The author claims that "This book is not a liberal credo or a political platform" (p 10). In fact, it definitely is a liberal credo.
She invites the reader to share her view of the world - or, rather, of people who are religiously and/or politically conservative. She is an "ex-conservative," and no "ex" can discuss her former life objectively and rationally. So the book is full of contempt and sarcasm. She is angry at her conservative family for denying her a typical childhood. Now, having tossed aside her upbringing, she claims America's biggest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, is a wonderful organization, and she is ashamed that her parents' protests helped shut down abortion mills in her home county. She regrets ever having considered Reagan a man of Christian character. (Incidentally, if that is what she was actually taught in her home, it's hardly typical of conservative Christians in general. Most of the ones I know are sophisticated enough to know that they politicians they support aren't saints, and some aren't even Christian.) She regards her family's activities as "badgering" and "browbeating," while now she is only into "loving" - didn't it occur to her that in helping shut down abortion mills, and thus saving lives, her parents were engaged in very loving activity? I also wonder if her description of being homeschooled is as dismal and narrow as she makes out, since the homeschooled kids I know are a rather bright lot, both mentally and personally, probably because they get to study worthwhile things like literature, history, and science instead of getting indoctrinated into "diversity."
She laments that in her youth she was taught to evangelize - or, as she puts it, "browbeat heathens into faith" (which I'm guessing was not the wording they used while doing it). She has swallowed the secular view that Christians have no business trying to make converts (which requires ignoring the clear mandate of Jesus to do so), but it doesn't occur to her that the "heathen" have their own methods of evangelism - such as inserting their messages into TV, movies, pop music, and, incidentally, the colleges that train America's future teachers and lawmakers. Here's a news flash about human nature: when people like something and believe strongly in it, they will tell others about it - whether they call that "evangelism" or "witnessing" or whatever. Maybe she doesn't realize it, but her book is evangelizing for a form of post-Christian "spirituality."
The book has a self-pitying tone. Maybe she regards it as some kind of therapy for her, but it would do her much more good to let go of her anger toward the people she has rejected.
I could really relate to many things in this book. While my childhood was nowhere near as extremely political as the authors I have grown up with a very republican devoted father. I found myself feeling very sorry for the author when she documents being in college and realizing that being a political activist is the only identity she had. I loved the authors writing style, she is not preachy but rather simply expresses the lessons she has learned in her life in a very helpful and insightful way that I believe would open a lot of people's eyes. I loved the authors realization that the world is not black and white there are a lot of shades of gray too. Another thing I thought was awesome was the stand that the author took against titles and stereotypes, it made me proud to call myself a Christian feminist and an independent. The book was slightly hard to follow as the events are not listed chronologically, each chapter has a unique message and the author chronicles moments in her life when she learned pieces of the message of that chapter. I don't want to give to much away but I will just say that I agree almost one hundred percent with all of the authors conclusions. I found this book to be a quick read (I read it in just over a day) I would recommend it to anyone, teen and adult. I recieved this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own.
There is a unique shift taking place in our culture today as young adults are leaving the home and developing widely differing perspectives. Some have suggested that this isn't anything new, "There has always been a falling out with one's parents throughout history." they'll suggest. But there is something particularly unique about this younger generation that is â€˜discontinuously different' as David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, would suggest. Alisa Harris is a perfect example of the cultural anomalies which are the present normalities. Her book Raised Right chronicles her story as she transitions from her parents' traditions to a culture of wider values.
Raised Right - How I Untangled My Faith from Politics is the personal story of Alisa Harris's journey through the major events that shaped her life, views, and conclusions. Being brought up as the oldest daughter of a very conservative family, Alisa spent her early years picketing abortion clinics and campaigning for republican politicians, including George W. Bush. Alisa was a passionate daughter faithfully following in her parents' footsteps. But in college, after leaving her home and the shelter of her narrow world view, her vision widened and her fire was quenched. The book takes us through her sincere struggle for identity. Knowing she did not agree with her families ideals, she struggles through college and through to the end of the book to find significant meaning and definitive truth to shape her values.
In a way, this book is characteristic of a generation left feeling that they were held back as children to see the world in a particular way only to go out into society and find out it was not as they were told. Feeling lied to, these young adults grow up searching for authority but skeptical of anyone whose views come across as narrow or intolerant. In some ways I can relate as I find that there are actually few mentors whom I can turn to and be sure will give me an educated definitive answer, removed from any personal prejudice or conjecture. This book is a testament of a whole generation of wandering pseudo-believers who don't know where to turn for guidance and authority. In a serious sense we have turned them away with our matter-of-fact responses for their questions and concerns, offering little more than our opinions.
Alisa provides a clear example of how many young adults respond drastically to their upbringing and often settle with positions on the opposite extreme. Few of her peers are thoughtful about the conclusions they choose to follow, knowing little more than what they disagree with.
As you read her story, it's easy to see why she turned away from the traditions and values she was raised to accept without question. The structure put all of its weight on unfounded authorities which failed her later in life. When her vision was widened, she saw the errors in her misplaced trust in the Republican party and the politically filled promises which didn't come true. Perhaps she threw the baby out with the bath water, or at least parts of truth that were attached to the lies. It's a shame that she was mishandled because the taste in her mouth for certain doctrines were most definitely tainted with the after taste of the poison with which they were served.
It's no wonder young adults have such a struggle with choosing between societal differences when they were raised to see everything as black and white. Once they realize the world has multiple shades of grey they grow to resent their upbringing.
It's interesting to see what character remains from Alisa's childhood: the drive to make her point, the temperament to speak out, and the determination to help those in need. Her character has remained fairly intact though her intellectual values have drastically changed. She writes as one who has experienced a lot from life, as one who knows where she came from and knows where she stands, but not as one who has discovered the answers to life. In the end, her conclusions only take us deeper into a confusing world with no absolutes.
In this way Raised Right paints a sad picture which falls short of answering the questions that many young adults are facing. While those who have more settled and founded convictions tend to see these questions as a threat to a stable standard for authority, I find the honesty refreshing and the opportunities inviting to speak directly to the problems with true authority.
Too often we attack the identity of a person - democrat, feminist, etc. - when instead we should be discussing biblical authority. While judging based on identity is easier, it does not help either party to communicate and understand each other, which are essential if we are committed to love one another.
Surely I could critique Alisa for several things where she and I would disagree. I could debate over her political positions and religious stance. I could critique Alisa for the conclusions she draws from her perspective of Scripture, but no more than I could offer the same criticism to people in the same churches where I find fellowship and edification. In the end, I think she has been criticized enough and it is about time her views are listened to and not attacked.
The takeaway from this book is well worth the read. The writing is crisp, precise, and insightful. The stories are inviting, entertaining, and thought provoking. It was such a pleasant read that I couldn't put it down. Like a well crafted novel, I was captivated until the end. While we may draw different conclusions on specific issues, it is invaluable to have the sort of insight into the issues young adults are facing that this book provides. Though I would recommend it with reservations, I would still highly recommend it to anyone who has ever pondered why there is such a cultural difference between the older generations and those that follow.
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Written by a woman the same age as my oldest daughter, I was intrigued from the start. Alisa writes that "This book was born out of my search for a faith that's more than the sum of my political convictions and for a meaningful way of living it out."
Picking up this book, my thoughts were that somehow I would understand this generation more. The further along I got into the book, the more I realized it wasn't so much about one particular generation as it is was about wrong attitudes and misdirected beliefs, regardless of the age.
Alisa terms it political and I label it more as a "religious zealot." In the prologue she writes, "I'm also writing this for people who want to make sense of this strange new breed of Christian."
Strange new breed of Christian_hum now isn't that is an interesting set of words!
Just what is she implying? After all, there should be nothing new for us "Jesus followers", right? Well, not unless the belief system has been drowning in the sewage of politics and religious rhetoric!
Wrote as a memoir, Alisa explains that she grew up in a family that participated in abortion demonstrations and was actively involved in the Republican party. She seemed destined to a life of supporting the cause and beliefs this party adheres to.
Like most teens though, once she journeyed outside her birth family and into the college years; she began to questions how not only her own parents, but her beloved Republican party lived out what Jesus taught.
Included in her stories are memories of deep hurt and confusions caused by her own church "family," and pastors. Unfortunately, she is not the only one in this world who has experienced those type of stories parallel with "religious" institutions. Fortunately, Alisha was strong enough in her own faith and belief in God not to walk away.
While Alisha did not receive love and acceptance from those in her home church, Alisha does come to the understanding that love isn't just a word which we easily slip out of our mouth
Throughout most of the book, in my mind I was screaming, "You go, girl!" Alisha's unbiased honesty and quick wit reveals the journey taken in walking through and working out her own drive for power. Coming to a point where she realizes that, "Instead of seeking power, I want to work for the kingdom's picture of peace."
Like most of us, she shares her struggles in figuring out where her own faith lies. Not her grandparents faith, her parents faith; but sole her own. And at the end of the day, it comes back to the simple message of Jesus, taught to her by her parents and now being passed down to her own children. It looks different and is being walked out in a fresh new way, but the message at the end of the day is still the same. "To care, to love and to take heart! _In other words, as Jesus urged His followers, "Take heart! I have overcome the world" - not through a show of power but a picture of love."
Raised Right is the latest book that I've received from Waterbrook Multnoma for reviewing.
The book is essentially the memoirs of a girl who was raised in one of the segments of Christian culture that is activist oriented.
She tells a lot of stories about her life, as she was involved even as a young child with abortion protests and all sorts of political activities for the Republican party... because that's what God would have them do.
She then details her transition to adult life in college, and the issues that came up when she became disillusioned with the choices of politicians, and had to discover for herself where politics ended and where Christianity really stood.
Was it even possible to be both a Christian and a democrat? Or even to go as far as to be both a Christian and pro-life, to believe both that abortion is a sin and to still believe that women should be allowed to choose that sin?
She also discusses some of the darker encounters with the church... including her home church staging an intervention because they believed she should drop out of college and focus on forming a family rather than feminist things like career... and an encounter with a pastor who disagree with something that she'd written on her personal page online, who decided to then recruit people to put pressure on her employer about it.
The book is a really interesting read... and I regret to say, I totally know some Christians like those she deals with at various stages.
I guess in a way, I'm a little surprised that she wrote the book. Partially because I expect she'll be seeing more encounters with jerks in the name of Christ over it's contents. Because I imagine they'd be offended, as that sort tends to be fairly easily.
But also a bit because I wonder how much it will be more of a tool of those who oppose Christianity than a tool to help those who've grown to confuse God with politics and issues. There are some examples of sane and reasonable Christians in the book... but to a non-believer reading it, the impression would probably be more along the lines of "See, Christians are jerks and really it's just politics using the guise of religion."
While that's probably fair for some... I guess I just wish that she'd made the distinction more that the vast majority of Christians are not these jerks.