Dave Tomlinson - How to be a Bad Christian - Hodder & Stoughton

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    • ISBN:9781444703832
    • Publication date:15 Aug 2013
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    • ISBN:9781444703849
    • Publication date:16 Aug 2012
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    • ISBN:9781473625297
    • Publication date:13 Aug 2015

How to be a Bad Christian

... And a better human being

By Dave Tomlinson

  • Hardback
  • £12.99

This is a book for people who want God without the guff - showing that it's possible to ditch religion, but keep the faith.

In the course of his work as a vicar, Dave Tomlinson meets lots of people who describe themselves as 'not good enough' to be a Christian, thinking that faith involves going to church a lot, or believing in a list of strange things, or following certain rules. But being a Christian isn't about any of that - and actually, following Jesus is a lot easier, and more fun, than most people think...

In this handbook to Christianity for people who describe themselves as spiritual but not necessarily religious, Dave sketches out some key practices for how to be a 'bad' Christian, including how to talk to God without worrying about prayer, how to read the Bible without turning off your brain, and how to think with your soul rather than trying to follow rules.

With beautiful illustrations from artist Rob Pepper, this is an accessible, light-hearted book, but one with a powerful invitation: to be the person you've always wanted to be, following a God you've always hoped is on your side.

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  • ISBN: 9781444703825
  • Publication date: 16 Aug 2012
  • Page count: 240
  • Imprint: Hodder & Stoughton
Here's my secret: sometimes, when I hear all kinds of outrageous things said and done in the name of Christianity, I think about turning in my membership. I don't want to be part of the elite club of the doctrinally correct and the spiritually superior. But then a book like this one comes along, and I say, "This is a way of being a Christian that makes sense to me. This is a way of life I can live with." I'm glad to be known as a bad Christian, thanks to Dave Tomlinson and this beautiful book. — Brian McLaren
Dave Tomlinson is superb priest who is driven by God's love in Christ, and who understands the spiritual instincts and needs of ordinary people. But he has to work within - or against - an institutional Church which too often either cannot communicate at all, or else communicates a false God with a repellent face. If the Christian faith is ever to capture the imagination of our culture, we have to learn the lessons of this book. — Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans
Dave is super-intelligent, funny, passionate, encouraging, generous, hard-working, self-giving, creative and a deeply faithful witness to the love of God - in short, a bad Christian. His book is a great gift to all who are searching for abundant life, in and out of church. — Sara Miles, author of Take This Bread and Jesus Freak
A vicar in the pub is worth two in a pulpit. Dave Tomlinson's HOW TO BE A BAD CHRISTIAN is as welcome as a glistening pint to a thirsty patron. Free from religious claptrap and moralistic badgering, here's a book that talks about God without boring your socks off. Tomlinson allows humanity and grace to escape the shackles of pious pedants, and flow into the world we all inhabit. Beautifully written, full of streetwise stories and wisdom, delightful and engaging - read it and discover how good it is to be among the bad. A rip-snorting manifesto for a way of living that makes a difference in the world. — Mike Riddell
Where is God? It's a question I often ask people. Does God live in Church? Does God live in Christianity? Does God live in the world and everything we know? In Dave Tomlinson's book How to be a bad Christian we wander through paths of discovery that God is wherever God wants to be. This is a gentle yet profound book that nudges people towards receptivity through stories and reflections. It invites us to imagine that the "spirit blows where the Spirit wills", and through its stories we are invited into a generous orthodoxy of faith where people discover their humanity - through discovering God, themselves, and an accepting love. Bad becomes good and good becomes reimagined. Please read it: it could change our communities, and the world. — Fuzz Kitto, international church consultant
'Dave Tomlinson has written a book that should be read by every person disaffected by their experience of evangelicalism and by every leader of the contemporary evangelical movement.' (for The Post-Evangelical) — Bishop Graham Cray
'This is a book without the need for profound theology, but a reminder that faith is stronger than theory and based on our busy lives' (for I Shall Not Want) — Christian Marketplace
Dave Tomlinson has had a residency on Vanessa Feltz's BBC Radio 2 show in the Pause For Thought section. — BBC Radio 2

'Dave wants to bridge the very real gap between church and ordinary people...

'Dave's "no frills" approach and identification with those who don't feel "good enough" to be a christian or go to church, is very attractive.'

'I think we can learn a lot from this book. I think we can probably do most of the things Dave suggests we should do, and get far more compassionately involved in the lives of people who need to know more of God's love. '

— The Way

Honest, intelligent, articulate, insightful and with an air of urbane wisdom this book really shines for me.


It highlights the fact that Christ came for sinners, that he ate with sinners, mixed with sinners and was an outsider of his time.

It's a book that opens Christianity to those outside it, on the fringes of it and just as importantly to those already inside it. A brilliant book and one perfect for any seeker or those looking to better understand their own faith from the inside out.

— Melanie Carroll, The Good Bookstall
The Church hierarchy has encouraged his spiritual journey- Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, calls Tomlinson a 'convincing and compassionate pastor'- and a media career beckons, with Vanessa Feltz giving him a residency spot on her Radio 2 show. — Adam Sherwin, The Independent
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