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

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  139 ratings  ·  33 reviews
“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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by WaterBrook Press (first published January 15th 2002)
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-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
Aug 31, 2007 Carl added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
the title says it all doesn't it?

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
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
Clockstein Lockstein
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 ...more
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 the
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 ...more
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
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 ...more
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
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
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
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
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 ...more
Anna Hanson
Via many good, thought-provoking points, presented with humble admissions of his own failings, Mr. Burchett invites the reader to join him on a journey of self-examination as he considers the impact those who claim the label of Christian have on society and the church.
Nov 07, 2011 Michele rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any churchgoer
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 :')
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.
Nicole Maendel
I often recommend this book to those who have either left or are considering leaving a damaging, spiritually abusive and 'toxic' faith/church experience.
I particularly recommend it to those who still 'believe,' who identify themselves as 'Christians,' yet have been church-bullied in one way or another by members/leaders. Excellent and helpful read!
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
Jul 31, 2014 Lynnea added it
Shelves: non-fiction
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?'"
Loved Burchett's insight and humor. Wonderful reading for any and every Christian. This book clearly addresses the reasons we leave church and/or religion altogether. The writing style is wonderful. I highly recommend it to all Christians and will probably read it more than once.
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.
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!
Should be required reading for every church professional & lay leader. I have friends that swear by this book, but I struggled through it. I like books that leave something to my imagination; this covered it all, blow by blow.
Jamie King
This book was a really thoughtful look at what it's like to be a true Christian. We are definitely not always perfect, but we should really strive to represent our faith in a much more personal way.
Ti-Leigh Telford
This was a hard book to read as it was so convicting. It not only addresses how Christians hurt each other, but how we damage our own witness to the world.
See my full-length review at:

This was a fantastic book.
Dec 28, 2007 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This guy does a wonderful job of addressing sensitive subjects with grace and humor while still getting his point across.
A must-read!
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Dave Burchett is a successful television sports director with experiences that include the Olympic Games as well as professional and collegiate sports. Dave has directed television coverage of Texas Rangers baseball for over thirty years, earning a national Emmy and two local Emmy’s throughout his career. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring ‘Em Back Alive. Dave ...more
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“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” 3 likes
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