Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Religion and politics are two hot-button topics in any circle. Combine a book on the two, and you are bound to raise some eyebrows and perhaps spark outrage. Alisa Harris has boldly taken on these spheres of thought in "Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith From Politics," and the result is a thoughtful, honest presentation.
The book follows Harris' own story and personal journey. Raised in a conservative, Christian, Republican household which embraced activism, Harris grew up believing certain dogmas about how politics should line up with faith. She gives us a humorous look at some of her childhood experiences trying to bring about moral reform and justice through fighting political issues and campaigning for candidates. As she grew and went away to college, her certainty about how a Christian should believe politically was challenged, forcing her to examine those long-held dogmas and see if they did indeed hold up when scrutinized through scripture. Harris found that her political zeal had become stronger than her faith, and that truly following Jesus did not look a prescribed way, certainly not the way any political party's candidates could bring about. She emerges, perhaps a little disillusioned by the whole political scene, but more open-minded and compassionate in her approach to people. She realizes that faith in Jesus compels her to make moral choices that cannot be pigeonholed into political sides on issues.
The book was a quick read, witty and fun at times. Harris writes in a fresh, honest style, and is not afraid to laugh at herself or show her own faults. I am not active in political pursuits myself so this was a glimpse into a foreign world in a sense to me. The story was told well so I could understand her world even though I could not personally identify with it. I found the book raised more questions than gave answers, which is likely the point. At the end, Harris seemed more sure of what she did NOT believe than what she does. It seemed she was still searching, and that even the new questions and candidates she explored did not answer the longing in her heart. The chapter that talked about Barack Obama was the least effective in my opinion, and dates the book in time, which is unfortunate. The rest of the book could be timeless and applicable for generations. 3 out of 5 stars.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for purposes of review, and am not required to give a favorable opinion.