It’s been 21 months since the release of my first book. Still, reviews are coming in on occasion. Below is a recent review. What I love about this one is that the reader is not a Christian. Incidentally, yes I want to write another book. Yes, I have an idea (several, in fact). But I still haven’t recouped my costs from the first book. Until this happens, everything is in a relative hold position. Anyway, here is the review:
The book title sounds a little scary, but after reading it I discovered that Jason, the author, and I are almost cut from the same cloth. Quite frankly I enjoyed it. Very much. It was kind of like Jason read my mind and put some of my thoughts on paper. I liked his writing style, pretty good for a first attempt at writing his own book. I found it humorous and genuine. It was refreshing to hear some of his struggles are common with mine and my peers. I am not a Christian. Doubt I ever will be. But there are a lot of “Christian” values that happen to be shared by the rest of the world that I do hold dear. Not sure I should refer to them as “Christian” values since they don’t own them, although many act like they do. It does an excellent job expressing the frustration that comes with belonging to a group with many misguided members. Anyway, thought I would pass along a compliment because I think the book deserves one. -reviewed by John from the Northeast
So yesterday I stumbled across this post from another site from this past weekend. It’s a site about books people should be reading. The writer was musing about books she is thankful for. And not just for the year. She is thankful for them in a much broader sense–overall. Here’s a portion:
…Then there’s a set of authors I’m grateful for: Rob Bell, Erwin R. McManus, Steve Brown, Ed Gungor, and Jason T. Berggren. All of these authors write “out-of-the-box” compared to the usual “evangelical Christian” nonfiction. They aren’t afraid to tell it like it really is. And, I’ve appreciated that. It’s really given me hope.
Wow! It is quite an honor to be thrown in with these other authors who write about their faith in such an honest and compelling way. It is much appreciated.
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)
Here is a new of my book. What’s interesting is that it is by someone who is not a Christian:
“The book title sounds a little scary, but after reading it I discovered that Jason, the author, and I are almost cut from the same cloth. Quite frankly I enjoyed it. Very much. It was kind of like Jason read my mind and put some of my thoughts on paper. I liked his writing style, pretty good for a first attempt at writing his own book. I found it humorous and genuine. It was refreshing to hear some of his struggles are common with mine and my peers. I am not a Christian. Doubt I ever will be. But there are a lot of “Christian” values that happen to be shared by the rest of the world that I do hold dear. Not sure I should refer to them as “Christian” values since they don’t own them, although many act like they do. It does an excellent job expressing the frustration that comes with belonging to a group with many misguided members. Anyway, thought I would pass along a compliment because I think the book deserves one.”
-reviewed by John from the Northeast
I just received a new review of my book 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith. It appears over at blogcritics.com .
Here it is:
One of the most important things to recognize about author Jason T. Berggren is that he is not a Christianity-hater. There are ten things that this believer dislikes, and maybe it would be more apt to say “ten things he’d like improved.”
In Ten Things I Hate about Christianity – Working through the Frustrations of Faith, Berggren discusses issues he has and shares with many other Christians. Although one of his issues is “Rules,” he doesn’t claim that Christianity should be anarchic. Instead he proposes a kindler, gentler version of the Ten Commandments. Instead of ten don’ts, he offers a guideline comprised of ten things people should do. Some may see this as splitting hairs, but Christians know that Christ had only two commandments — to love God above all other things, and to love everyone (yes, everyone, as in “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”).
Berggren does not take a narrow approach to his ten topics, which include faith, prayer, the Bible, sin, rules, love, hell, answers, church, and Christians. What makes Ten Things I Hate about Christianity readable (rather than pedantic) is that he frames each of his chapters (one for each issue) in twenty-first century terms. This means that he is not preaching to true believers (if “true belief” = “blind faith”); he’s questioning along with believers who need answers. And as he explores the questions, he compares our relationship with God to our relationship with others.
By rephrasing doubts and complaints about Christian practices and beliefs, he invites readers to examine those things in relation to their lives. Ten Things I Hate about Christianity is a good book for Christian study and discussion groups. Undoubtedly, some of the discussions may be heated, but sometimes the best way to understand our own views is by comparing them to others’. We often learn that not only is there more than one valid way to look at things, but that our
viewpoint is not the best.
The discussion guide that Berggren has prepared to accompany Ten Things I Hate about Christianity is written with group leaders in mind. Beginning with advice on how to conduct a study of the book, the discussion guide provides leaders and teachers with information on the structure of group meetings, facilitation, and keeping the peace. Following the introductory material, there are again ten chapters on the ten Christianity issues, each comprised of Leader Notes on the topic, and ten questions for discussion. It’s likely that more creative or experienced group leaders will add their own questions and activities to those supplied, but the discussion guide is a fully inclusive course of study if used as written, one that satisfactorily provides enough material to enable most group leaders to conduct a seminar on Ten Things I Hate about Christianity.
10 Things addresses a short list of potentially turn-off issues that seekers or fringers might inwardly battle while exploring the seemingly irrational or unreasonable beliefs of Christianity, such as Bible accuracy and authority, sin, rules, church, and certain behaviors by Christians. The great thing about this book is that the questions Jason approaches are honest questions—questions that Jason wrestled through in his own search of authentic faith. He does an excellent job of blending in his own experiences and honest struggles, while showing the reader his process of working through each “hate.” Jason cleverly helps the reader reconstructs his or her beliefs about God’s character and the Bible, arriving at a reasonable answer and understanding on each point.
One thing I really liked is that Jason did not over-simplify issues in an unbelievable or trite manner, but he addressed many of the issues with candor, expressing honest doubts,personal struggles with sin, and mental battles he faced in over coming his own hates. About one of his sin battles, Jason shares:
“I hesitate to share that detail of my life. It would be easier to write about other people. You know, “my friend” or “someone I once knew.” But that would be insincere. It’s a disgusting part of my life. I think it clearly tells the story of the ugliness that’s waiting for an opportunity to surface in all of us at any time. …And that’s why I tell it.”
In one section, I applaud Jason’s humility in addressing those people reading the book who may have been hurt by the behaviors of certain Christians. Considering the target audience of this book, it is more than appropriate and thoughtful. Here is an excerpt from page 208:
“Whether you are or aren’t a Christian, I apologize on behalf of myself and all other Christians… I’m sorry we may have given you the wrong impression of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I’m sorry we may have given you a wrong expectation of what it means to pursue this faith. …There’s no excuse for bad behavior. Period.
“At times we’ve lied…been insensitive, taken advantage of situations, and pretended to be holier-than-thou. We’ve been standoffish, not repaid loans, not paid for things we broke, harped on your mistakes while cheating on our own taxes, pretended to care, called you names behind your back, and been argumentative. We’ve thought we’re always right,cut you off in traffic with our Christian stickers on the backs of our cars, been cheap…and talked to you in everyday conversations by using language you couldn’t understand. For all that, and much more, please accept my sincerest apologies. We’ve alienated you, judged you, been condescending to you, been unreliable, sold you short, not helped, and not been there to encourage you when you needed it…”
Toward the end of the book, Jason offers a challenge to well-groomed, perhaps indoctrinated (insensitive?) Christians. The main purpose of his challenge is to get Christians aspiring to be recognized for their behavior, not their title:
“Here’s my challenge to Christians: Consider no longer calling yourself a‘Christian.’ Take a few seconds to think about what it would mean if you had to stop using that term to describe yourself. What would you have to do? Most likely, you’d be forced to do something drastic. Above all else, you’d have to consider your attitude and actions in everything. Like never before, you’d have to take into account how you represent the truth hidden in your heart…”
In my opinion, 10 Things is a great stepping-stone for those who are trying to find their way over personal stumbling blocks on their way to belief.
I didn’t prepare an acceptance speech for this great honor. But let me just say:
“I’d like to thank God for still putting up with me, my wife for supporting most of my crazy ideas, my children for still think I’m cool, and Should Be Reading for giving me this most prestigious award.
And I would also like to mention that I have assembled a Discussion Guide (which is totally FREE!) for 10 Things I Hate About Christianity. Thank you to everyone!”
“You get an immediate understanding that God is the bad-guy in this
film, so if you have no flexibility in your faith, you might want to
check out 10Things I Hate About Christianity, it helps put things in perspective.” (Read the rest here)
Here is another review of my book that appeared on IHEYO.com. It is a site for young humanists:
author, Jason Berggren, is neither an atheist nor agnostic; rather,
he’s a pretty middle-of-the-road Christian fellow who has written a
somewhat humorous, quite introspective and not the least bit ranting
dissertation on the things which bug him about Christianity. This is
not a tirade against Christianity from the point of view of a person in
another religion, but more like the private observations of the
frailties of the religion and its flock from the perspective of an
Once I grabbed the overall concept of
the book as such, it was a pleasant surprise to see such candor from
someone of the born-again Christian faith in print. For the author’s
first book, he’s done a fine job and I recommend it. When I got to
chapter 10 the book reached its crescendo. The most fallible thing
about any institution is of course its people, and sometimes the
behavior of our peers can be downright embarrassing. It was refreshing
to hear from an insider how difficult things can be for a moderate
Christian and to be reminded that there are good and great people
struggling with the challenges of all their respective faiths.
Here are the 10 Things:
no evidence for what we believe. That’s why it’s called faith. God
doesn’t appear at the mall with Jesus to buy you sneakers.”
2. Prayer “You do it, and it feels like it doesn’t accomplish what you
want it to accomplish. You wonder: What’s really changed? Sometimes God
takes time and asks us to accept no.”
3. The Bible “So often you read something and wonder, is that
trustworthy? Is it helpful? Does everything always have to be so boring
4. Sin “Am I really so evil or so bad that I have to think of myself as
sinful? Of course, we’re all only two or three decisions from ruining
our life completely.”
5. Rules “Why are there so many rules, and do I have to keep them all? There is too much to keep track of.”
6. Love “It feels too hard to love everyone all the time.”
7. Hell “Why would a loving God create hell?”
8. Answers “I don’t always like the answers that Christianity gives. Do I have to accept them?”
9. Church “Everyone says go to church. But how does that make me a better person?”
10. Christians “Why are Christians so crazy, annoying and judgmental?”
This blog answered a question from the reader a couple weeks ago. The question was, “What books are you grateful this year?” The 2nd one on the list of five was MY BOOK! That’s so amazing. Here is what the reviewer said:
Hate is a strong emotion, an attention-getter, a buzzword in the political world. But is there more to hate than dislike? Jason Berggren, a punk-rocker turned pastor is stirring up controversy and conversations with his new book, “10 Things I Hate About Christianity”, an exploration of the author’s problems with the Christian faith.
A former screamer for the hardcore band Strongarm, Berggren had a faith experience in his mid-twenties and began to investigate the Christian faith. While he agreed with many of the principles, he found some tenets of the faith troublesome, even annoying. Rather than walking away from this new found faith altogether, Berggren made the decision to work through each and every one of his disagreements and tensions with Christianity in an effort to make a positive step towards a better understanding of his faith.
His book has elicited both praise and anger, especially the latter, in regards to his use of the word ‘hate’ in regards to the Christian faith. On his blog and in interviews, Berggren claims to use hatred to incite change within the church. But this hatred is not without purpose. In an interview with ABC Nightline News’ Dan Harris, he says,“I use the term [hate] in an honest, open, passionate expression. It’s a deep, angst-ridden frustration that can propel you to forward motion.” One may say that they hate eating broccoli, or hate country music, but Berggren is unafraid to say it about everything from prayer that doesn’t work to love that is conditional.
From other Christians to the Bible, especially the King James Version, Berggren spares no touchy issue in his book. Those seeking a political and religious rant will not be satisfied, but readers who seek a deeper understanding of the mysteries of the Christian faith will find a kindred soul in Berggren’s version of hatred. “If there’s any hope that the message of Jesus is gonna happen in modern day,” Berggren says,“we’ve got to be honest. I‘m not claiming to be authentic, but I’m trying.” This authenticity has won over many critics and reviewers alike, even those from outside the religious community.
Because of his stance on the Christian faith and his views of the problems within the faith, Berggren is not unfamiliar with negative reviews. While many have expressed their agreement, there are many who see “10 Things” as antagonistic or too scathing to be helpful to the religious community. However, Berggren has a different perspective. “I have worked in construction off-and-on for years. The first thing you do before you remodel is demolition. If you ever watch HGTV, you know this to be true,” Berggren says. “You tear down walls and break up old cabinets to make way for the new. That’s what this book and this website [his blog] are about. I am simply trying to change into the person I want to be and inviting you to join me in the process.”
Here is a review of my book I found over at Rambles.net. It is by Nicky Rossiter:
Well, with a title like that, this book will surely get noticed, and I suppose that is the first rule of publishing. The “anti” lobby will reach for it looking for justification, while the “pro” groups will get it to check it out to try and refute it.
So,to avoid confusion, I’ll state from the start the author is using rhetoric here. Like thousands who went before him, Jason T. Berggren preaches the message by looking initially at the obverse of his beliefs, then working through the arguments to turn that initial thought on its head.
As anyone who has ever believed in a cause, a religion or even a person will agree, there are times when that belief is tested. No belief that is never tested is worth having. If you believe in God and things never go against you, where is the challenge? If you love a person and they constantly agree with you, won’t you get bored?
Berggren is not your average preacher. He does not look the part and he does not write the part. He challenges not just the reader but the faith, and in so doing he attempts to win over one and solidify the other.
The chapter headings cover everything from “Faith through Love”and “Hell” to “Church.” In all of these he confronts the reader with real-life dilemmas, but not necessarily major, life-changing ones. In”Sin,” for example, he presents us with a situation every one of us has encountered. You buy an item and a genuine error is made in the charge.The clerk is too busy or disinterested to notice, but you do. The loser will be a big chain store; do you pocket the change and walk away or do you point out the error? Christianity is clear. A sin is a sin is a sin. That is what can make people hate Christianity.
10 Things I Hate About Christianity will challenge you like this through the range of topics, and I suppose only after reading it can you answer the question of whether you hate these things about Christianity or about yourself. This is a thought-provoking book that could be very useful in group discussion, not just about the religion but about morality and our understanding of society.
Frank Viola is a big leader in the organic church movement. He speaks and writes. In fact, I was asked to review his book From Here to Eternity and did. Well, he reviewed my book over at his site Reimagining Church. Here it is:
Yesterday I talked about Catholics encouraging people to pray before sex. Today I am posting a review of my book by a Catholic. Her name is Sarah Sharp and it appears at USCatholic.org:
these is love.” Jason Berggren openly admits in his debut book,
subtitled “Working Through the Frustrations of Faith,” that hate isn’t
what you’re supposed to feel, but he’s an angry young man and he does
anyway. He hates that parts of his faith don’t make sense, he hates
that faith takes so much work, and he hates that he wouldn’t have it
any other way.
Perhaps making a negative argument for Christianity seems
counterintuitive, but that’s what makes 10 Things so appealing. Young
people struggling with their faith especially will find Berggren’s
musings relevant. They’ll appreciate his focus on the mundane, everyday
challenges of putting that faith into practice.
Some of Berggren’s frustrations make complete sense: It is easy to
understand hating things such as hell, sin, and rules. But to hate
other Christians or prayer or even love? What’s not to love about love?
For one thing, Berggren says, “It seems like it shouldn’t be so much
work, but it is. . . . Love is unnatural that way.” And yet that is
what makes it all the more lovely and worthwhile. “Life minus love
Far from being a raging diatribe against Christianity, as the title
suggests, this labor of love is Berggren’s attempt to explore what
makes him stay faithful to Christ and dedicated to Christianity in
spite of it all. For Berggren this hate has become as motivational as
love. “We can train our minds to use our hate, and . . . we can create
forward momentum: We sense the tension, wrestle with the issue, win the
battle, learn a lesson, grow as an individual, and move ahead,” he
Often Berggren has more questions than answers. He can’t explain
everything; sometimes he doesn’t even try. He is no expert on faith,
and he’s certainly not holier than thou. He’s just trying hard to
figure it out, and sometimes he, like all of us, just have to work
Here is a review of my book over at iratefilms.com. It’s a very interesting review. And by the way, it is one of the best sites out there for movie reviews. Here’s what they said:
Berggren takes you on a page by page journey of his life through theeyes of a child, a student, and finally a father and husband as hesearches for his personal path to the almighty. Regardless of yourfaith, this book will be a pleasant read, filled with humor, drama andmoral lessons that don’t come across as preachy or proselytizing.
At times, Berggren uses personal quirks that we might not all share,but that we can all relate to on some level. We all have things in ourlife that we constantly struggle to keep at bay. For me, I am a Cokeaddict myself, so when his book started out that way – I chuckled tomyself.
You see, I have known Jason since high school, where he was mybus-mate for a magnet school; that meant we spent a great deal of timetogether as we transitioned from place to place and challenge tochallenge in our pursuit to find out who we were. He was always thereally cool, down to earth “Christian” guy who I looked up to as anunderclassman. He also had a three foot red mohawk but could carry outa theological or philosophical debate with anyone on the planet. Thisbook shows me that he still can, and does.
The provocative title of the book has a double effect, in that itwill draw away some “Christians” and possibly pull in some atheists. But, it is like escargot, I didn’t know I liked it until I tried it. Jason’s book is a lot like that for me, I am glad I tried it, and it isGREAT with garlic (and Coke).
If you want to attack his arguments, you really can’t because heputs things in a personal perspective that defies theologicalcriticism. Can anyone, can any one man,truly say they know what Godis, what is the correct path to take, or even the right “voice” to useto get to him – or her. That is me talking by the way, not Jason.
But, it illustrates the point, finding God is a personal journey. So, pick up Jason’s journey, enjoy this book, don’t be taken aback bythe title.
Be brave enough to read this book, and you will see how Jason cameup with the title, it was another bit that made me chuckle. And,Jason, I think God would be very proud of you – and the other Jason aswell . . . I shall always consider you my friend.
So a few weeks ago the Sacramento Book Review rated my book. It was a great review, and I was very thankful.
But wait there’s more!
Soon after the review posted they contacted me to inform me that the review was getting a ton of hits. Imagine a book with a title like 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith would attract attention? As a result they wanted to do an interview.
This was significant because they review hundreds of books but do very few interviews. Plus, never before had they done an interview with a non-fiction author. And never before had they done one about faith/religion.
That was an awesome feeling.
So click here if you want to listen to it.
Here is another review of my book. It is by John Kennedy over at Goodreads.com: My favorite line is, “I haven’t been this
excited about a book for a long time.” Read it all below:
a former pastor and a first-time writer, has a knack for storytelling.
He has done a tremendous job in giving voice to the frustrations that
Christians experience. The Christian life is confusing. Our problems
don’t disappear simply because we go to church or pray harder. There is
a lot about the faith that we can’t explain, and to pretend otherwise
To the non-Christian, faith sometimes looks ludicrous. But, as
Berggren explains, :With faith it’s strangely possible to acknowledge
the unexplained, face it, embrace it and move forward. Berggren
transparently offers many life lessons of failure. He shows that we
don’t have all the answers, but that struggles done with genuine
questions can be rewarding.
The book is humorous, relevant and thought-provoking and makes a
person examine his own belief sentence. I hope we can do it as a small
group study. Along with the just-read “Crazy Love,” I haven’t been this
excited about a book for a long time.
Another review of my book popped up last week. Here it is:
10 Things I Hate About Christianity…
I recently finished reading “10 Things I Hate About Christianity”
by Jason Berggren. Let me start by sharing the best quote of the book
that is interestingly enough found in the acknowledgments, “And
thanks to Bill LaMorey. He has been one of my best and most necessary
friends. Without a doubt, he is the funniest person I have ever
known…” He goes on to say other nice things, but I do have to keep my pride in check after this past weekend’s message.
all seriousness, I quoted that as a form of disclosure. I am not, nor
can be, unbiased about Jason. We are friends, went to Bible College
together, were roommates, worked on a church staff together, etc. So,
forget about objectivity and let me just tell you what I liked about
Jason, in real life and in his book, is nothing if not
honest. Sometimes, uncomfortably honest. He does not gloss over tough
topics or wrap up unresolved resolve them. In his book he does this to the Christian
faith in a way that is relevant to both Christians desiring honest
examinaissues with pretty paper and a tidy bow so
they look appealing. Instead he painstakingly (and painfully sometimes)
unwraps certain issues that are challenging and uncomfortable in order
to process and tion as well as those that are kicking the tires of Christianity
to check it out.
In “10 Things I Hate…” Jason tackles some
tough topics (10 of them as you might have imagined) like Sin, Hell and
even Christians. He does so not only with honesty, but also with wit
and humor. There are some HILARIOUS stories throughout; my favorite is
the Messianic Rabbi kicking the band Strongarm out of the temple
because parents were concerned that their music was opening a porthole
to hell (ya can’t have kids falling through that)! It is helpful that
Jason shares his struggle with each of these things, but also shares
how he worked through these frustrations. And in some cases how he is
still in the process of doing so. Some of these insights will surely be
helpful to people dealing with similar doubts and struggles. I would
agree with our mutual friend Bob Franquiz who said that the chapter on prayer was perhaps the best.
you find yourself wrestling with elements of the Christian faith, this
is a great book to get into some thoughtful, raw discourse about things
that still baffle you or drive you crazy about Christianity.
And if you want some really funny stories about Jason that are not published, just let me know…
By Bill LaMorey
So in the spirit of full disclosure, Bill is one of my best friends. You may be thinking that means he’s biased. He is….against me. He’s not afraid to say when (and if) I suck. So this review means a lot. You can go to his site and read the original post here.
I stumbled upon another recent review of my book. And by stumbled upon, I mean I surf the web every night looking for them. It’s over at Amazon.com and here’s what the reviewer said:
“I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked up this book, but I
absolutely loved it and couldn’t put the book down, once I got started.
Jason Berggren goes into just about every complaint you’ve ever heard
about Christianity, whether or not you’re a believer in Jesus: the
trouble with faith, the “fantasy” aspect of the Jesus story, how people
interpret the meaning of heaven and hell (and how we end up in either),
the hypocrisy of Christians, the answers we can’t necessarily find in
the Bible, the way some people pick and choose rules to enforce and
then tell us we’ll go to hell if we don’t obey, how sometimes just
being in the wrong church makes us feel uncomfortable.
I’m sure a lot of Christians have felt these frustrations, as have
people looking in from the outside — maybe thinking about joining a
church or just observing things like the fact that folks with the fish
symbol are as bad about cutting them off in traffic as anyone else or
wondering why it is that those Jesus freaks use such weird expressions.
He does talk about the catch words used by Christians. I loved that
because there are some expressions that really bug me, which I won’t
even repeat in church when everyone else is using them.
I really loved the fact that this book was so reassuring. I didn’t
agree with absolutely everything the author had to say, but a good
portion of it rang true to me and I often thought, “Yes! Exactly!”
My favorite part is the bit during which the author talks about
answers and one of the questions he says we can actually answer is,
“Speaking of the flood, how could all those animals fit in Noah’s ark?”
He says it’s actually pretty easy to answer this one and goes into the
math. The closing sentence: “So all the animals and supplies could
feasibly (and easily) fit in the ark. Now, the smell is another subject
I love this author’s sense of humor. He has a relaxed writing style
and rambles a bit, but still does an excellent job of hitting a lot of
salient complaints about Christianity. He has done a lot of thinking
and talking, pondering and questioning and the book is filled with his
thoughts. Highly recommended, whether you’re a Christian or just
someone who is curious about what could possibly irritate a Christian
about his own religion.”
-Reviewed by N. Horner
Here is a recent review of my book as it appeared in the Sacramento Book Review:
“First, let’s get something straight: Author Jason Berggren is
neither atheist nor agnostic; rather, he’s a pretty middle-of-the-road
Christian fellow who has written a somewhat humorous, quite
introspective and not the least bit ranting dissertation on the things
which bug him about Christianity. This not a tirade against
Christianity from the point of view of a person in another religion,
but more like the private observations of the frailties of the religion
and its flock from the perspective of an insider.
Once I grabbed the overall concept of the book as such, it was a
pleasant surprise to see such candor from someone of the born-again
Christian faith in print. For the author’s first book, he’s done a fine
job and I recommend it. When I got to chapter 10 the book reached its
crescendo. The most fallible thing about any institution is of course
its people, and sometimes the behavior of our peers can be downright
embarrassing. It was refreshing to hear from an insider how difficult
things can be for a moderate Christian and to be reminded that there
are good and great people struggling with the challenges of all their
-Reviewed by John Cloutman