“Activist Faith” – a Book Review

 

“Being an everyday activist doesn’t mean you need to quit your job, sell all your possessions, and move to a Third World country to feed starving children. In fact, one might even argue that staying in your job while finding ways to impact the world around you might even give you greater opportunities to discuss your faith with coworkers.

Being an everyday activist simply means that you are taking advantage of the opportunities right in front of you and embracing what God is calling to you do—and doing it with the full devotion you’d give if you were serving Jesus Himself. Because in truth, you are!”– pg. 11

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you know there is more you could be doing, maybe even more you should be doing, about a whole lotta things that are wrong with this crazy world of ours. But the truth is, there is so much wrong out there, that somehow it feels easier to keep doing the usual, to take care of me and mine, than to actually come out from under the covers and begin. I often feel overwhelmed by blog posts, Facebook comments, editorials in print and online newsmagazines, all urging me to do something, to change my lifestyle, to change my world view, to morph into a different person than I am and become a crusader for any of a long list of causes.

And that overwhelm? It pretty much leads to paralysis – at least for me. And also to some finger-pointing guilt, with all fingers pointing to moi. If any of this feels familiar to you, I encourage you to read a book that is releasing TODAY, a book written by three men, one of whom I know personally, a book that looks at twelve of those hot-button issues and offers some practical, how-to suggestions about how each one of us can make a difference for good. The book (and accompanying website) is called “Activist Faith: From Him and For Him,” and it’s co-authored by Dillon Burroughs, Daniel Darling and Dan King.

And the twelve topics highlighted include: human trafficking, immigration reform, poverty, environmental care, disaster relief, homelessness, abortion, war/terrorism, the persecuted church, parenthood, marriage and sexuality, prison ministries and orphan care.

I will add one caution here at the top – this book is written from a conservative point of view, conservative theologically and conservative politically. The selection of topics tells you that, perhaps most directly in the chapters on abortion and marriage. It also shows in the decision NOT to look at other issues which are important for Christians to be concerned about, gun control being the most glaring omission to me. In some places, I wish the authors were a little less up front about their conservatism because I know that quoting certain authors and choosing some topics over others might cause some of us to purse our lips and shut the cover.

I urge you, however, not to do that. Because if you do, you will miss some important things. First of all, you might discover – as I did – that you are already doing some things very right indeed. I was encouraged to find myself nodding here and there, nodding in agreement and in recognition. “I do some of this,” I thought. (Not all of it and not nearly enough of it, but . . . some of it.) And that small slice of encouragement was what it took for me to read through to the end.

And more importantly, you would miss the rich variety of resources and personal testimony that this book contains. Each chapter is designed to be used in family or small group settings, with reflection questions, suggested lifestyle changes and/or ministry opportunities, and a list of recommendations for further reading on the topic at hand. I resonated most strongly with the chapters on immigration reform, disaster relief, and homelessness and I am sure I will return to these pages for information and suggestions in days to come.

This book is thoughtful, practical and a veritable treasure chest of information for anyone who is seeking to follow Jesus into the real world, where real people with real problems live and suffer. None of us can do everything that needs to be done. But all of us can do something. And this book is a helpful guide to discovering what your something might be.

Here is a link to the book at Amazon – order your copy today!

 

I was honored to receive a galley copy of this book from my friend, Dan King. The review above contains my own honest responses and observations.

 

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Comments

  1. Your honesty makes me more inclined to read it, not less inclined. Honesty lends integrity to a review. I applaud your point about pushing on in reading a book, even if it lies to one side or the other of our own view. We don’t all have to sing the same note. Like you, I find it encouraging to discover I am already getting some things right and am more open to looking ahead to what other steps I can take.

    Enjoyed this, Diana!

    • Thanks so much, Marilyn. This was a tough one for me to do in some ways, because I SO applaud their motives and their hearts and am really grateful for this push toward a more activist faith coming from the right end of our spectrum. But it also frustrated me because there were no women contributing their voices to the mix and there were a couple of justice issues that never got a mention that might have shown up if one of the three had been female.

  2. I’ll get it, thanks! It’s a timely recommendation, especially in light of Sunday’s sermon (which I got to preach and which God really worked on me through) which left me thinking of something like this book for an application or furthering the word working in my heart.

    I, too, appreciated your honesty in the review.

    • Congrats on the preaching opp – that’s great. And this is a book with good resources. I think their website will also be very helpful and encouraging when folks are looking for ideas about where and how to serve.

  3. Love your honest review, Diana, and I have to say that as a strongly social, political and theological conservative that Activist Faith still ruffled a few of my feathers….but they needed ruffling. I think there is a tendency to knee-jerk reactions on some issues (from liberals and conservatives alike) that I needed to examine in greater depth in the light of scripture, and that is one of the things Activist Faith has inspired and encouraged me to do. I, too, was happy to realize that I’m already doing many things right, but I also appreciated the inspiration to not become complacent in right-doing, but to prayerfully consider, “what next?”

  4. I so get the helpless ‘it’s all so big and I’m so small’ thing. I often feel that guilt you talk about – sounds like maybe this is a book I could use.

    • Is this NZ Donna? If so, you’ll have to do some legwork on your own to discover specific organizations in your country. But the general principles are really helpful and I think you would enjoy reading this book.

  5. Fresh ideas for service sounds intriguing! I’ll have to put this book on the list. With others who’ve commented, I add my appreciation for an honest review.

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