As I’ve written in an earlier post, God has infused me with a drive to learn. Right now, I’m on a reading kick of women’s memoirs. And not just any stories, but those about personal growth/change.
This series included Alisa Harris’ Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith from Politics.
With a double major in International Relations and Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy, then a Masters of Divinity, I’m drawn to the interaction of religion and politics. So a woman’s story about how she dealt with these two aspects in her life quickly jumped into my hands.
I’m thankful Alisa had the courage to write this. Not everyone will agree with her journey to this point, but it is her journey.
God, the ultimate observant parent, approaches us as unique beings, knowing what works with us and what won’t. What I consider ultimately important is that when God approaches us, we do not run away, but rather, open our lives to our Creator. We are likely to disagree on at least one detail, but I believe that Christians can come together on that one (I hope!).
As she stated, “[w]riting is not just how I communicate my thoughts but how I actually think. It’s the way an experience or a fleeting thought becomes real to me instead of floating away. It’s the way I catch my thoughts and turn them over and over, testing their weight and deciding whether to keep them or throw them away. For me, to write is to become, and I can’t become that older, wiser person without skewering these youthful thoughts to paper, without holding them up for my scrutiny and yours.” (pg 7)
In that I found a kindred spirit. In her story I found a world much different than my own.
For Alisa, in her “ironclad worldview, faith and politics were inseparable.” Mine was almost exactly the opposite.
The separation of church and state was held high in my mind. Yet in that, also came a separation of church and life.
In college, I balked at what seemed to me as a full avoidance of anything spiritual in the discussion of politics. As if religion in all sorts had no, or at best extremely limited, influence on the development of democratic thought and politics.
This division led to an understanding in myself that I could not live without my faith, and my faith was intrinsic to my politics.
Alisa came from the right, I came from the left, and we meet somewhere in the middle.
I’m very thankful that Alisa had the courage to write this book. I love her style, but I love her honesty the most. Her inner theologian comes out on every page, as well as her understanding of God’s deep love and justice.
If you are a liberal/progressive Christian, read this to get a better understanding of conservative Christians.
If you are a conservative Christian, read this to get a better idea of why a portion of younger adults are moving away from the church.
If you are not a Christian, read this to get an idea of the diversity within American Christianity.
And if you love memoirs, this is a great read.
Lord, give us the courage to seek You on the unique paths You have laid out for each of us. Give us the courage to speak Your Love to a messed-up world. Give us courage to be together in community. Amen.