A Review of
A Mother and Daughter’s Journey
from The American Dream
to The Kingdom of God
By Lisa Samson & Ty Samson.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]
Reviewed by Jeni Newswanger-Smith
A couple of years ago Lisa Samson and her daughter Ty took a trip to Swaziland. Their lives had already changed greatly and they wanted to see firsthand what was happening in this devastated part of the world. What they found was much struggle, illness, neglect and hunger. They also found love, joy, devotion and stories of the lost being found. In other words, they discovered the world. Lisa and Ty have write about their experiences on this trip in the new book Love Mercy.
The book is delightful to read. Lisa writes to her audience as if they are sitting down with her for a good cup of tea. In the first half of the book, she chronicles her family’s journey from suburban individualism to inner-city community. This journey was a difficult and challenging one, but Lisa writes about it with humor.
The second half of the book is co-authored with Ty. They take turns telling about a second great journey—one to visit the churches in Swaziland. They see children orphaned by AIDS, people dying from AIDS, children raising children—and people turning a blind eye. They witnessed the last vestiges of apartheid that had seeped over the borders, which is heart-breaking and eye-opening for both women.
One of the remarkable parts of this book is that neither Lisa or Ty offer solutions to the problems in the world. They acknowledge these problem,s tell us about their trip to learn more and ask all of us to join in the brainstorming for solutions and change.
Lisa uses the words “social justice” quite often in the book and while I know what she means, those words have become so weighted and misconstrued by some Christians, and may be off-putting for some potential readers. Lisa defines intentional community as “caring for each other to care for the other,” and this is the core of Christian social justice, as the Samsons’ book title expresses: “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
For people just beginning to explore what social justice means, this book is a great place to start. For people a little further on the journey, this book provides good reminder of why one started in the first place.
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com