November 28, 2013


I'm sure we've all come across those poorly-plotted books which tell rather than show. They contain unrealistic characters who never have problems and always have something to say about others' sins. Though I can't remember any titles that I've read, I certainly remember one dreadful record a friend bought for me.

This woman figured that I should listen to uplifting songs, not that "satanic" rock music on the local radio station. After church one Sunday, she handed me a plastic bag with an LP inside it. "I bought you this album for young people," she announced. "This music is so much nicer than that horrid rock music you listen to."

My suspicions were confirmed regarding this "music for young people" album. It contained preachy skits which sounded mawkish and tacky. The songs also sounded contrived as if the composer had no idea of what a young adult would appreciate. To be fair to my church friend, I managed to listen to the entire record but it was quite an ordeal.

When the woman asked how I liked that album after the next Sunday Service, I told her as politely as I could that I didn't enjoy it. She gave the LP to her nephew when I returned it to her.

On the other hand, a good example of a well-written book is In Search of Truth by T. L. Wiens. It's a fictional account of an abused girl who ends up on the street. Bad church experiences turned her away from Christianity but the example of caring believers eventually lured her to the point where she made Christ her Lord. Then things really got interesting.

The story is a perfect example of showing rather than telling. Even better, this is the sort of book one could give to unsaved friends since it doesn't wag the finger in the reader's face. Though it does show some believers involved in sin, it also contrasts the Pharisee-like behaviour of legalists with the loving example of committed evangelicals.

I also strove to show rather than to tell what happened to me when I joined a toxic house church. Rather than bash that cult leader and his sheep dog-like elders in my memoir, I let them "incriminate" themselves through their speech and actions. How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual bookworm Publishers.

Bruce Atchison is a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of How I Was Razed, Deliverance from Jericho, and When a Man Loves a Rabbit. He lives in a small Alberta hamlet with his house rabbit, Deborah.


  1. I truly appreciate the authenticity in your writing Bruce.
    Thank you

  2. Thanks for sharing your story, and yes, for your authenticity. I think I would really enjoy your book, How I Was Razed, as I have family members who were also raised in an unhealthy legalistic environment.

  3. I appreciated your personal anecdote and pray tonever be that kind of Christian


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