10 Things I Hate About Christianity by Jason T. Berggren
XMedia - Nonfiction/Spirituality
Prayer . . . turns my heart toward God. It helps me focus less on myself. And it puts me in a place to be touched, guided and comforted.
God isn't out of the office or out of touch. He's there waiting. Sometimes we need to just be "on hold" for a while.
The Bible's old. Sometimes old stuff makes my eyes roll. Like when the old-timer starts to reminisce and offer wisdom: "Back in my day . . . " And he proceeds to tell us young whippersnappers how they had to walk five miles to and from school--uphill both ways and wearing no shoes. Somehow things were simpler and harder all at the same time back then.
Let's be honest. Something in all of us wants to respond, "Yeah, right, give me a break, Grandpa! I love you, but I'm too cool and with-it to believe that stuff."
More accurately, it's loving I hate. I hate having to always be loving. I hate having to be loving toward people I'd much rather ignore. I hate to love like Jesus taught, modeled and prayed that we would all imitate. To truly love, I always have to be "on". I hate having to work at loving. I hate the process and practice of what Jesus laid out. I'd much rather love who I want, when I want.
I'd much rather go with the feeling called love. If I feel it, I'll do it. If I don't, I won't. That's easier. But that's emotion, not love.
If there's one thing the life of Jesus taught us, it's that love is a choice. It seems like it shouldn't be so much work, but it is. A lot of time time, we just have to muscle through it.
Love is unnatural that way.
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. If you haven't read the sneak peek post, below, I highly recommend doing so if this book piques your interest, just to get an idea of Berggren's style.
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 altogether."
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.