I sometimes wish I had a dollar, even a quarter, for every person who has told me how they have been wounded by a Christian or church (and so have become spiritual whiners or quitters). It would be a jackpot, like winning the lottery, and I could have retired a long time ago. I’m not saying these people do not have a gripe (we all have gripes), but just how responsible are Christians for influencing the bad opinions people have about us? Dave Burchett gives us his thoughts in “When Bad Christians Happen to Good People.” In the book, he contends that throughout history — and even today in the media — Christians have, of course, done much good but, sadly, have also done considerable damage to others.

In “Bad Christians” Burchett talks about those “Christians” we have all encountered — those who betray friends, those preachers who injure those they are called to serve, Christian men who carelessly abuse women, the business that proudly brandishes a Christian symbol but takes advantage of its clients, churches that reject young women because of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy or ostracized from their fellowship those who do not share their skin color, or churches that cause spiritual seekers to feel uncomfortable because of their habits, appearance or sexual orientation. The list goes on and on, made up of both believers and nonbelievers disillusioned by the modern church. And they number in the thousands, wondering why God puts up with our careless lives. Christian, they have learned, is a great noun but a poor adjective.

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