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Book Review: Ten Things I Hate about Christianity Discussion Guide by Jason T. Berggren

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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.

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