Monday, June 04, 2012

BookPastor >> "Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites"

Beginning June 2012, I will be retiring "A Bookworm Pastor Recommends___" blog. All book recommendations for the week will be consolidated onto this blog. These posts will be labeled "bookpastor." So remember. Every Monday, one book will be recommended for the reading public.

This book review below was first published at here.

TITLE: Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You've Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media

AUTHOR:Bradley R. E. Wright
PUBLISHER: Bethany House Publishers, 2010, (249 pages).

There are three kinds of negative commentators on the Christian scene; the destructive, the constructive, and the misguided. The first kind is the destructive die-hard Church basher. For such people, any reason is good reason enough instill sarcasm on anything Christian. The second kind tries to see some good out of bad news. Such a person will try to see some positive learning from a gloomy report. The third kind is the person making erroneous conclusions based on half-baked information. This book speaks specifically for this third group of people. The title of the book captures the sarcasm well: "Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites." Using a double negative, the statement describes Christians not only as 'hate-filled' but 'hypocrites' as well. Like in Maths, the product of a double negative makes a positive. The second part of the title spells out the thesis of the book even clearer: " . . . and other lies you've been told." Bradley Wright gives the Christian public some optimism amid the overwhelmingly negative perceptions in the public square. He unmasks some of the supposedly innocent statistics to reveal that they are often not true. More often than not, the problem lies not in the reading out from the statistics, but a reading INTO the statistics the commonly held perceptions. Wright describes 4 dangers in any forms of negative data. 1) Christians create unnecessary problems when they over-emphasize negative statistics. It demoralizes the Church in an unhelpful manner. 2) Bad news about the Church diminishes passions in evangelism. 3) Bad news distracts, but erroneous bad news distracts even more 4) Using fear as a motivational tool is unhelpful in the long run. The author's conviction is that many of the negative statistics are downright inaccurate, and lacks proper understanding of the contexts and history. He then hones into 7 big myths (lies) and attempts to make some sense of the reasons for the erroneous interpretations. Finally, based on his 'corrections' of the data sets, he gives a report card to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the church. Unfortunately, this final chapter does not appear to be statistically based, which makes me suspect that it is simply a summation of the author's convictions. In other words, the report card tends to be a subjective one. That said, the best part of the book is the 5-point Caveat Lector. Christians need to question the accuracy of any statistic, question the motives of the reporters, be ready to disagree with their conclusions, judge any experience not on some distant event but on local experience, and finally to use fairness as a judge, and not any biased ideas. Statistics are not what they seem. This book shows us why. conrade

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