwork in the first chapter that Burchett is not claiming that bad Christians have given up their ticket to heaven and targeting his audience (Christians who are frustrated with other Christians), he moves on to target some of the specific causes of Christians harming other Christians. First up in his crosshairs is legalism. The chapter focusing on the silly laws we lay out for each other includes a great insight into Burchett’s sense of humor. He claims that Christians should throw a Festivus pot luck, which would include (of course) an airing of grievances and feats of strength.
In this chapter, he suggests that churches should be welcoming to sinners, and yes, this will create problems. Sinner-sensitive churches will offend the sensibilities of many – just as Christ offended when he reached out to tax collectors and prostitutes. The chapter ends with an indicting paragraph: “Christians, like physicians, should vow to do no harm. But forgive us, Lord, because too often we do inflict harm.”
The next chapter looks at how Christians like dividing out over the silliest things. Burchett again reminds us that the church is made up of sinners: “The church is dysfunctional because it can’t be anything else. Seriously. Just look at who attends.” This chapter makes some good points about being forgiving over sin, but I feel that he leaned a little bit too far and started saying that we shouldn’t divide over false doctrine. He never states that outright, but some of his statements lean that way. He does ask an important question, though: If you are tempted to leave the church, is it an issue of pride? Many of his points in this chapter are helpful, but again, I think he may be leaning too far into saying, “Don’t leave your church, even if it’s false doctrine.” (I will admit, again, this may be me reading too much into a few specific sentences.)
The next chapter really caused me to pause and consider. It asks WJSHTOT, which I should probably cross-stitch on my whoopee-cushion. It stands for “Would Jesus Spend His Time On This?” He talks about Christians getting involved in crusades and causes that simply aren’t worth the congregation’s time. He targets the issue of praying in public schools, and I found myself cheering him on in his stance, though I suspect he didn’t win too many brownie points from most evangelicals.
He then returns to legalism in a slightly different form, labeling it “fear-based Christianity.” He nails several targets handily.
Finally, he looks at how stupid it was of God to leave the “marketing” of Christianity to sinful, all too often selfish Christians. He doesn’t call God stupid, mind you – he simply points out that he would never have done the marketing this way!
Having looked at the many ways that Christians hurt Christians, he turns and looks at how Christians have lost the world as an audience. He targets several areas in the next few chapters, including how so often Christians act no differently than the unbelieving world. If our Christianity doesn’t change us in day-to-day ways, why would anyone examine what we believe? He offers a great CSL class (Christianity as a Second Language). Burchett does a great job showing just how strange our Christian way of talking is to someone who didn’t grow up in the church. Then he focuses on “Christian products” as completely unnecessary in most cases. He takes a look at militant Christians that go to war with the world.
Finally, Burchett starts examining ways to teach the church to do better. He begins by saying that so many Christians don’t know what they believe. They can’t explain grace. They can’t talk about Jesus in any real way. They have dumbed down Jesus to an acceptable, safe level. Burchett recommends that the church gets back into the Bible and simply read it and see what it says. I found the advice refreshing. He talks about how the simple “sinner’s prayer” is too easy – not that grace isn’t free for the sinner, not that you have to earn forgiveness, but so often new Christians aren’t led to see the depth of God’s amazing love. (I will note that as with many books, this one proclaims decision theology without any kind of shame over it. He does not see how “making a decision” in and of itself is works righteousness, something that Burchett soundly denounces in the rest of the book.)
A chapter focuses on how “All God’s children got souls, even the annoying ones.” And it’s true. It’s hard to remember that sometimes, but even these annoying Christians are in fact my brothers and sisters. That means that ministry (and faith in general) is messy. It’s hands-on. He also points out that Christians are meant to mature; why should we be surprised when a brother or sister sins? They’re still sinners! Why should we be surprised when a young Christian sins? Why should we be surprised when someone who grew up in the church doesn’t know the basics when they haven’t done much more than sit in the pew for the last forty years?
He suggests that Christians need to show themselves to be different as an opening to explain why they’re different – instead of claiming to be different but never having actions to back up their words. Let the world notice our light, and then let them see the oil that powers our flame. Don’t try to splash them with oil and then light them on fire. That doesn’t work so well.
Finally, Burchett turns to grace. He shows that what we have is so very different from the rest of the world. We have forgiveness. We don’t have to become anything… because we’ve already been transformed. We don’t have to change… because God has changed us. We do mature into what we already are, but we currently are new creations. We need to remind Christians of who they are – not force them to be something they’re not through law and fear. I greatly appreciated this focus, but it really could have been infused into the entire book instead of just the last chapter.
Overall, Burchett has a lot of
Posted July 29, 2012
Every now and then I come across a book that just looks like a fun read. And this is one of those books. I mean, the title should make you cackle with laughter or at least chuckle softly if you are a more reserved person. Anyway, as the title suggests, the book covers the various hypocrisies in the modern Church. I say modern because it does not dive too deep into Old Testament prophet books that go into the hypocrisy. But the book does quote heavily from the New Testament and the words of Yeshua. I personally liked the part where it talked about modern-day Christians not knowing enough theology. Because--let's face it--if you can't explain what you believe or if you don't even know what you believe, that's a recipe for disaster. While this book has some fun humor in it, it can be a bit slow at times. But, for some people, they really need to read it. This book has tough love. It will be hard to read at times, but it delivers Truth. Trust in Yeshua and take the plank out of your eye. I'm still working on that. ;)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 7, 2012
Burchett finds a great perspective on one of the churches biggest struggles. His introduction is a great start to acknowledging his place (as well as every other Christian's) in the Church. We all have great flaws and can sometimes be better at displaying our less-then-great qualities then the qualities Christ has called us to have.
Burchett is no theologian or major christian figure. He is not out to make Christians out of the whole world like evangelists. Instead he points out what all Christians need to hear to be better theologians and evangelist. THANK YOU DAVE! Stay strong in your ministry.
Posted July 21, 2011
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 10, 2012
No text was provided for this review.