Book Review: 10 Things I Hate About Christianity
Here is a review of my book I stumbled upon. Here it is:
Rolling over for the third time, I quieted my alarm and looked up at the ceiling, wishing I didn’t have to go to church. A thought quickly reprimanded by the fact that I was the pastor and had little choice in the matter. Scenarios like this do not make me, or any believer less Christian, only more aware of just how human we are. Being human, and therefore imperfect, is one of the realities Jason T. Berggren explores in his first book, 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith, which he calls an “intersection of real life, simple faith, and raw emotion.”
Hate is defined on the cover of Berggren’s book as a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action. It is a word most people associate with negative thoughts, emotions, and actions. Something Berggren makes plain he is aware of by stating in the first paragraph that he knows “hate is wrong…maybe even a little reckless and rude,” butt hen goes on to tell readers that he used the word because it is what he meant.
After a brief summary of his life and why he decided to write the book, Berggren proceeds to unapologetically detail his pet peeves about Faith, Prayer, The Bible, Sin, Rules, Love, Hell, Answers to Difficult Questions, Church, and Christians. He is brutally honest about his feelings and experiences with each, much to the joy and dismay of Christians, atheists, agnostics and would-be readers.
In researching this book I came across one unhappy blogger who states, “…its title alone is offensive. I consider myself a moderate Democrat who fully supports journalistic freedom. But this kind of peace seeks only to disrespect Christian beliefs without any constructive purpose (whether it be academic, intellectual, or otherwise).” I couldn’t disagree more and believe such a statement could only be made by someone who has not read the book at all, but in the spirit of self-righteousness stopped short of getting past the cover long enough to find one believer’s very fruitful journal of hate, which Berggren states is not “the unguarded, irresponsible, and negative emotion” his father warned him about, “but the inner sense of overwhelming dissatisfaction that can launch a progression toward personal growth.”
Most Christians, if honest with themselves, can identify one point in their lives where they felt as if they didn’t know why they believed as they did, why they decided to live as they do, became angry because God didn’t answer a prayer the way they thought He should have, or felt that He wasn’t present at all. Even if they refuse to acknowledge ever dealing with those emotions, they can at least say they’ve read a passage of scripture that didn’t seem to make sense, felt a little slighted by the world’s seemingly total lack of consciousness of obligation toward morality, or the constant position of defense one takes when trying to prove something exists that no one can see, feel,or touch – not to mention, the sometimes irritating “everything’s going to be all right” position you have to take when everything is going so wrong.
Any mature Christian has come to many of the same conclusions that Berggren has. He states, “It took time, but I learned to come to terms with the realization that faith in Jesus didn’t mean all my problems would go away or be fixed,” a bill of goods many bible-totin’ saints and televangelists will sell in their quest to rescue people from damnation and hell-fire. The truth of the matter is God never promised that everything would be all right all the time. Neither can anyone find a single scripture that says life will be peaches and cream if you only believe in Jesus. On the contrary, it speaks of hardship and persecution following those who take up the cross of Christ, but like Berggren, our faith can bring us clarity and peace even if it doesn’t fix every problem. And most importantly, to those who believe, it is the light to our path, a guide to moral success, and a means of getting through the hardships of this life to eternal life, a privilege and gift Christ died to make available.
What’s more important than the 10 things Berggren hates is the one thing he loves, and that is Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith.In the midst of uncertainty and hardship, He is the one we can look to for peace, even when we lack understanding. And when we are having our “top of the world” experiences, He is the one to whom we direct our praise. No matter what side of fate we find ourselves in the moment of existence we call life, Christ is and will be at the center of it all,just as He was that morning when I felt I would rather just be holy at home. Once at service standing in the pulpit, I knew I was in the right place doing the right thing. Noticing that the congregation was looking a little weary, I jokingly stated that I understood and would have preferred to sleep in, and if I weren’t the pastor, I would’ve done just that. As expected, they erupted in laughter, amused and pleasantly surprised by my unrestrained honesty. It wasn’t necessarily my objective to entertain them, but to encourage them by letting them know that even I struggle with the responsibilities of faith. I was just “keeping it real”, a sentiment shared by Berggren, and hopefully appreciated by anyone who reads 10 Things I Hate About Christianity.
For more information about Jason T. Berggren and to purchase this book, please visit his website at www.10thingsihate.com
-by Desimber Rose (source here)