I have a sign above my desk. It says:
- Read Broadly
- Think Critically
- Express Creatively
This book by Amy Peterson encouraged me to do all these things. As Amy examines a number of traditional Christian virtues, such as kindness, hospitality, modesty and purity, she weaves in the story of her evangelical background and the ways in which her understanding of their meaning has changed over the years. I love to hear the faith stories of others, so I was immediately drawn into the narrative. Her honesty and authenticity shine through as she describes personal experiences.
I did not agree with many of Amy’s theological and political opinions. In some cases, I think she oversimplifies issues (immigration) and in others manipulates reality to fit her agenda (seeing many things from a feminist viewpoint). On the other hand she raises hard questions such as:
- How do we, as a nation, welcome the stranger?
- How do we properly steward God’s creation?
- How do we practice kindness in a way that recognizes the image of God in every person, even those with whom we disagree?
- How do we evangelize people who are unwilling to accept the logic of our belief system?
She questions some cultural assumptions about what particular virtues mean, and makes many valid points. I admired her willingness to wrestle with God’s Word and allow it to change her. She is also fairly respectful of those with whom she disagrees and seems to truly desire and encourage dialogue about difficult topics.
This book is well written, and if you are open to listening to differing ideas (as I am), you will probably enjoy it. That comes under the heading of “read broadly.” We need to accept and understand that we’re not all alike. We’ve each had different experiences and are at different places in our pilgrim journey. It’s okay to be a Christian without agreeing about everything or supporting the same political candidates. Some things made me dig deeper into my beliefs, ask others what they know about issues and do some research (think critically) and that’s a good thing.
Now I hope this review has been a way to “express creatively” a little of what I learned!
VERDICT: 5 STARS for writing, 3 STARS for accuracy
For more posts about Christian virtues see:
The Habit of Honesty
In Search of the Common Good: Christian Fidelity In A Fractured World by Jake Meador–Book Review
A Quote About Love