Good God, Lousy World, and Me
The Improbable Journey of a Human Rights Activist from Unbelief to Faith
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About the author
Holly Burkhalter is a leading international human rights advocate with a thirty-year career in Washington, DC. She worked in Congress and for several prominent human rights organizations before joining International Justice Mission as vice president for Government Relations and Advocacy.
Holly is a frequent witness before Congress and publishes regularly on international human rights policy. She and her husband, John Fitzpatrick, their two teenage daughters, and one large dog live in a small house on Capitol Hill. Good God, Lousy World, and Me is her third book.
“In this extraordinary memoir of grace, one of the foremost human rights advocates of the last half century shares her brutally and hilariously honest story of finding God on one of the most unlikely, irreverent, and utterly beautiful pilgrimages through life as it actually is.”
—Gary A. Haugen, president and CEO, International Justice Mission
“It used to be that my own religious philosophy was to work hard, charm everyone within spittin’ distance, and do a lot of crafts. So how did this hard-core leftist skeptic find peace and happiness among Bible-quoting, praying-out-loud, born-again evangelicals? I realized that my two choices—the existence of a loving God or the reality of evil—weren’t the only options. Option three is that God is good and the world is lousy. But wait. There’s more. God knows the world is lousy. Knows it, hates it, and wants us to do something about it...”
—Holly Burkhalter, Good God, Lousy World & Me
For over thirty years, Holly Burkhalter has worked as an international rights advocate for victims of genocide, rape, and injustice.
Throughout most of her career, the heartbreak she encountered around the world—and in her own life—had convinced her that there was no such thing as a loving God. How could there be? If God was there, he should be charged as a war criminal for tolerating atrocities against the young, the poor, and the vulnerable.
Then, Holly discovered a new truth: God was there—in the grief, in the violence, in the questions. And God was good.
It was the greatest, hardest, most radiant surprise of her life.
This is her story.
From the Hardcover edition.
The Crown Publishing Group
; October 2013
224 pages; ISBN 9781601425096Read online
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Title: Good God, Lousy World, and Me
Author: Holly Burkhalter
In the press
Praise for Good God, Lousy World, and Me
“Holly Burkhalter has been a voice of conscience in Washington for many, many years. She has written some of the most powerful and pointed op-eds the Post has published. She’s a gifted writer with a big heart and a unique, compassionate take on the human condition.”
—Fred Hiatt of The Washington Post
“Holly’s story, from a distance, is absolutely fascinating—one of the world’s top experts in human rights turns out to be a person of deep Christian commitments. But her story up close is even better: by turns laugh-out-loud funny, poignant, wrenching, and hopeful. I think this is a voice the wider world needs to hear.”
—Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling and executive editor of Christianity Today
“Good God, Lousy World, and Me is what happens when a passion for justice is joined to a seeking spirit. Holly Burkhalter’s work for a world that cherishes all people is undergirded by her faith in a God who does likewise. This is Christianity as we wish it could be.”
—Phillip Gulley, author of Living the Quaker Way
“Good God, Lousy World, and Me is a desperately needed, encouraging read, helping us see that we don’t need everything figured out before we act on behalf of the poor, marginalized, and oppressed. Instead Holly takes us on a journey where true strength shows up through our humanity, where our daily burdens and spiritual questioning make faith the miracle it truly is. With a blunt, challenging, funny, and intimate recount of personal experiences, Holly punches some of the taboos left in today’s society. For those of us who’ve questioned God after witnessing, hearing, or experiencing injustice or those who’ve quietly suffered with mental illness, Holly’s words rally the soul and challenge the myth that one must accept neat answers to life’s darkest moments before professing faith and declaring war on injustice.”
—Steve Martin, CEO of Love146
“Anything written by Holly Burkhalter is worth reading, and her book is no exception.”
—Jody Williams, winner of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize
“Holly’s story is a journey from unbelief to the unbelievably critical work of justice for the poor and marginalized in the name of God. It’s a powerful story from an unforgettable pilgrim.
—Joel Edwards, director of Micah Challenge International
“In this extraordinary memoir of grace, one of the foremost human rights advocates of the last half century shares her brutally and hilariously honest story of finding God on one of the most unlikely, irreverent, and utterly beautiful pilgrimages through life as it actually is. Hers will become an iconic story of spiritual reflection in our era—a chronicle of the deepest human yearning amidst shattering pain, everyday redemption, and the irrepressible love of her Maker.”
—Gary A. Haugen, president & CEO of International Justice Mission
“Face to face with atrocities that call into question both the existence of God and ‘is there any human left in humanity,’ Holly comes out swinging. Intermittently humble and fierce, she dares to plumb the depths of faith and slowly, tenderly finds God. Living between winsome and raw, which is not for the faint of heart, there are tungsten strands of emerging faith. This book will leave you exhausted and exhilarated, both of which are good for expanding the soul.”
—Nancy Ortberg, author of Looking for God