At first glance, Jason T. Berggren bears little resemblance to the vision most people have of a “Christian writer.” He is, at once, the deep thinker wrestling with theological truths and the plain-spoken regular guy with an aversion to “church speak,” the embodiment of both the tattooed rebel and the father trying in vain to limit his children’s junk food intake.
Berggren’s first words penned to explore his Christian faith were “sung” (read: screamed) at the concerts of a series of hard-core Christian bands that he formed or fronted as a teenager. Berggren grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, the son of parents who divorced when he was just an infant. His mother, a militant feminist with a PhD, was never around. His father, a native of Sweden with a mostly socialist worldview, remarried a woman who told Berggren she didn’t love him. They had another child, whom they favored. From an early age, Berggren knew he was the outsider.
“At age fifteen, when I heard that I had value and was created with a purpose in mind, I was immediately drawn in,” Berggren recalls. “Faith is a decision. For the skeptic looking on, such a decision is a sign of weakness. But for most who make it, it brings hope into a void that seems to surround and permeate the heart. That’s what faith brought me.”
Shortly after his conversion, Berggren formed his first band (“It was horrible,” he recalls). By age twenty, his third band, Strongarm, signed with Tooth & Nail Records. Berggren served as both the lyricist and the lead singer. Strongarm is widely considered to be one of the most influential Christian hardcore bands and still enjoys a devoted following. During Berggren’s time with the band, Strongarm recorded an album, shot a video, went on several small tours, and also recorded a single for a second album. Though Berggren decided to leave the band, the other members continued to tour for a couple of years.
After leaving the band, Berggren earned an AA in Mass Communications and a BA in Theology. In 2000, he helped to start the Calvary Fellowship church in Miami, FL, fulfilling the role of associate pastor overseeing several areas of service. In 2005, he decided to explore a different ministry calling, returning to his childhood ambition of being a writer. His new book, 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT CHRISTIANITY: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith, conveys his conviction that “positive momentum begins with negative tension.” Berggren felt compelled to write the book after realizing that all of his spiritual difficulties and challenges originated from the same ten issues. As he addresses these issues with absolute honesty, Berggren connects with both the church insiders and the outsiders who may be wondering what they can really expect from faith in Christ.
While his fledgling writing career begins to take flight, Berggren also runs a handyman business to provide for his family. He and his wife have been married since 1999. The couple has three boys and attends North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA, where they lead a small group.
Jason T. Berggren