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When Bad Christians Happen to Good People: Where We Have Failed Each Other and How to Reverse the Damage

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“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.” —John Lynch, coauthor of TrueFaced and Bo’s Café   Have you been betrayed by a Christian friend? Are you disillusioned with the church?   If you hav “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.” —John Lynch, coauthor of TrueFaced and Bo’s Café   Have you been betrayed by a Christian friend? Are you disillusioned with the church?   If you have been hurt by Christians, you know all about anger and resentment. But what about a workable solution? How can the words and actions of “bad Christians” be addressed so the mistakes are not repeated?    When Bad Christians Happen to Good People offers a workable response and, ultimately, a new way of living. In this revised and updated edition, you will find healing for hurts infl icted by others. At the same time, you will discover ways to help Christians and church leaders recognize the damage that is done by unexamined assumptions, words, and actions.   After dealing with his own hurt, Dave Burchett now shows believers how to: ■ Live as Jesus followers, not rule enforcers ■ Stop using religious performance as the standard for accepting others ■ Let go of moralism, legalism, and an allegiance to trying harder ■ Discover God’s grace as a daily reality, not just a word to use in evangelism   Working toward a solution will benefi t your own life at the same time it helps others. Whether you have been a bad Christian in the past, or have been hurt by one, there is a better way to live. Discussion Guide Included for Individual and Small-Group Use


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“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.” —John Lynch, coauthor of TrueFaced and Bo’s Café   Have you been betrayed by a Christian friend? Are you disillusioned with the church?   If you hav “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.” —John Lynch, coauthor of TrueFaced and Bo’s Café   Have you been betrayed by a Christian friend? Are you disillusioned with the church?   If you have been hurt by Christians, you know all about anger and resentment. But what about a workable solution? How can the words and actions of “bad Christians” be addressed so the mistakes are not repeated?    When Bad Christians Happen to Good People offers a workable response and, ultimately, a new way of living. In this revised and updated edition, you will find healing for hurts infl icted by others. At the same time, you will discover ways to help Christians and church leaders recognize the damage that is done by unexamined assumptions, words, and actions.   After dealing with his own hurt, Dave Burchett now shows believers how to: ■ Live as Jesus followers, not rule enforcers ■ Stop using religious performance as the standard for accepting others ■ Let go of moralism, legalism, and an allegiance to trying harder ■ Discover God’s grace as a daily reality, not just a word to use in evangelism   Working toward a solution will benefi t your own life at the same time it helps others. Whether you have been a bad Christian in the past, or have been hurt by one, there is a better way to live. Discussion Guide Included for Individual and Small-Group Use

30 review for When Bad Christians Happen to Good People: Where We Have Failed Each Other and How to Reverse the Damage

  1. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    -I received this book through Library Early Reviews in exchange for an honest review- Anyone willing to be honest with themselves will admit that Christianity has found itself with a negative connotation/reputation. Christians are seen as homophobic, anti-intellectual, bigoted, judgmental - the list goes on and on. What's funny, though, is that I have heard time and time again how this external issue or that external issue is the greatest threat to, or issue within, Christianity - I strongly disa -I received this book through Library Early Reviews in exchange for an honest review- Anyone willing to be honest with themselves will admit that Christianity has found itself with a negative connotation/reputation. Christians are seen as homophobic, anti-intellectual, bigoted, judgmental - the list goes on and on. What's funny, though, is that I have heard time and time again how this external issue or that external issue is the greatest threat to, or issue within, Christianity - I strongly disagree. From what I've seen and experienced, the greatest "threat" to Christianity (in terms of its credibility, its reputation, etc), the greatest issue we face, is us - Christians. It is the un-Christlike way in which so many of us choose to behave, the way so many of us choose to treat non-Christians in a manner which contradicts the message and character of the person we claim to emulate and follow, thereby being the thing that most undermines Christianity itself. And while the author and I may disagree on what it means to be a Christian, or other matters of faith (my theology vastly differs from his), we do agree that the lack of grace, humility, love, compassion, and other Christ-like qualities among Christians is a BIG problem. In this book, author Dave Burchett addresses this problem, going into things like ungracious and unloving attitudes, as well as other things that make people "bad" Christians. He mentions three D's : Division, Distraction, and Derision and touches on how to avoid these issues - by asking oneself "Would Jesus Spend Time on This" (the chapter devoted to this is obviously more in depth than just the one phrase). He mentions three "critical phenomena" as well, paralleling McWhorter's ideas pertaining to the idea of hindrances in African American advancement with Christianity and how its reputation and ability to also “advance” is affected by them as well. These three phenomena are : Victimization (we, in the group where I discuss religion, call it a “persecution complex”), Separatism, and Anti-intellectualism (though I disagree with his insinuations that not believing in things he considers to be foundational or fundamental to the faith makes one Biblically or spiritually illiterate (I reject much of traditional theology, and I don’t believe myself, after years of study and a thorough understanding of doctrine, to be illiterate in either sense), and I probably mean anti-intellectualism in a much different way than he does…). These are very important issues within Christianity. As well as touching on those issues, I greatly appreciate and agree with the author speaking against legalism and using fear in faith, noting how it (fear) is easy to exploit, saying “faith based in fear has the potential to become like a marriage based on abuse” (page 51), because legalism is one of the things I believe Jesus himself had issue with, and I believe the use of fear to enforce belief is manipulative and abusive. Having been witness to many Christians acting in an un-Christ-like way when discussing or debating religion with non-Christians (or even the "wrong" kind of Christians), I also appreciate his saying: “It is not our job to defeat those we disagree with. Instead, we are to speak the truth in love with respect, honor, and compassion for the listener” (page 128) and “A secure follower of Christ can respond with assurance and dignity and without venom. You don’t have to agree with something to give it the courtesy of respect” - (page 64) He tells us that though we are called to be a light unto the world, we should be a light of grace, acceptance, and love, and not act as a spotlight to shine on the faults of others, reminding us that "redemption, not condemnation, is the heart of Christ’s message." (page 42) Out of all the points he makes I think my favorite has to do with how Christians go on and on about issues like homosexuality, abortion, premarital/extramarital sex, pornography, and so on, but how we SHOULD be more concerned about gossip, greed, selfishness, materialism, bitterness, pride, lack of forgiveness, racism, envy, lust, sexism, classism, indifference, homophobia, a lack of compassion, and the like. I also loved his idea for a "Bill of Rights for Unbelievers", especially since it includes some of the issues we Christians have such a hard time with, like "I have the right to never have faith forced on me" or to "never be treated in a condescending manner" (page 214). There's even a study guide at the end for those of you who like that sort of thing, lol. I do want to head towards a conclusion, though, with a quote that is something Christians everywhere really should hear and consider, since it pertains to an issue that is relevant not only on the large scale of Christian-dome, but also applies on an individual level: "While a just God will judge fairly, Christianity has too far often wrongly taken it upon itself to judge and condemn those who don’t believe. In our zeal for evangelism, we have sinned against other cultures, races, and creeds. There is no biblical basis for the brutal tactics of some; no support for these acts can be found in Jesus’ ministry on earth or anywhere in the New Testament”. (page 112) I enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to any Christian. We could all take a minute to consider for ourselves whether or not our personal walk in faith lines up with our "talk", or if we feel Jesus really would be pleased with how we exhibit our faith for the world. And this book does help one to do that.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carl

    the title says it all doesn't it? the title says it all doesn't it?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brandi Horton

    I gave this book 3 stars, but I also do not think I would be the intended audience. I feel like this book is better described as “when legalism happens to good people” Throughout the course of this book I definitely felt the author’s anger and his stronghold in pro-life and anti-ACLU. The vast majority of this book is quotes from other authors, which are then paraphrased. He used MANY analogies to drive his points, however, after a while they became both redundant and wordy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sunflower

    Wow. That's at most what I can say about the book,"When Bad Christians Happen to Good People". Now before you think that this is a expose' or a complaint filled book, instead, what,"When Bad Christians Happen to Good People", does is remind us of first, the human nature of people and we all can speak for that, and second, the important role of looking beyond people (which I know is hard in many cases) and focusing on our Heavenly Father. By the time I was done with this book, it was filled with pos Wow. That's at most what I can say about the book,"When Bad Christians Happen to Good People". Now before you think that this is a expose' or a complaint filled book, instead, what,"When Bad Christians Happen to Good People", does is remind us of first, the human nature of people and we all can speak for that, and second, the important role of looking beyond people (which I know is hard in many cases) and focusing on our Heavenly Father. By the time I was done with this book, it was filled with post it notes, highlighted, dog-earred and left me with the realization that first of all, I don't think I would be able to loan it out to anybody now, because I had marked it up with personal notes, and bible references, post it note to the point that I think I wrote an essay using post it notes, highlight and just loved to death, by the end. What, "When Bad Christians Happen to Good People" does is first of all, help those who have found themselves in bad experiences, recognize, what some people do, isn't about God or a reflection of the Christian faith, but a reflection of the broken world we live in where basically, there are people who are imperfect, and doesn't mean, un-excusable, but just imperfect human beings, and how to recognize not only the damage that some, not all, but some churches and leaders can do, but also offer,realistic, grace-filled solutions to dealing with "When Bad Christians Happen to Good People". Sharing his own personal account of hurt, Dave Burchett, shares in"When Bad Christians Happen to Good People" the following points for believers, such as, Live as Jesus followers, not rule enforcers Stop using religious performance as the standard for accepting others Let go of moralism, legalism, and an allegiance to trying harder Discover God's grace as a daily reality, not just a word to use in evangelism "When Bad Christians Happen to Good People" is not about losing personal accountability nor is is about enforcing personal accountability, but a focus on working on healthy, grace filled solutions that is a testament to being a follower of Christ while realistically helping oneself and even others who may have been in situations that wasn't as grace filled. What I like about,"When Bad Christians Happen to Good People" is not only is it grounded biblically, but it is lovingly written and honest...its honest about what led Dave Burchett to write,"When Bad Christians Happen to Good People" and it's honest about the fact that we can't let our bad experiences define us to the point that it can actually push us away. This is a book about healing, about understanding, about finding real solutions and not just focus on what's wrong. It's about focusing on how would our Father in Heaven would want us to solve the situation. Maybe you have been hurt or maybe you were the one or are the one whose hurt, "When Bad Christians Happen to Good People" challenges all of us to look at ,"When Bad Christians Happen to Good People" from a different perspective, from our Father in Heaven's perspective it and heal and resolve those issues in a way that is also glorifying and edifying of Him. At the very back of,"When Bad Christians Happen to Good People", you will find a study guide for each chapter that makes this a great discussion for a bible study group, or maybe even just for personal study, though I would personally recommend, that if you are going to do this for study, do so in a group setting; I think this is not only encouraging,but it may surprise many at the thoughts and perspectives of others and even be a great way to encourage as the body of Christ, of not only what not to do, but how to reach out to those who might have been hurt, who are not Christians and just those who are shy about being in church for whatever the reason. Well written, not finger pointing, but honest, encouraging and refreshing, "When Bad Christians Happen to Good People" is a wonderful read for everybody.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tc

    This book was redundant on many levels. The Author seemed to be hurt so many times by people in his churches and I get that but it seemed as if he was so negative in his writing that I had to stop reading the book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Harold Cameron

    "Have you been betrayed by a Christian friend? Are you disillusioned with the church? If you have been hurt by Christians, you know all about anger and resentment. But what about a workable solution? How can the words and actions of “bad Christians” be addressed so the mistakes are not repeated? When Bad Christians Happen to Good People offers a workable response and, ultimately, a new way of living. In this revised and updated edition, you will find healing for hurts inflicted by others. At th "Have you been betrayed by a Christian friend? Are you disillusioned with the church? If you have been hurt by Christians, you know all about anger and resentment. But what about a workable solution? How can the words and actions of “bad Christians” be addressed so the mistakes are not repeated? When Bad Christians Happen to Good People offers a workable response and, ultimately, a new way of living. In this revised and updated edition, you will find healing for hurts inflicted by others. At the same time, you will discover ways to help Christians and church leaders recognize the damage that is done by unexamined assumptions, words, and actions. After dealing with his own hurt, Dave Burchett now shows believers how to: ■ Live as Jesus followers, not rule enforcers ■ Stop using religious performance as the standard for accepting others ■ Let go of moralism, legalism, and an allegiance to trying harder ■ Discover God’s grace as a daily reality, not just a word to use in evangelism Working toward a solution will benefit your own life at the same time it helps others. Whether you have been a bad Christian in the past, or have been hurt by one, there is a better way to live. There is a Discussion Guide Included for Individual and Small-Group Use About the Author: Dave Burchett started his career as a disc jockey in Ohio, and later moved into sports broadcasting. An Emmy Award-winning television sports director, he has directed events ranging from baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan’s sixth no-hit game to the Summer Olympics. The author of Bring ’Em Back Alive and a blogger on Crosswalk.com and theFish.com, Burchett writes honestly and authentically out of his personal experience. He and his wife, Joni, live in Texas and have three adult sons and a daughter in heaven." (From the Waterbrook/Multnomah Press Website). My thoughts about the book: I got saved because of a card that I received in the mail that asked the question, “Given up on church but not on God?” I had given up on church for sure but I had not totally given up on God although my life certainly didn’t show it. I was living in a relationship as an openly practicing homosexual at the time of receiving that card in the mail. And my experience with Christians and the church for the most part was not what I would call pleasant. There were those few Christians and churches that lived the Gospel but they were few and far between and their positive spiritual influence in my life could not undo all the negative and hurtful influences of so called professing Christians and Christian churches that I attended throughout the years of my life. I was raised by a horribly abusive mother who “religiously” took me to church when ever the doors were open. So when she was in church she was one loving and sweet person but as soon as we got home “all Hell broke loose” and I endured an existence that no child growing up should endure. So I was “churched” you might say to the point of revulsion because what I saw in the church was blatant hypocrisy, moralism, judgmentalism and condemnation, legalism, church splits, and a not so gracious loving attitude and response toward me or my sin. I was one of “those people” that don’t attend most churches being loved and accepted as well as invited to share in the hope of the gospel through believing in Jesus Christ. As I was told by one group of pious and legalistic hypocritical individuals in no uncertain terms, “I was going to Hell because I was a homosexual” and that there was just no hope for me. So today living as a devoted follower of Christ who in my post Christian experience still sees far too much hypocrisy, judgmentalism and condemnation and legalism, author Burchett’s book sure struck a chord with me. For people who have been or are being hurt in some way by Christian church leaders or professing Christians this book is a necessary and encouraging read. It is also a book that needs to be read by ministers of the Gospel as well as professing Christians to help them understand that they need to not only talk the talk but also walk the walk (living as walkie-talkie Christians), being Biblical followers of Christ. The author shares the stories of people who were condemned, sent away and judged by professing Christ followers whose focus was on legalism rather than on love and grace. I have not found any other book that so clearly defines a major problem in the Christian church as well as offers solutions for the problem. And that is the good news – that the problem can be resolved if professing Christians will love as Christ loved and live as Christ lived. Author Burchett’s book is not written merely from his observation of what has happened in the lives of others he has known – though that would have been enough to solidly prove his case. No he also shares a devastatingly painful experience he and his wife suffered in regards to a church they attended with their disabled daughter. So the book has a very strong personal overtone to it as well it should to stress the message that author Burchett wants to communicate to those of us who are followers of Christ. “Whether you have been a bad Christian in the past, or have been hurt by one, there IS (emphasis mine) a better way to live.” So, buy the book and read it. Think long and hard on what you read. Then ask yourself how the book applies to you – whether you are you someone who has been or is being injured by a professing Christian or you are someone who is hurting others by being hypocritical, legalistic, condemning and judgmental and thus driving people away from Christ and his church…the book has a Biblical message for you. And if you read the book and are ready to flesh out what author Dave Burchett shares as to how we should be living and what we should be doing in the real-time world as Christians, then there will be a lot less hypocrisy, condemnation and judgmentalism, and driving people away from Chris and the church and a lot more love and grace being shown causing more people to want to know who we know and love, (Jesus), and have what we have (the salvation of their soul and abundant and eternal life). Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging For Books book review bloggers 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." When Bad Christians Happen to Good People: Where We Have Failed Each Other and How to Reverse the Damage

  7. 5 out of 5

    Omisile Kehinde Olugbenga

    This is a good book and I give it 5 Stars with all my heart. It is honest about the struggles of many Christians against, unfortunately, other Christians and the Church. The writing style is witty and quite practical. Quotes from multiple authors along the way shows the author is vast and not trying to push only lone ideas. It's a book I needed at this time of my Christians journey. Those who are wise will understand... This is a good book and I give it 5 Stars with all my heart. It is honest about the struggles of many Christians against, unfortunately, other Christians and the Church. The writing style is witty and quite practical. Quotes from multiple authors along the way shows the author is vast and not trying to push only lone ideas. It's a book I needed at this time of my Christians journey. Those who are wise will understand...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Steve Schoonover

    Treating others as Jesus would treat them is a tall order. But that is what He has asked any who would follow Him to do. The damage done when those in the church overlooks this request may be a difficult for the mistreated to overcome. Fortunately for the author, he was able to do so and has given us a great blueprint for avoiding the problem.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Anderson

    Good read Practical provocative approach to encouraging the Christian to take a look at him/herself and ask, “are my actions advancing the kingdom.” This author avoids technical language and reminds the reader to be kingdom focused.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lona

    Dave Burchett addresses many of the things about Christians that set people's teeth on edge. And, he called me out a few times too. Dave Burchett addresses many of the things about Christians that set people's teeth on edge. And, he called me out a few times too.

  11. 5 out of 5

    James

    We all know people who used to go to church but quit going because of the way we Christians treat each other. Likewise, we know Christians who are back-biters, gossips and bitter people. We have seen these people use the gospel of Grace to make people feel like guilty, lowly sinners. We’ve seen volunteers get used up and spit out while those with special needs often are isolated and forgotten. Christians can be really big jerks and there are a lot of wounded people because of it. This is excepti We all know people who used to go to church but quit going because of the way we Christians treat each other. Likewise, we know Christians who are back-biters, gossips and bitter people. We have seen these people use the gospel of Grace to make people feel like guilty, lowly sinners. We’ve seen volunteers get used up and spit out while those with special needs often are isolated and forgotten. Christians can be really big jerks and there are a lot of wounded people because of it. This is exceptionally heartbreaking because too often ‘good people’ like me, also fit the profile of the bad Christian. David Burchett is also no stranger to bad Christians. When he and his wife Joni had their daughter Katie they knew that she was terminal, could not open her eyes and she had a deformity which left tissue exposed at the back of her skull (which they covered with a dressing). The church that they attended informed them that Katie would no longer be welcome in the nursery because of the risk she posed to other kids and the trauma it would inflict on nursery workers if Katie died on their watch. The Burchetts were not consulted about this and no concerns were ever communicated to them until they were told that their daughter was not welcome in the Nursery. And so Burchett wrote this book exploring all the ways we Christians do damage to each other and fail to communicate God’s love to those outside of the church. The book divides into three parts. In part one Burchett discusses the way we Christians treat one another (i.e. unfriendliness, schism, fear-based Christianity). In part two he explores how we interact with the wider culture (i.e. hypocrisy, Christianese, Jesus-Junk and ‘the culture wars.’ Part three suggests how we Christians are to be in the world (gracious, humble, well-versed in the Bible and what we believe). I never read the first edition of this book but it is refreshing to hear how Burchett feels he’s grown since when he first wrote this book (this edition came out in 2011; the original edition is copyrighted, 2002). As Burchett describes it, writing this book was cathartic for him because he could err his grievances about all the ways we Christians hurt one another. His own book called him to hold himself to the same standards, but something was missing. He didn’t yet know the meaning of grace–at least as an experiential reality. At a conference put on by an organization called TrueFaced (also a book authored by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch) he was transformed by the notion that God has already wired us to be the saints he’s making us into and is calling us to inhabit that reality. He was blown away by the reality of God’s grace. So if you chose to read this book, you will hear stories and critiques of the way we Christians have often been saints behaving badly. You will also read suggestions and exhortations to step out and be Christians who serve the world, love one another and give their lives sacrificially for God’s mission. But you also will hear a testimony of God’s grace–that it is the Spirit at work in us, transforming us into what we already have become in Christ. This book has an eight week discussion guide making it usable for small groups. The chapters are short and pithy with good humor and could be good springboards for discussion. But when I read Burchett say, “If you only have the budget to buy one in the near future, I would tell you to buy TrueFaced (205),” I wonder if I should recommend this book or tell you to just get the book Burchett likes. I haven’t read TrueFaced, so you get no recommendation from me, but I liked this book and am grateful for Burchett’s exhortations and practical challenges. Readers of my blog may notice that this book covers similar ground to another of my recent reviews, Accidental Pharisee by Larry Osborne. Osborne’s book is more narrowly focused on how we become Pharisees (albeit unwittingly) with our pride, attitudes, exclusivity etc. This book does address the problem of hypocrisy but also talks about how we can be better at communicating the gospel to the wider culture. Both authors have good things to say and are challenging. I think Osborne was more personally helpful in taking stock of personal attitudes where I got off track, but Burchett offers good critique of Christian culture and the ways in which we hurt (or exclude) others. Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for this review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Freeman

    Dave Burchett, an Emmy award winning sports director, reflects his sports background in his writing style. I found the one-liners quickly became burdensome. But the content comes out strong, struggles around the half way mark but then pulls forward and finishes decently. Dave has broken the book into 3 sections: the indefensible things we do to one another (the case), thoughts on how we lost our audience (the cause), and being real in an artificial world (the cure). I believe that Dave did a gre Dave Burchett, an Emmy award winning sports director, reflects his sports background in his writing style. I found the one-liners quickly became burdensome. But the content comes out strong, struggles around the half way mark but then pulls forward and finishes decently. Dave has broken the book into 3 sections: the indefensible things we do to one another (the case), thoughts on how we lost our audience (the cause), and being real in an artificial world (the cure). 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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Have you ever read a book that made a huge impression on you? That convinced or inspired you to change the way you live or interact with others? That opened your eyes and made you realize you've been doing something stupid for a very long time? This book did all those for me. I don't write this lightly, because I rarely read a book that does just that. I found this while browsing through the non-fiction stacks in my local county library. You'd be amazed what you can find when you're not really lo Have you ever read a book that made a huge impression on you? That convinced or inspired you to change the way you live or interact with others? That opened your eyes and made you realize you've been doing something stupid for a very long time? This book did all those for me. I don't write this lightly, because I rarely read a book that does just that. I found this while browsing through the non-fiction stacks in my local county library. You'd be amazed what you can find when you're not really looking for anything. The book's title caught my eye, since it's a clever play on the standard question of why bad things happen to good people (that question, by the way, is beyond the scope of this humble review). So I picked it up, paged through it, and decided it was worth a try. I wasn't paying for it, so my criteria for reading a book is low (it's higher if I'm buying a book). Author Dave Burchett's message can be summed up in one sentence: Christians need to treat each other better, and they need to treat non-Christians better. He's speaking from personal experience. I won't give away the situation here, but he and his family were treated horribly at a church they had attended for years, so they left. And he started talking to other folks who had also been treated badly by their fellow Christians, and realized something was very wrong in the church. Some folks moved to other churches, but others lost their faith. The church was actually driving people away, and Burchett rightly thinks that's wrong. Burchett also provides a quick but effective overview of basic Christian doctrine, including six things he learned about evangelism by watching the ridiculous events in Florida following the 2000 presidential election. But the strength of the book is Burchett's advice for dealing with non-believers. Too many Christians have done a horrible job of communicating their message. They come across as hateful, bigoted, close-minded, intolerant, and angry. So is it any wonder that so many non-Christians think all Christians are that way? Or that Christianity is that way? So he suggests that Christians watch their language and tone, and treat everyone, believer and non-believer alike, with love and humility. Don't water down the message, just make it less strident and more welcoming. He also advises Christians to pick their battles more carefully, and here he goes into politics. Yes, Christians should be involved with the political process, and should stand up for issues that are important, but politics is not the most effective way to change peoples' hearts. Quit whining about the secular media, or how mean skeptics are, or how Christians are victimized - that achieves nothing. Instead, focus on living the Christian life, which is the best way to change this world. That's the message I took from this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lori Watson

    Every Christian should read this book. Period. There are very few books I would say that about (in fact, I can only think of one other and I don't feel quite as strongly about it). If you are a Christian, get this book and read it. Seriously. Do it. Do it. (Okay, now I'm channeling Ben Stiller in Starsky and Hutch.) I frequently receive emails from FIRST Tours, sharing books available for review, but I had decided to hold off on requesting any until after the wedding madness had ended. When this o Every Christian should read this book. Period. There are very few books I would say that about (in fact, I can only think of one other and I don't feel quite as strongly about it). If you are a Christian, get this book and read it. Seriously. Do it. Do it. (Okay, now I'm channeling Ben Stiller in Starsky and Hutch.) I frequently receive emails from FIRST Tours, sharing books available for review, but I had decided to hold off on requesting any until after the wedding madness had ended. When this one came through though, I just could not resist the title. I've had "Bad Christians" happen to me and I've been the "Bad Christian". I knew I needed to read this book. I was hooked from the beginning. He begins with a disclaimer in the Introduction that had me nodding in agreement. I must begin with some words of disclosure. I am a hypocrite. I can be arrogant and selfish. I have been known to stretch, conceal, or slightly massage the truth. I am sometimes inconsiderate and insecure. I struggle with lust and impure thoughts. My ego often rages out of control, and I battle foolish pride. I can be lazy and foolhardy with my time. I get angry, petty, and ill-tempered. I am sarcastic and cynical. I am a Christian. The transparency here immediately engages the reader and lets us know that this is not going to be a "preachy" book written by someone surrounded by dusty books without any actual interaction with messy people. Rather, it is written by someone who's walked through the ick of life, the ick of themselves, and has a few things to share from that experience. He does not point fingers and attack those who've hurt us (and he shares his own pain at the hands of the church) but rather challenges us to experience and live God's grace. I pray his words will open the eyes of those demonstrating some of these bad Christian traits and help heal those who have been on the receiving end of the damage this can cause. This book connected to me in both areas. I have many times wanted to give up on church ministry and people, there are still areas of raw pain. There was a lot here to relate to and take in. I was also challenged to demonstrate grace and love, to change priorities, and to examine myself. I finished the book feeling both renewed and challenged, and wanting to encourage as many as possible to read this as well! In fact, my husband is currently considering it for our church's small groups in the fall. I believe it would be an excellent study to do together and there are discussion questions for each chapter in the back. *Disclosure: I received a copy of this book at no cost for review purposes. This was originally posted on my blog.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christy Trever

    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 perfec 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.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    I know I haven't been alone in my thinking when some whack job does something wacky. There's plenty of these people out there. But then it's made so much more enjoyable when said whack job gets a microphone shoved in front of himself and they claim the reason for their wackiness is they are a Christian. Awesome! Well, Dave Burchett was thinking the same thing when he wrote When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. As he said early on, 'this book is for everyone who has been disgusted by the hypoc I know I haven't been alone in my thinking when some whack job does something wacky. There's plenty of these people out there. But then it's made so much more enjoyable when said whack job gets a microphone shoved in front of himself and they claim the reason for their wackiness is they are a Christian. Awesome! Well, Dave Burchett was thinking the same thing when he wrote When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. As he said early on, 'this book is for everyone who has been disgusted by the hypocritical arrogance of a church congregation or its leadership. It is also for Christians who inflict the wounds.' I thoroughly enjoyed Dave's style, as he didn't mince words, but readily acknowledged that all Christ followers can be both the offended and those who offend. He spoke openly with Christians about our style and approach to all sorts of topics. But he also spoke about the expectations of non-Christians. Some of these arguments have indeed been made before. But the honesty in which Dave approaches this topic doesn't leave one feeling chastised. Rather, it is more like a good conversation one knows he needed to hear. As a pastor, I can see this being a great small group resource, so that perhaps whole pockets of people could begin to enact change within their churches. Let's face it, when we get together in large groups, we can do some pretty dumb and awful stuff. On the other hand, we can also grow and learn together how to accomplish this great mission Jesus has called us to. This way, when the next microphone gets shoved in front of one of us, the rest of us might not wince with expectant doom. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. If you want to check out more: More Info Read Chapter One Author Bio

  17. 5 out of 5

    Clark Goble

    found this book totally by accident. I was looking for a different title at the library when I found this one. The title immediately caught my eye and I thought I would take it home and check it out. I am so glad I did! Dave Burchett’s book is one that all Christians should read. The author uses humor, and examples from his own life, to illustrate how Christians tend to work against the cause of Christ. There is a chance that his book will offend some readers, but I would suggest that those who found this book totally by accident. I was looking for a different title at the library when I found this one. The title immediately caught my eye and I thought I would take it home and check it out. I am so glad I did! Dave Burchett’s book is one that all Christians should read. The author uses humor, and examples from his own life, to illustrate how Christians tend to work against the cause of Christ. There is a chance that his book will offend some readers, but I would suggest that those who would be offended are the ones that need to read it the most. I will admit that there were several “a-ha” moments for me as I read this book and reflected on my own Christian walk. The most revealing was when the author discussed how a Christian should respond to current “hot” issues such as abortion, homosexuality, and prayer in schools. I don’t want to reveal too much about the book, but I will say that Mr. Burchett has caused me to totally reconsider my own response to such issues. This book is one that would bring shame on many Christians. Fortunately, the author writes with a wit that causes the reader to chuckle just before they feel the sting. On a side note, I was shocked when the author revealed early in the book that he was from Chillicothe, Ohio (I currently live in Chilly-Town myself). Although he currently lives in Texas, Dave Burchett should make his old home town proud. Only three times in my life have I felt compelled to contact an author of a book I was reading and this is the only time the author actually responded to my correspondence. Needless to say, I was thrilled I stumbled on this book. I highly recommend this book for all Christians.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dan Cooley

    When Bad Christians Happen To Good People, written by Dave Burchett. The Good: The title of course is excellent. Dave does a good job writing in a conversational style with great humor. I highly recommend this book! However, if you are on the sensitive, legalistic end of Christianity you may not enjoy the humor as much as the rest of us. The Bad: When I was reading it, my complaint was that there just wasn’t much meat in the book. Yes, Christians are hypocrites in transition (my words not his) and w When Bad Christians Happen To Good People, written by Dave Burchett. The Good: The title of course is excellent. Dave does a good job writing in a conversational style with great humor. I highly recommend this book! However, if you are on the sensitive, legalistic end of Christianity you may not enjoy the humor as much as the rest of us. The Bad: When I was reading it, my complaint was that there just wasn’t much meat in the book. Yes, Christians are hypocrites in transition (my words not his) and we have hurt each other. So what now? Anyhow by the end Dave addressed that question in the last third of the book. What surprised me was how many pages I’d dog-eared to come back to later. Evidently I got more from it then I realized while reading it! The Ugly: It brought back memories of church wars. Some of us have a bit of PTSD. Worst yet, it brought back memories of when I’ve been the bad Christian. Conviction is necessary – but ugly. I’ll be recommending this book. It drops a star only because the inside wasn’t quite as good as the title. That’s impossible I realize, but hey, it’s my review. So there. Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers sent this book to me free for an unbiased review. That’s what I’ve tried to give. As a Christian who is sometimes bad, I might could be bribed, but not for ten bucks.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ethan

    An excellent critique on many of the customs and practices of modern Evangelical Christianity, their incompatibility with the Gospel, and how they repel people from Christ. The author focuses on the judgmental environment present in many churches, how divisions are manifest, the many barely profitable (if at all) matters which Christians focus on as opposed to what is truly important, the disconnect between Christian profession and Christian practice, the use of jargon incomprehensible to non-Chr An excellent critique on many of the customs and practices of modern Evangelical Christianity, their incompatibility with the Gospel, and how they repel people from Christ. The author focuses on the judgmental environment present in many churches, how divisions are manifest, the many barely profitable (if at all) matters which Christians focus on as opposed to what is truly important, the disconnect between Christian profession and Christian practice, the use of jargon incomprehensible to non-Christians, the inanity of Christian merchandising, the ugliness manifest in the culture wars, the distance between what Jesus actually taught and what many Christians believe, relative ignorance of theology, a lack of true love, and the need for grace. This is an important exhortation for all to hear. Your toes will be stepped on at some point or another. Yet, in the end, the author does well at showing what is truly important in terms of the Gospel and how we can do better at reflecting Christ than culture, upbringing, and tradition. Highly recommended. **--book received as part of early review program

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jonsaint

    The title itself is very catchy. Once you read the title and you have been involved in one way or another to one or more certain community of believers, you know you wanna grab it from the shelves and browse it right away. The browsing part is a turning point to decide whether you want to sit and read or not. I decided to carry on. Some readers may be offended. Yet I would say the ones being offended are the ones who need to read this book most. It is a fact that there are horrible people in the The title itself is very catchy. Once you read the title and you have been involved in one way or another to one or more certain community of believers, you know you wanna grab it from the shelves and browse it right away. The browsing part is a turning point to decide whether you want to sit and read or not. I decided to carry on. Some readers may be offended. Yet I would say the ones being offended are the ones who need to read this book most. It is a fact that there are horrible people in the church who act righteous. And this makes the outside world difficult to find them faithful. In the Bible, James talks about Faith and Deeds. One has to prove that he is faithful through deeds. The book hits hard in a funny way sometimes. And it's very creative to lessen blow in getting accross to readers. I was touched with a certain line the book which says that the world is not our enemy because this is where we live. The world may be viewed as ungodly but this is exactly what we are here for: we must have something to offer to turn the world around into good.

  21. 4 out of 5

    B.L. Aldrich

    I just finished this in one sitting. Not because I think it's the best book I've ever read, or because I think everyone I know needs to read it. But because I was the target audience for this piece. I'll praise the fact it pulls no punches is not remotely squeamish in pointing out the hypocrisy of 99.9999...% of those who claim the title Christian. I'll praise it for being straightforward, intelligently argued, and unflinching while simultaneously managing to be funny and thought-provoking and h I just finished this in one sitting. Not because I think it's the best book I've ever read, or because I think everyone I know needs to read it. But because I was the target audience for this piece. I'll praise the fact it pulls no punches is not remotely squeamish in pointing out the hypocrisy of 99.9999...% of those who claim the title Christian. I'll praise it for being straightforward, intelligently argued, and unflinching while simultaneously managing to be funny and thought-provoking and humbling. But this book was not written for the entirety of Christianity or for the entirety of humankind, as many people who read "Christian" books often think about any text that drops the term "Christianity" and purports to be instructive. It was written for the damaged, for the wounded, and for the yearning. If this book is meant to speak to you, it will. If not, it won't change your life as I hope it has changed mine. But it might make you think.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    This book was awesome for people with an open mind to read. It is important to begin reading with the attitude that you, as the reader, will get something out of it, rather than thinking of all the people it would apply to and pointing fingers. It's a great book for those wanting to change how they tell others about church and how to avoid turning people off from church, either intentionally or non-intentionally. I found it very helpful in my own life to get away from being so judgmental and to This book was awesome for people with an open mind to read. It is important to begin reading with the attitude that you, as the reader, will get something out of it, rather than thinking of all the people it would apply to and pointing fingers. It's a great book for those wanting to change how they tell others about church and how to avoid turning people off from church, either intentionally or non-intentionally. I found it very helpful in my own life to get away from being so judgmental and to get back to why I go to church in the first place. Excellent read for anyone who wants to improve him or herself.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Clint

    This was a great and engaging book to read. Mr. Burchett is a wonderful writer who explains things in a down-to-earth way and is not at all preachy. He writes about funny experiences but also heartfelt ones to connect with his audiences. I have experienced a lot of similar experiences that he talks about and totally agree that as a whole, "Christians" are not looked fondly at by non-Christians and even some Christ-followers as well. He explains how Christians need to change their thoughts and pr This was a great and engaging book to read. Mr. Burchett is a wonderful writer who explains things in a down-to-earth way and is not at all preachy. He writes about funny experiences but also heartfelt ones to connect with his audiences. I have experienced a lot of similar experiences that he talks about and totally agree that as a whole, "Christians" are not looked fondly at by non-Christians and even some Christ-followers as well. He explains how Christians need to change their thoughts and process in the way they are representing Jesus Christ and his message.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

    I really liked chapter 13 (the reason I bought the book), but the rest was okay. Thought provoking and on the money in parts and a bit over dramatic in others. I really enjoyed his humor and writing style though. He also has a very painful and touching personal testimony that I think served as much of his motivation for writing the book

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lydia Utami

    I wish I had found this book earlier than I did back then. It sums it all, why Christians (including me) do not walk the talk, and other issues. Mind altering, pointing out mistakes and showing the right way at the same time. This is what happens when everyone is trapped with easy answers, instant meal, and superficial relationship. I found this book simply encouraging :') I wish I had found this book earlier than I did back then. It sums it all, why Christians (including me) do not walk the talk, and other issues. Mind altering, pointing out mistakes and showing the right way at the same time. This is what happens when everyone is trapped with easy answers, instant meal, and superficial relationship. I found this book simply encouraging :')

  26. 5 out of 5

    La Osborne

    Very though-provoking and well-written. Burchett's approach is not what I expected and some of his ideas are counter to my own, but he offers wonderfully articulated arguments. He also includes his personal opinions about beliefs without forcing them upon the reader - a welcome approach for a book regarding faith. The book is just what I needed, right when I needed it. Very though-provoking and well-written. Burchett's approach is not what I expected and some of his ideas are counter to my own, but he offers wonderfully articulated arguments. He also includes his personal opinions about beliefs without forcing them upon the reader - a welcome approach for a book regarding faith. The book is just what I needed, right when I needed it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lynnea

    Excellent (yet, convicting) book written in a very cynical humorous tone. I added some notes in the updates as I went along... And from the intro: "The principle 'We have always done it this way' should be banned from every sanctuary and replaced with the prayerful inquiry, 'Is this still the best way to do this?'" Excellent (yet, convicting) book written in a very cynical humorous tone. I added some notes in the updates as I went along... And from the intro: "The principle 'We have always done it this way' should be banned from every sanctuary and replaced with the prayerful inquiry, 'Is this still the best way to do this?'"

  28. 4 out of 5

    Doug Sullivan

    There are plenty of opportunities to take shots at Christians that poorly display their faith. Burchett weaves a well-written argument that wins an audience from both believers and skeptics. Christians need to own up to being presumptive and inarticulate in our attempts to communicate and model faith.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    This is a great book for recovery if someone has ever been hurt by a church. This helped me get through some tough times and helped me build the strength to actually give a church a second chance after being treated so poorly by a place that is supposed to share love.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Betty Ann

    Really good and insightful; I would like to meet this man! He reads WORLD, he knows Dorothy Sayers and G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis, he has a great sense of humor...and he makes me laugh out loud and then go "ouch!" Very TRUE book! Really good and insightful; I would like to meet this man! He reads WORLD, he knows Dorothy Sayers and G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis, he has a great sense of humor...and he makes me laugh out loud and then go "ouch!" Very TRUE book!

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