I've Been Healed From Chronic Fonzie Syndrome!
There are a lot of fun things about being a published author. For example, you are forever a published author even if you end up in a lonely bargain bin at some godforsaken outlet mall while some smiling preacher sells millons and millions of books for saying practically nothing but I’m not bitter. Whew. Didn’t see that coming.
One of the really bad things about being published is that your words are forever “out there”. When you write a book your words cannot be denied. That is unless you are Charles Barkley and you claim you were misquoted in your autobiography. But Charles…your autobiography is your own…sigh…never mind.
Something that seemed clever or wise eight years ago now seems like as bad an idea as the “Dumb and Dumber” tux I wore when I wed my beloved. I will point out that the smokin’ hot future Mrs.Burchett was somehow able to look past the tux and still say “I do”.
So my wedding picture will forever be linked to Jeff Bridges and I will always have some words in print that I wish I had safely back in my computer.
When I was a younger man I suffered from CFS…Chronic Fonzie Syndrome. Fans of the old Happy Days TV show will recognize the character of Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli. Fonzie was the coolest guy on the show. But he had one big problem. He could not bring himself to say he was wrong. The clips are still funny. Fonzie takes a deep breath and makes the attempt.
“I was wr…wro…wr…”(and finally he just makes a choking sound in total resignation)
I know that CFS can also be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I am not making light of that frustrating malady. But it can also really wear you out to never be able to be wrong. When I was wrong in the past it would cue up the old soundtracks (negative tapes are always instant cues) and I would feel stupid and less than enough. I knew they would soon discover that I was an imposter and a college drop-out and that I had a Barry Manilow cassette in my car. I would get defensive and hidden.
And then I was healed. Miraculously I no longer suffer the effects of Chronic Fonzie Syndrome. I fact I can say it in all caps.
I WAS WRONG!
My healing was very simple. I finally trusted that what God says about me in His Word is true. I am justified by faith. I am not condemned. I am a new creature in Christ. I have been changed already. All of the junk that makes me defensive and weird and hidden has been nailed to the Cross. It does not exist anymore. I am a saint in the eyes of the Father. I have the Holy Spirit to help me understand His Word and my deepest needs. So why was I afraid to admit that I am also still human? Because I knew everything in this paragraph but I didn’t yet believe and trust it. That is the difference.
So I got a chance to exercise my incredible healing when an irate e-mail arrived in the cyber mailbox.
Dave, I'm reading through your book right now, "When Bad Christians Happen to Good People". I bought it at Half Price Books for $1.00. I thought, 'Hey, a sweet deal and (hopefully) a sweet read'. While I can say that the first few chapters fulfilled a sense of enjoyment well worth the asking price, I soon found your political stumblings too much to chew. I'm okay with the fact that you're a republican, and I can appreciate the fact that you're not a perfect Christian. However, I am bothered by the fact that you can use a politically charged rant as a method to reveal wisdom about evangalism.
I wish you well in the future Dave. I contemplated whether or not I should visit your site and post a writier's criticism, because I have a feeling that you will simply write me off as one of those evil Christians your book deems as nonsense. Michael P.
I had no problem admitting to Michael that I agreed with him that using politics was a really bad idea. I had no problem agreeing that I am not a perfect Christian (other references available from Joni and sons). I had no problem in posting his views on the old website. And I had no problem sending a note to him to tell him I was wrong.
You might disagree with my chapter on evangelism (by the way, so do I) but did you really think I would write you off as an evil Christian? I actually wrote a blog expressing my dismay that I used politics to try and make a point.
It was a mistake and if I can get reprint rights that chapter will be gone. I wrote a blog expressing my regrets. Here is an excerpt...
I have been roundly criticised for supporting George Bush in my first book, When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. I regret the political references I made in that book. I wish I could remove them because I found out that political remarks polarize and deflect the message of the Cross. I tried to make it clear that Christians were making a mistake by trying to change our culture through politics instead of by changing hearts for Jesus. That book was written during 9/11 and after I had been personally convicted of my sin toward President Bill Clinton. I did not pray for Bill Clinton. I did not respect him as the authority my sovereign God allowed to be in power. I regret the impression that I gave to some readers that I believed the Republican party was the official party of Christianity. I do not believe that at all. And yes…I expect to see Democrats in heaven. And Libertarians. A few Republicans will be there too. But the common link will not be politcal ideology. The link that will bring us there will be Jesus.
The full article is at Crosswalk.com.
Mainly I am wounded that you haven't gotten a freakin’ dollars worth out of the rest of the book! (kidding). I would encourage you to read some more of my stuff before you cast me off. I am a different person than I was seven years ago.
So....am I off your Christmas card list?
Blessings and grace, Dave
Today I got a wonderful and graceful response from Michael. He appreciated the response and the honesty. He even promised to buy the second book at full retail! (Joni, we are going out for ice-cream tonight!!!) And he even hinted that a Christmas card might be in the works. But the cool thing is that this Christian thing really works when we are authentic and live in grace. We all make mistakes. You can be healed today of Chronic Fonzie Syndrome. Just say it. I was wrong. Or I am sorry. No explanatory words are needed like I was having a bad week or decade or life. Those three word phrases work just fine. There is healing power in grace and humility.
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.