Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (October 8, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #186,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #117 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Churches & Church Leadership > Church Growth #1273 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Christian Living > Personal Growth #41113 in Books > Religion & Spirituality
Dave Tomlinson has a very viable parish in London with young professionals and families. While this is an established ministry, Dave is equally (more?) comfortable with those on the margins of the established church. He states: "...I feel more at home in a pub with honest 'pagans' than I do in many churches." This book relates how one in the church can also have doubts, not have all of the answers, invite questions, and a distain for church as 'exclusive ' club. This is an honest critique of the state of Christianity today, one that focuses on Jesus of Nazareth more as a role model than on his divinity. Dave also is very clear about his theology that views God as "love", not the king, the judge, the ruler and the "firer of thunderbolts". This is a theology that is available to all, without question or having to earn it.This book is a refreshing perspective on Christianity as it struggles for relevance, especially with young people who are actually quite spiritual but not connected to any particular community. Perhaps this disarming book, and the vignettes about Dave's ministry on the margins, will be seen as opportunity to take a look at what church can be as opposed to what it has been for centuries.
Believers and nonbelievers, churchgoers and non-churchgoers alike will find a lot to love in Tomlinson's unorthodox take on Christianity. From his denial of the traditional picture of God as a "cosmic party pooper" to the stories of real life "bad Christians", Tomlinson shows us Christianity that is overflowing with grace and mercy. The chapter titles tell the story: "God Without the Guff, How to Keep Faith and Ditch Religion", "Bumping Into God, How to Find God Without Going Near a Church", "Laughing With God, How to Get to Heaven By Having a Good Time", "God Is Not a Christian, How to Appreciate Other Religions Without Losing Your Own", "Never Mind Heaven, What About Now?" et al. "How To Be a Bad Christian" is straight-forward and easy to read, but at the same time is absolutely bursting with profound truths.
I grew up in a deeply religious family. When I got older, I left the church because of all of the hypocrisy; but I didn't necessarily leave my faith. This book has helped me soo much because it has clearly explained that the church/organized religion and faith is two different things. One can be a true/"bad" Christian without all of the hypocrisy. I recommend this book for all Christian young people to read who struggle with their faith.
The title drew me in, the information captured my attention, and the message kept me reading. While it took a while for the book to come from the UK, since it is not yet available in the US, it was worth the wait. It doesn't matter what religion you practice, or don't practice, this book will relate to humanity across the globe. You can't help but be a changed person after reading this book, at the very least you will have a clearer understanding of that it takes to be a better human being.
Dave Tomlinsons views are like a fresh and balmy breeze on a dank and dreary day. His message is a simple one. He bids us look to the life of Christ for inspiration and reminds us, that the bible was written by men no less fallible or subject to prevailing beliefs than we are, that being a christian is really about loving our fellow humans, recognising God in all his creations and appreciating others as much for their differences as their similarities to us.
An encouraging book that talks candidly, humbly and directly about many topics that are not discussed in the church. Dave is a thinking Christian. One who would likely be thought to be controversial from those who practice fundamental Christianity.I would highly recommend watching his youtube plugs about the book prior to reading it. There are 5 of them. Here's one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DGCLxNmhfQFor me, his thoughts were a breath of fresh air and encouraged me to pursue and live out my faith more passionately while thinking hard about what scripture means and who God is. Would recommend to anyone, but especially for those who have had problems with Christianity or the church.
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