Monday, June 15, 2009

Hate is Such a Strong Word

I just finished 10 Things I Hate About Christianity, Working Through the Frustrations of Faith, by Jason T. Berggren. Somehow this never made it onto the “What Will is Reading Now” list so it has to go straight to the “What Will Read Last” list. My friend Billy put this book on my radar so I ordered it not really knowing what to expect. Judging a book by its cover, my initial assumption was that this might be a book with a negative take on the Christian life and faith. Instead it is an apologetic piece dealing with some of the common misconceptions and hang-ups people have about Christianity. Given that, it works out pretty well. Berggren tackles some pretty tough questions of Christianity like faith, prayer, the Bible, sin, rules and hell with some pretty plain language. He shares how he has come to terms with some parts of the faith through his own struggles and his insight is extremely helpful. Occasionally an oversimplification would make the pastoral theologian in my cringe but I think sometimes we have to break things into pieces we can swallow. For instance, in Chapter 8, the author, when writing about why bad things happen to good people, pronounces, “So the answer is this: bad things happen because some people choose to do bad things.” The line made me cringe, but then the author went on to do a really clear job of explaining the brokenness of creation and how things won’t ever be quite right until God restores us.

Where this book got interesting for me was chapter 10 where the author basically claims that the #10 thing he hates about Christianity is Christians. Now, I can see where some Christians may take offense at this but if you really love Jesus and you want more people to experience life in Christ, take a deep breath and read. He takes some pretty hard shots at some of the actions and attitudes of Christians that turn people away from Jesus.

Okay, this book is by no means a masterful, apologetic treatise on Christianity. It isn’t meant to be. If you are looking to wrestle with deep theological questions, I have some other suggestions. But if you are person who is having a little trouble being a Christian, is hung up on some things that are keeping you from being in relationship with God through Jesus Christ or if you are looking for some clear language to talk with people who have some internal road blocks keeping them separated from God, the book is worth reading.



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