A Letter to My Anxious Christian Friends: From Fear to Faith in Unsettled Times
Paperback: WJK Books, 2016
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Reviewed by Bailey Shannon
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have taken over the internet, TV channels, magazines, and every news source in the United States. Anyone who is not living under a rock has seen, heard, and participated in this painful presidential election. There are many valid reasons for American Christians to be upset, anxious, and confused as it relates to the future of their country and the people living in it. One of the most important actions a Christian citizen of the United States can do is vote. When we vote it should not be because of an unhealthy commitment to a political party or a blind following of some political figure. Our vote must be well-rounded, educated, and influenced by our commitment to Jesus.
A Letter to My Anxious Christian Friends: From Fear to Faith in Unsettled Times, by David Gushee, is a short, informative book lightly touching on some of the most critical issues in United States politics. His goal is to address the topics that are traditionally taboo and controversial in hopes he can help calm the nerves of the anxious Christians in this country. While effectively simplifying the most complex political topics of this century is an extremely difficult task, Gushee does a tremendous job presenting them in a way that is understandable. This book translates topics like climate change, healthcare, and capital punishment, into a language that the average Christian citizen of the United States can read.
To ensure the book is well-rounded and informational, Gushee mostly writes using a neutral tone, omitting his personal opinion. He does insert his opinion a few times throughout the book, on issues like guns and climate change, and he makes it very clear that he is stating his personal point of view. The book is made up of twenty chapters, or “letters”, that can be read out of order — each chapter contains a different topic and is structured in the following way: necessary background information or history, current debates and viewpoints, and an understanding of how Jesus, and therefore a Christian, views and responds to each issue.
In the beginning of the book Gushee says, “We need to accept that the public culture of our more diverse and secular country is unlikely ever to return to cultural Christianity as we once knew it, and as so many yearn for it to be again” (16). Throughout the book he remains culturally relevant and aware, taking into consideration the many factors that play into the political culture and worldviews of this day and age.
A Letter to my Anxious Christian Friends is a helpful resource in learning more about the most imperative political issues. As a Christian citizen of the U.S., Gushee starts twenty different conversations with this book, each left unresolved and open for the reader to respond. In my opinion, it is a brilliant way to write a book on such heavy and complicated issues. We need to be prepared to act faithfully as Christians, and Gushee’s book can aid us in doing this well.