by Dave Burchett

Waterbrook Press, $14.99, 244 pages

Christian author Dave Burchett strikes an admirable balance between humor and introspection in his hard-hitting book When Bad Christians Happen to Good People: Where We Have Failed Each Other and How to Reverse the Damage. According to Burchett, many of the accusations of hypocrisy voiced by non-Christians about Christians are accurate: “I have to agree that the negative things non-Christians have heard and felt about Christians and the church are partially or even completely true. Many of the unchurched folks I talk to base their rejection of Christ on a bad experience with a Christian” (3). And while Burchett later lists many of the negative qualities too many Christians choose to ignore within themselves – such as greed, racism, and pride – he also peppers his book with such humorous examples as a make-believe TV reality show called Who’s Saved? where a team of judgmental church-goers decide whether a person is a Christian or not: “Watch as word gets around that Jim Bob had a beer. Is he saved or unsaved? Find out tonight!” (32)

In seventeen chapters, Burchett concludes that while the evangelical Christian church in particular needs to look to itself before casting judgment on others, his goal is not to chastise but to inspire to a new way of thinking. Christians have many wonderful opportunities to impact the culture around them, Burchett writes, but that can only happen when they learn to view their own lives with humility and humor.

by Jennie A. Camp