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Everyone's been at that dinner party. The conversation takes a political turn. The arguments start, the atmosphere grows tense, and all that remains is a hopeless stalemate and an awkward silence. Makes you wonder . . . is thoughtful and productive dialogue about politics even possible?
In Honoring God in the Red or Blue, Dr. Amy Black addresses the debaters as well as those intimidated or annoyed by the debaters; political junkies and the contented uninvolved. She explains the purposes and limitations of our system and helps readers create realistic expectations for government. While God's truth is perfect, human application of it is not, a reality that shouldn't deter us from engaging in debate and staying informed. Rather, it should challenge us to raise our standards for how we speak about the issues-and those in office. It's time to approach political divides with an extra measure of grace. Success begins with seeking God's honor first and foremost, regardless of where we fall on the political spectrum. Don't limit yourself to chatting about the weather.
I chose this book partly out of curiosity and partly out of an ornery desire to read a book I didn't like, just so I could write a bad review when it started telling me how to vote to be a good Christian. No, I don't normally pick out books so I can give them a bad review - that would be really nasty! I was just in a controversial mood because of some stuff in my personal life (one word: evolution), and wanted to take someone to task for their "holier than thou," "God is on my side" attitude.
Unfortunately for me, this really isn't a book I can write that review for. To be fair, though, I don't really feel the need to write that review anymore either, so that works out well. I actually really loved the attitude Black takes in the book: she reminds the reader again and again that compromise is key, that nobody knows for a fact what God's stance is on each and every political issue, and that demonizing opposing opinions is the opposite of showing 1 Corinthians love for our fellow man.
Okay, so I love Black's stance on the whole political tangle. What I didn't love so much was all the detailed explanations. The whole middle of the book focuses on explaining the government system, the political parties, some of the main views of what Christian participation in politics should look like, and more. The explanations are very informative, but they make the whole book drag for someone who already knows some of the material, and doesn't care about the rest.
However, I wouldn't write the book off for its slow middle because I'm sure lots of people would find it very helpful. If you're looking for something that will give you the tools necessary to form your own opinions, then this is the book for you. It lists out websites and resources you can use to verify facts and wade through propoganda, and I'll definitely be using some of them during the next presidential election. There's nothing I hate more than being told to think a certain way just because someone else did the thinking for me, so I love how Honoring God provides tools to help me understand what's going on and form my own opinion, instead of just accepting everything at face value.
All in all, this is a great book for someone who wants to approach politics with an open mind and a willing heart. I seriously doubt that anyone, no matter what their political views, could take offense at anything Black says. It's a great book because everyone can get something from it, and come away with a better attitude toward people with opposing views. It's a great starting place for cultivating critical thinking and in politics, and one that I will most likely turn to as a resource when it's time for me to vote.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.