Friday, August 31, 2012

When Bad Christians Happen to Good People – Dave Burchett

When Bad Christians Happen to Good People – Dave Burchett

When Bad Christians Happen to Good People: Where We Have Failed Each Other and How to Reverse the Damage©2002, 2011  Waterbrook Press, Colorado Springs

You just can’t go wrong with a title like When BadChristians 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.]


Sherry said...

My question is, does he really tell how to reverse the damage? In someone else? One of my family members has been "damaged" by unthinking Christians who should have been her mentors and supporters. And now the damage is compounded by her own sinful choices. I wish I knew how to "reverse the damage", but I am fairly sure it will take a miracle of God's grace. And that's what I'm praying for.

Benjie said...

Sherry, Thanks for reading. I am saddened to hear that your sister is the victim of the same kind of thing that Burchett addresses in the book. His major point is to address how WE begin the process of not being unkind in our Christian behavior. We must continue praying for our friends and family members who have been hurt by the inconsistency of the Christian witness. The only way for Christ's love to reach them is through His grace.

Also, it would not hurt for us to pray that we do not add to the barriers that keep them from finding that grace. And the way for that to happen is only (also) through Christ's grace.

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