While the future of America may appear gloomy, the authors believe, "God is not finished with us as a country. Decline is not inevitable." (xix)
The authors call for believers to pray for a historic outpouring of God's Spirit on His Church. Without prayer, there is no hope. But Christian must do more. To see our culture restored, "We must understand the sources of the ideas that ail us as well as their alternatives." (3) We must think clearly, argue persuasively, apply our convictions in our personal lives, build alliances, and act strategically to influence the people and institutions that shape our culture. They are quick to point out that public witness is linked to personal holiness. "We talk about transforming culture; we should spend more energy on transforming Christians." (13) They quote Catherine of Siena, "If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire." (14)
To help Christians think well on policy issues, they review several concepts: law, religious liberty, the authority of the church, the Constitution, war/pacifism, public debt, growth and reach of government, abortion, the importance and meaning of marriage, family (and raising children), education, influencing culture, caring for the poor (and foreign aid), private property, free market (and a lesson in economics), globalization, international trade, immigration (they have a plan), (in)equality, being fruitful (creating wealth), environmental stewardship, and resources.
They provide a great deal of background information on the topics. They write, "...if we can think clearly, we can increase our odds of making the best choices available." (308)
Their conclusion: "Of course, the most profound cultural change will come from outward expressions of inward change - a moral and spiritual renewal of our hearts and minds, our churches, communities, and cultural institutions. Besides principles and policies, we need people and prayer." (321)
The material presented in this book is well documented. There are some 40 pages of footnotes. The authors are conservative. Liberal Christians may not like this book. For example, "our environmental problems are not getting worse." (289) And, "Minimum wage laws eliminate those opportunities [of low-paying, entry-level jobs], and thus favor the politically powerful and fortunate who retain jobs over the vulnerable workers who least can afford it." (253)
Whether conservative or liberal, there is a great deal of information in this book that is food for thought and action. Reading it will help us be more informed in policy debates. It should also inspire us to prayer and action.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from FaithWords for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed are my own.
I scream at the top of my lungs when I read a book about politics that is not practical. This book is practical. It frustrates me when I read a book about politics that is inspiring but doesn't give any "red meat" on how ordinary people can win the debate. This book, INDIVISIBLE, has TONS of red meat.
There are many things I love about this book.
First of all, I love that a minister highly respected in the evangelical community such as James Robison teamed up with a Catholic scholar because he was the best person to co-write the book with. Period! That, my friends, is John 17 lived out.
Secondly, I love that James and Jay deal with the national debt, the problem with entitlements, and our national fiscal crisis in a way that Christians can understand the debate and also gives them ways to communicate the issues and take action.
Thirdly, I love that the authors not only take on the fiscal issues, but they show why the moral and cultural debates in this country on life, marriage, and God is the public square cannot be ignored because they are the underlying fabric that is unraveling around us. As individual lives and families fall apart, our country one life at a time needs healing. We have to reverse the trends.
Though our national problems seem to be so big and overwhelming at times, we can reverse these problems one life at a time and one issue at a time; but we have to get engaged in the issues with our families, our friends, our churches, and our communities. We have to remember that it is an inside outside work that only God can do, but he uses individual God empowered people to make a difference.
We can make a difference in America as individuals and James and Jay give us all a great resource to lean on in INDIVISIBLE.